Mayor Domenic J. Sarno joined with Congressman Richard E. Neal, Chief Development Officer Tim Sheehan, and President and CEO of Way Finders Peter A. Gagliardi for an announcement of mortgage, rent and utility assistance and relief.
The City of Springfield is making available $2 million in grant funding for renters and homeowners who have lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The grant program will pay up to three months’ rent, mortgage, and utility charges for low to moderate income Springfield residents whose income has been adversely impacted by the pandemic public health orders.
Mayor Sarno stated, “I am happy to announce that thanks to the efforts and leadership of Congressman Neal working with HUD, the City of Springfield has partnered with Way Finders to provide much-need relief for our residents in the amount of $2 million for mortgage, rent and utility assistance and relief. I want to thank my Chief Development Officer Tim Sheehan and President and CEO of Way Finders Peter Gagliardi and his team for their work on making this relief program a reality. As my administration has helped out our business community to save jobs, just as important, I wanted to make sure that we continue to help out our residents. These funds will without a doubt provide much needed and vital assistance to those in need during these unprecedented times as we continue to deal with this ongoing COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.”
“In the wake of this public health emergency, Americans need assurance that their homes will remain safe havens,” said Congressman Richard E. Neal. “The assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development given to the City of Springfield and administered through Way Finders will ensure that they stay that way. These funds will go a long way to insuring our loved ones and their families have a stable and affordable roofs over their heads.”
Mr. Gagliardi stated, “Way Finders is pleased to partner with the City of Springfield to administer this important program. These funds will provide much needed assistance to individuals and families who have lost income as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Together, we can help people preserve their housing and care for their loved ones during these challenging times.”
Nearly 1 in 5 Americans are out of work and, without regular income, many are at risk of losing their housing. Massachusetts has slowed the housing emergency by halting most evictions and foreclosures until August 18 or until 45 days from the lifting of Governor Baker’s declaration of emergency, whichever comes first. But, if rent and mortgages are not current by the time the ban is lifted, many families may face eviction or foreclosure. Small landlords are already suffering as rents are not coming in while utility and maintenance costs are ongoing.
“While the moratorium on foreclosures and evictions was a helpful step, it is unrealistic to assume that once the moratorium expires, that low to moderate income families that remain unemployed or are just going back to work will have the financial resources to pay 3-4 months of past due housing expenses. This program will assist in preventing housing displacement due to the virus and maintain housing market stability in Springfield,” said Tim Sheehan, Chief Development Officer.
Springfield’s rent and mortgage assistance program is funded by two federal grants: the HOME Investment Partnerships Program and the Community Development Block Grant Program. The funds will be available through Way Finders, Inc. Peter Gagliardi, president and CEO of Way Finders, said “It’s critical to keep people in their homes during this crisis. We are pleased to partner with the City to meet this need.” The program will be operated in conjunction with Way Finder’s other emergency assistance programs, including the state-funded Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program.
Springfield residents can apply for the funds by completing an assessment at www.wayfinders.org/hcec-assessment or calling 413-233-1600 to complete the assessment on the phone with a Way Finders staff member.
Assistance is available for households that have lost income due to COVID-19 and had household income at or below 80% of area median income ($68,300 for a family of four) before the income loss. Each household may receive up to three months’ rent/mortgage and utility payments, with a maximum of $4000 per household. Payment will be made directly to landlords, banks and utility companies. There is no requirement for an eviction or foreclosure notice in order to receive the assistance.