The Department of Housing and Community Development has announced the next phase of the Eviction Diversion Initiative, an extensive expansion of free legal services for tenants facing eviction.

The COVID-19 Eviction Legal Help Project supports low-income tenants, as well as low-income owner-occupants of two- and three-family properties navigating the eviction process, before the eviction process or in concert with mediation services.

These services can be used before the eviction process begins, as well as once a notice has been received, and can be used in coordination with community mediation services offered through Resolution Massachusetts.

For the legal services, income eligibility is capped at 200% of the federal poverty level.

Legal services will be available in every region and can be found on a new website built for this initiative: Households can also call 2-1-1, and learn more at the COVID Housing Help website.

The DHCD is asking local officials to post and share information about expanded legal services. Public information campaign materials, including a new video in English and Spanish, social media posts and new flyers in seven languages, can be found online.

The DHCD is encouraging tenants and landlords to learn about legal help as well as community mediation resources. Eligible tenants and landlords are urged to seek help as soon as possible, before a court filing occurs.