Just-A-Start Partners with Cambridge Savings Charitable Foundation to Prevent Evictions
Cambridge, MA — Just-A-Start, a Cambridge-based community development corporation, has partnered with Cambridge Savings Charitable Foundation, the charitable arm of Cambridge Savings Bank (CSB), to support local families with emergency rental assistance and affordable housing. Cambridge Savings Charitable Foundation extended a total of $90,000 in grants to Just-A-Start; $50,000 was given in June 2020, and an additional $40,000 was provided in December 2020, to assist families in Chelsea, Revere, Everett, and Malden with urgent, flexible funding to stabilize their housing.
“As the economic fallout of the pandemic continues, so many community members who have lost income are struggling to pay rent and hold on to their housing,” said Carl Nagy-Koechlin, Executive Director at Just-A-Start. “We’re proud to have doubled the number of households Just-A-Start has assisted since 2019, and we expect the need for services to increase dramatically throughout the coming months. These funds from Cambridge Savings Charitable Foundation have allowed us to quickly and flexibly provide more security and relief to these families.”
Eviction moratoriums defer rental payments for tenants but do not forgive the overall balances, so many households remain on the edge of stability with their past-due amounts growing. Meanwhile, many contractual sources of rental assistance cannot be accessed unless an eviction proceeding is underway, currently leaving families with fewer sources of financial support.
“As a long-time partner of Just-A-Start, we have always believed in the exceptional work they do in the community to support housing accessibility,” said Wayne Patenaude, President and CEO at CSB. “Their efforts to assist the day-to-day living needs of families and to keep them in their homes during the pandemic has been so critical. It is our mission to allocate funds that support our local communities and help keep this important work going through our Charitable Foundation.”
Just-A-Start mediates in housing courts across the Metro North, and the availability of rental assistance is a crucial addition to mediation that can assist both the tenant and the landlord. These flexible, philanthropic funds have already made the difference for households at risk, helping them to avoid eviction and stay in their homes.
In one circumstance, rental assistance helped a family avoid relocating to an emergency shelter in a different town, ensuring that their daughter could finish her senior year at her high school. In another case, a tenant was about to serve as a kidney donor for a family member and if her housing had become destabilized, the hospital would have refused her as an eligible donor. Through mediation and rental assistance, now both families can maintain stable homes as they weather the pandemic.
Tenants in Chelsea, Revere, Everett, and Malden in need of rental assistance may call Just-A-Start at 617-494-0444 to explore available options for support.
Just-A-Start is a community development corporation dedicated to promoting equity by creating access to stable housing and building pathways to economic opportunity. Just-A-Start builds and preserves affordable housing, offers education and workforce training, and provides housing resources and services to people with low- to moderate-incomes in Cambridge and nearby communities. Now in its 52nd year, Just-A-Start serves approximately 3,000 individuals and families annually. For more information, please visit www.justastart.org.
About Cambridge Savings Bank
Cambridge Savings Bank is a full-service banking institution with over $5 billion in assets. As a mutual bank, CSB is committed to improving the quality of life of our employees, customers and the communities we serve. One of the oldest and largest community banks in Massachusetts, Cambridge Savings Bank offers a full line of individual and business banking services across a robust Massachusetts-based branch network and through digital banking solutions for commercial, small business and consumer customers. To learn more about how we can meet your needs, visit us at cambridgesavings.com, or better yet, come meet us to help you make the most out of your banking relationship.