SPRINGFIELD NO ONE LEAVES/NADIE SE MUDE CAMPAIGN
THE COALITION: We are a group of community organizations and organizers dedicated to helping former owners and tenants stay in their homes after foreclosure. Coalition Organizations include: American Friends Service Committee of Western Mass, Arise for Social Justice, WNEC Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, Western Mass. Jobs with Justice , United Auto Workers Local 2322, and the North End Organizing Network.
BANK TENANT ORGANIZING CAMPAIGN:
Post-Foreclosure Eviction Defense. We mobilize tenants and former homeowners living in recently or about to be foreclosed homes (bank tenants) to stop evictions, protect Springfield’s housing and communities, and mobilize bank tenants to fight back against major lending institutions and banks that are tearing our communities apart. There were 595 foreclosures in Springfield, MA in 2010–the highest total number in the state! The ongoing foreclosure crisis and displacement of our communities is a disaster, one that is human-made and should elicit our outrage.
The financial institutions created this crisis and they should pay for it. This means they should rewrite loans at real value at fixed rates; accept rent from occupants; or sell the homes back to occupants at real value. Banks continue to engage in activities which further add to growing inequality and huge profits at the expense of the majority. Moreover, communities of color & working people are disproportionately affected by this crisis. We have the right to defend our homes and our communities whether it be legally, ethically or morally, we must act now to keep people in homes and our communities stable.
Why “bank tenants”?
Bank tenants includes both tenants in foreclosed homes and former homeowners. After foreclosure, everyone is a tenant of the bank. Even after foreclosure we can mobilize collectively to prevent eviction, build public pressure and demand that the banks keep people in their homes.
What are the demands?
1) Accept our rent money and stop all no-fault evictions of tenants and former homeowners! The banks are like any other landlord. They need to accept rent and act as lawful landlords.
2) Sell back the homes at real market value or real appraised value to the former homeowners, former tenants, or a third party that will lock in tenancy and act as responsible landlords!
How will this happen?
Using a model developed by City Life/Vida Urbana in Boston, MA, we organize bank tenants using a model known as “The Sword and the Shield.”
“The Sword”. Encouraging residents to stay in their homes, and to make their stories public, we organize blockades, vigils and other public actions to exert public pressure on the banks. The sword works together with:
“The Shield”: We inform bank tenants of their rights and work with legal services & progressive lawyers, to use aggressive post-foreclosure eviction defense to get eviction cases dismissed, win large move-out settlements (if it makes sense for that family/person), and force the banks to reconsider foreclosure evictions.
This model is being used to organize bank tenants in Boston, MA at City Life/Vida Urbana. 95% of evictions that have gone to the City Life/Vida Urbana BTA in Boston, MA, have been stopped using this two pronged strategy, often times resulting in the banks succumbing to public pressure and selling the homes back to occupants at real appraised value, or backing down and accepting rent, or settling for very large move-out settlement.