City spent more on holiday decorations than mortgage, rent assistance in December

Only $216K has reached needy residents so far


The city has so far distributed $216,000 in rent and mortgage assistance to those qualifying for it since December, according to the mayor’s chief of staff, who reported the official figure to the city council last week.

Ironically, that amount for rent and mortgage assistance is $53,000 less than what the mayor’s office approved to spend for Christmas decorations and in fact paid for.

More $838 wreaths (about 250) were placed on light poles than applications processed (70) for working people behind on their rent and mortgages because of being laid off from their jobs.

The report from the mayor’s office produced the predictable amount of gushing and perfunctory thank you’s from the mayor’s obedient city government.

“I’m really glad at the great job you’re doing,” Councilor Stephanie Martins gushed.

She told the mayor’s chief of staff at the council’s Zoom meeting she couldn’t say enough about the mayor’s effort.

Wreaths on the light poles along Broadway. (Photo by Jim Mahoney)

“We are all really grateful for the assistance the mayor is giving to this effort,” Martins said.

It was pointed out by the chief of staff that the city put up $1.5 million to be distributed for rent and mortgage assistance.

She said $1.1 million remains undistributed, in many cases, because the applicants don’t know how to fill out the applications.

Seventy applicants of about 300 who applied have apparently received funds from the city to support their homes and apartments.

An eviction moratorium remains in place as well.

Nevertheless, the city government was pleased to hear about how well the rental and mortgage assistance is being distributed.

“Residents are responding, finally. It is picking up,” said the chief of staff.

At least the Christmas decorations all went up proving that some things the city does are simply more important than others and handled with greater skill and care than rental and mortgage assistance.

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