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Springfield residents hold housing vigil to advocate for housing assistance

This came as the Federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program, or ERAP, is set to expire on Friday.
Published: Apr. 12, 2022 at 7:59 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - A community vigil was held in Springfield Tuesday evening by people advocating for housing assistance.

This came as the Federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program, or ERAP, is set to expire on Friday.

This event was hosted by Homes For All Massachusetts and Springfield No One Leaves, and they told us that they are calling on state legislators to step up and stabilize housing.

A major federal pandemic relief program, ERAP will stop taking applications on April 15th. This leaves only the Raft Program and the Mass Homeowners Assistance Fund, which people here are calling severely restrictive.

Western Mass News spoke with Kate Irwin of Springfield No One Leaves.

She told us that she was laid off during the pandemic and has been working 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’re saying is ending, but it’s two years in the making, three years in the making,” Irwin said. “People have lost their jobs. People are just getting back up on their feet, and now, they’re just going to end all funding as soon as the pandemic is, quote on quote, ending. "

Organizers told us that more than 2,000 residents in western Massachusetts could benefit from this funding, and they are calling for lawmakers to put $100 million in state ARPA funds into ERAP and $50 million into HAF.