Springfield No One Leaves/Nadie Se Mude (SNOL) formed in 2010 as a community coalition to organize residents living in foreclosed homes to build grassroots power to defend against unnecessary displacement caused by banks after foreclosure. Through door-to-door outreach and public actions our membership has grown to more than 400 families and 180 active members. Through a strategy that combines direct action with legal defense, our Bank Tenant Organizing (BTO) Campaign has defended nearly every family in our membership against displacement from their home. Many of our members have bought back their homes at the current value or won long-term rental agreements.
The foreclosure and housing crisis’ and the predatory policies of Wall Street that preceded them disproportionately targeted communities of color, women and low-income communities. SNOL believes that communities most impacted by injustice are the most effective leaders for social change and must be the leaders of our movement for social, racial and economic justice in order to deconstruct systems that oppress our communities. Our membership reflects this reality and our analysis. SNOL members and leaders are overwhelmingly women, people of color and low-income and working-class. Our members lead our meetings and our canvassing efforts, develop strategy, are media spokespeople, engage in fundraising, represent the organization at public events and serve on the SNOL Steering Committee and Leadership Committee’s.
Since forming we have canvassed more than 3000 doors in Springfield and educated over 1000 residents about how to stay in their homes and join the collective struggle against the banks. As our membership has grown, the initial community coalition has given way to a member-led leadership structure to develop, guide and carry out the future campaigns of the organization. In our short history we have:
- Built a culture of resistance in Springfield. By organizing over 90 public actions, we have raised awareness of the crisis and pressured banks to stop evictions and find alternatives to foreclosure.
- Cultivated Leadership from among our membership base. Our SNOL Leadership Committee has 12 members that plan campaign strategy development and are developing a plan for the long-term organizational structure of SNOL. Five (5) bank tenant leaders make up a majority of our SNOL Steering Committee.
- Launched our SNOL People’s School in 2013 – a multi-tiered political education and leadership development program to train and empower new leaders and organizers from among our base.
- Supported the passage of one of the strongest anti-foreclosure ordinances in the country. The legislation requires banks to mediate with homeowners prior to foreclosure, and pay to secure vacant properties after foreclosure. It is now being used as a model in countless cities nationwide, including across New England, and in cities like Chicago, Oakland, and Toledo, OH among others. Our members testified in front of the city council and marched in the streets to create the urgency needed to win accountability on Wall Street.
- Organized to win secure permanent housing solutions with 20 of our members. This has included winning principal reduction or repurchasing their homes after foreclosure at current market value and winning precedent setting rental agreements after foreclosure with tenants and owners.
- Helped lead the effort to hold Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac accountable. SNOL helped to force President Obama to replace the director of the agency that oversees Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, Ed DeMarco, with a nominee who supports principle reduction and post foreclosure rentals.
- Built a partnership with local private and public attorneys and law students to defend residents against foreclosures and evictions.
Coalition Organizations included: American Friends Service Committee of Western Mass, Arise for Social Justice, Universal Community Voices Eliminating Disparities, WNEC Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, Western Mass. Jobs with Justice , United Auto Workers Local 2322, Heisler, Feldman, McCormick & Garrow PC, and the North End Organizing Network.