La Colaborativa youth and families gathered to shine a light on Chelsea’s rat problem this week at city hall, calling on local officials to do more to improve housing conditions for our families. Housing resources should focus on addressing rat infestations and other quality of life issues, instead of evicting families.
The rat infestations have been worsening in Chelsea, with rodents crowding into homes and filling the streets and parks. Our members are reporting “cat sized” rats crawling through their homes, eating their food, and leaving excrement all around their families. Rats spread disease, contribute to the high rates of asthma and allergies in our community, and lower our quality of life.
“We want to live in better conditions. We want the City Council of Chelsea to do something about this and we need the Board of Health to take over this situation and do something…We deserve a clean city free from rats. Our families deserve better,” said Youth Leaders Joel Yanez and Tiary Moran in their testimony to the City Council.
Many of our families enduring rat infestation have received no response from their landlords or city officials. At the same time, they’re facing eviction notices and harassment for late rent payments. La Colaborativa is calling on city officials to increase resources for pest control and extend the eviction moratorium.
To help empower tenants, La Colaborativa also joined with the Mass Law Reform Institute to develop a new online tool, Up to Code, to help tenants document living conditions in their homes and take action to get repairs completed. The website helps tenants understand their rights, allows them to track problems, upload documentation, and choose a next step, such as downloading pre-filled documents or requesting an inspection.
Document bad housing conditions from MA Law Reform Institute on Vimeo.