If the New Bedford City Council does not take action and vote to allow a non-binding ballot question on whether to adopt a rent stabilization ordinance, it will show a lack of leadership by the councilors who vote against it. The current housing crisis in the city, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, creation of cultural districts, art tourism, creative placemaking, the incoming train, the emerging offshore wind industry, inflation, price gouging, and speculative buying, has already resulted in mass evictions and the displacement of historic residents. In 2022, New Bedford had some of the highest eviction rates and average rental increases in the state. Without any intervention, this crisis is likely to worsen, with more families pushed out of their homes due to skyrocketing rents.

The motion would allow the city’s residents to voice their opinion on whether the city should adopt a rent stabilization ordinance. It would be a crucial step towards pushing state legislators and local elected leadership to create future binding ordinances that will seek to ensure that historic residents of New Bedford are not displaced by dramatic, unreasonable, and unfair rent increases.

If any city councilor does not vote in support of this motion then they are telling the community that our voice and concerns do not matter. They will have shown that they are not concerned about our residents’ voices. They will have sided with the mayor’s attempt to silence our community while ignoring the housing insecurity of elders, low-income, working-class, poor, single-parent households, the disabled, and all those who are vulnerable to displacement and housing insecurity.

Therefore, I strongly urge our elected City Council members to support the motion by Councilor Shane Burgo, Linda Morad and Brian Gomes and allow our community to exercise democracy and vote on this non-binding ballot question: “Should the city of New Bedford adopt an ordinance stabilizing rents in order to prevent displacement in the local housing rental market?” in November.

Erik Andrade is a New Bedford resident.

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  1. How does rent control help low income renters if no one is checking to make sure they are low income? In NY there are millionaires living in rent controlled apartments and the same was true in Cambridge during rent control.

    Money for affordable housing is already taken out of taxes so why do landlords have to take a double hit. They are not a charity. The government is to blame for the lack of affordable housing not being built. Give rent vouchers to those who show the need.

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