SPOA in the Media: A Historic First

by Amir Shahsavari

August and September of 2021 marked an exciting and highly productive time in which SPOA was covered in the news media, while generating media of its own. After receiving television news coverage in May, in a story by Jason Law of Boston 25 News about eviction moratorium challenges faced by rental housing providers, the coverage increased substantially after SPOA officers testified at two housing hearings before the Massachusetts State Legislature on August 3 and August 12 regarding eviction moratoriums, eviction sealing, free legal counsel for tenants exclusively, and rent escrow. 

The organization was featured in a segment of “Keller at Large” with television host Jon Keller of WBZ/CBS-4 News on August 3. The segment discussed the controversy surrounding Michelle Wu’s support of rent control. Amid a field of five candidates in the preliminary election, Wu was the only Boston mayoral candidate to support reinstating the policy after it was outlawed in 1994. The story included interviews with Wu, who supported rent control as a way of “protecting people in their homes,” and candidate John Barros, who opposed rent control by saying that it increases gentrification and throws “the baby out with the bath water” in harming tenants. The segment concluded with an interview featuring SPOA Vice President Amir Shahsavari, who also spoke against rent control by saying that it devastates both housing providers and tenants, while calling for a better way to address the housing crisis on a fair, level playing field for all parties. 

SPOA was further covered by print media in publications that included The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, State House News Service, The Star Ledger, and BisNow. Furthermore, State House News Service and The Star Ledger featured SPOA in multiple stories within each publication. The coverage by State House News Service was also carried by Banker & Tradesmen and The Dorchester Reporter, among other publications.

SPOA was also featured in the medium of radio when SPOA President Allison Drescher was interviewed by WBUR on September 2.

 In addition, SPOA generated its own visual media by hosting two mayoral forum webinars with Boston mayoral candidates in August and September. These productions were hosted by Allison Drescher and Amir Shahsavari. The guest speakers answered questions from small property owners and housing providers on subjects that included the eviction moratoriums, rent control, affordable housing, government policies hostile to housing providers, and improving the tone of tenant‑housing provider relationships through policies that encourage homeownership and community development. On August 20, the first guest was candidate and City Counselor Annissa Essaibi George, whose strong showing in the September 14 preliminary election propelled her to the final round in the general election on November 2. This was followed by a second webinar featuring candidate John Barros on September 2. Barros had previously served as the chief of economic development under former Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. The links to both one-hour webinars are available on the SPOA website, as well as YouTube and the SPOA Facebook page. 

 Meanwhile, on our Facebook page, SPOA member Bill Luther continues to diligently post articles and videos featuring our organization, as well as other interesting stories about housing. We thank Bill for his continued contributions and encourage everyone to visit us on Facebook regularly. The new SPOA website is also due to be unveiled in 2022.

SPOA is proud to have had its advocacy for housing providers covered in the media and to have interviewed influential Bostonians running for mayor during August and September. The extensive frequency of this coverage was a historic first for our organization and we hope to continue our steady advocacy on behalf of housing providers and their tenants in the future. It is essential to inform others about the importance of our work as a prominent voice at the table, along with others who wish to see our housing stock, and thereby our communities, grow and flourish for the benefit of all.

SPOA Television Stories

SPOA Print Stories

SPOA Webinars

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