Danvers, MA — According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey, about 24% of renters in Massachusetts have little to no confidence that they can make their next housing payment.
With the statewide moratorium on evictions set to expire on Aug. 18 and the $600-per-week unemployment bonus enacted by the Federal Government – money that kept many families afloat during the pandemic – ending July 31, a looming housing crisis could be next on the list of economic fallouts from COVID-19.
“There is so much uncertainty swirling around what is going to happen to people who can’t afford their rent,” said Carol Lavoie Schuster, ECCF’s Vice President for Grants, Nonprofits and Donor Services. “Housing affordability and instability was a major issue for so many residents of Essex County before the pandemic hit and, like many other inequities exposed in the last few months, COVID-19 has exacerbated it.”
To help, Essex County Community Foundation (ECCF) announced today that it has awarded $590,000 from its Essex County COVID-19 Response Fund to six nonprofit organizations to provide rent relief to families and individuals that face a loss of housing due to the economic impacts of COVID-19.
This eighth round of grants is made entirely possible by the Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund, the statewide philanthropic fund initiated by First Lady Lauren Baker and the One8 Foundation to support those across the Commonwealth most impacted by COVID-19. This fund, which is resourced by private philanthropy and individual donors, works in concert with regional community foundations to strategically fill in where gaps are pronounced.
The following organizations, which together serve a large swath of Essex County, are receiving support to provide their clients with rent relief:
Community Teamwork, Inc., of Lowell
Lynn Housing Authority and Neighborhood Development, Inc.
Pettengill House of Amesbury
Harborlight Community Partners of Beverly
Lawrence Community Works, Inc.
“Stable housing is the most basic of human necessities,” said ECCF President and CEO Beth Francis. “We are so grateful for the support of the Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund to help provide struggling Essex County individuals and families keep a roof over their heads while they deal with the many health and economic challenges caused by our current health crisis.”
To date, ECCF has awarded nearly $5 million through 213 rapid response grants to nonprofits battling COVID-19 and the resulting fallout from the virus.
On July 1, ECCF pivoted from this phase of rapid response grants to an open application cycle so that as we delve deeper into the long-lasting effects of the virus, we can spread support to additional organizations. For more information, please visit this page.
The mission of Essex County Community Foundation is to inspire philanthropy that strengthens the communities of Essex County. We do this by managing charitable assets, strengthening and supporting nonprofits and engaging in strategic community leadership. Since 1998, ECCF and its family of more than 230 charitable funds have granted $85 million to nonprofits, schools and students in Essex County and beyond. Our ultimate goal is to have 34 thriving cities and towns in Essex County and to improve the quality of life for the region’s nearly 800,000 residents. Learn more at eccf.org.
About the Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund
The Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund supports those across the state most impacted by the COVID-19 health crisis, focusing on essential frontline workers and vulnerable populations including the homeless, immigrant populations, people with disabilities and those facing food insecurity. The Fund works in concert with regional community foundations and non-profit leaders who partner with local leaders to understand the response and relief landscape, strategically filling in where gaps are pronounced. For more information, visit MACovid19ReliefFund.org.