SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) — A community vigil was held in Springfield Tuesday night by people advocating for housing assistance.
It came as the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program, or ERAP, is set to expire on Friday.
This event was organized by Homes For All Massachusetts and Springfield No One Leaves, and they told us they are calling on state lawmakers to step up and stabilize housing.
A major federal pandemic relief program, the PIU will stop taking applications on April 15. That leaves only the Raft Program and the Mass Homeowners Assistance Fund, which people here say are severely restrictive.
Western Mass News spoke with Kate Irwin of Springfield No One Leaves.
She told us she was laid off during the pandemic and worked two jobs just to keep her family afloat.
She added that she thinks it is too soon for this assistance to end.
“Well, the pandemic is what they say is over, but it’s two years of preparation, three years of preparation,” Irwin said. “People have lost their jobs. People are just getting back on their feet, and now they’re just going to end all funding as soon as the pandemic is, quote after quote, over. “
Organizers told us more than 2,000 western Massachusetts residents could benefit from this funding, and they’re asking lawmakers to invest $100 million in state ARPA funds in ERAP and $50 million in dollars in HAF.
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