Public health officials fear evictions could worsen COVID-19 spike in Mass.

Originally published on The Boston Globe.

“The people who are struggling to pay rent could be your grocery worker, your delivery worker, your cleaner, your parent’s home care worker,” said Karen Chen, executive director of the Chinese Progressive Association. “You want them to be healthy. You want them to have a safe and healthy place to live.”

Baker’s expanded tenant resources aren’t available to all 11,000 pre-COVID cases now back on the docket. (Some renters whose financial situation worsened because of the pandemic may be eligible.)

But shutting some renters out right now doesn’t make sense from a public health perspective, experts said. Fewer choices for families facing evictions means worse outcomes for the whole state.

“Either you double up with Grandma, become homeless, or, God forbid, you end up sleeping in a car,” said Dr. Megan Sandel, a pediatrician at Boston Medical Center. “Those are real phenomena that we’re just starting to see now and they scare us.”