The Massachusetts COVID Eviction Legal Help Project (CELH Project) is quickly being formed to expand the capacity of existing legal aid organizations in Massachusetts, as well as the pro bono bar, to provide urgently needed legal assistance in COVID-related eviction cases. The Project is being phased-in in different stages over the next few months and will provide legal information, legal assistance, and legal representation in all 23 sittings of the Housing Court, and where capacity allows District Courts with a high volume of summary process caseloads. The goal of representation is to achieve housing stability.
The Commonwealth has engaged the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC) to provide a statewide coordinated legal services delivery system to deliver free legal assistance to income-eligible tenants facing eviction due to COVID-19 and also to income-eligible owner-occupants of 2- and 3- family homes.
MLAC will partner with the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute and the Volunteer Lawyers Project to develop two separate but closely related initiatives:
- Rapid recruitment and training of a cadre of 48 new lawyers and 48 new paralegals for temporary, full-time paid positions with regional legal aid programs across the Commonwealth, to provide support and legal representation at all stages of the eviction process, including assistance prior to a court filing. New intake workers will also be hired. The regional programs are Community Legal Aid, MetroWest, Northeast Legal Aid, South Coastal Counties Legal Aid, Greater Boston Legal Services, and DeNovo. Attorneys and paralegals interested in applying can access the job posting at https://mlac.org/resources/
- Rapid expansion of a pool of pro bono attorneys who are available to provide support and legal representation to eligible landlords and tenants, also at all stages of the eviction process, with support, training and supervision from attorneys experienced in landlord-tenant law through the Volunteer Lawyers Project. Attorneys interested in providing pro bono assistance should contact Miranda Black at Mblack@vlpnet.org