FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday August 1, 2014
Contact: Emily Keppler – 845-826-5370
WHAT: Human Eviction Blockade to stop Wells Fargo from kicking Alexander Richardson out of his home
WHERE: 68-70 Rochelle St, Springfield, MA, 01109
WHEN: Monday, August 1st 8:30 AM
WHO: Community members fighting Wells Fargo and other banks to stop evictions and foreclosures, State Representative Benjamin Swan, community leaders and organizations, union members, Councilwoman Zaida Luna, City Councilman Melvin Edwards, and neighbors. Other local and statewide elected officials have been invited. Senator Ed Markey has confirmed he will be advocating on behalf of Mr. Richardson.
VISUALS: People linking arms to surround Alex’s house and physically block the scheduled eviction from moving forward, 50-100 people picketing on front lawn, large banners and signs
SPRINGFIELD RESIDENTS TO FORM HUMAN BLOCKADE TO STOP ROCHELLE ST EVICTION AND DEMAND THAT RETIRED FIREFIGHTER STAY IN HIS HOME
Community leaders & neighbors will stand with Alexander Richardson to stop Wells Fargo from evicting him and making another home vacant in his community. Non-Profit Bank has pre-approved Mr. Richardson for a loan to buy back his home at a fair price.
SPRINGFIELD, MA — On Monday August 4 2014 at 8:30 AM, Springfield residents, neighbors, members of the Springfield Bank Tenant Association (SBTA), elected officials and community leaders and will join Alexander Richardson to block eviction from his home by Wells Fargo and HSBC Bank. Along with elected officials such as Benjamin Swan, the group will gather in front of 68-70 Rochelle Street to demand that Wells Fargo stop evicting Mr. Richardson and families across the nation. Other residents fighting foreclosure and volunteers will link arms in front of the doors in an act of civil disobedience to block any eviction attempt. The blockade will continue until Wells Fargo agrees to negotiate with Mr. Richardson to buy back his home for a reasonable price.
“If the eviction goes through, I will be homeless. I have no place to go,” says Mr. Richardson. “All I have been asking for from the beginning of this whole mess is to modify and negotiate a reasonable settlement.”
Mr. Richardson has been living in his home for 32 years. He moved in as a tenant and then had the opportunity to buy the home in 1988. He was employed with the Springfield Fire Department for 18 years until a back injury on the job forced him into early retirement in 1998. He went back to school and began working as a substitute teacher in the Springfield public school system. In 2008, at the height of the housing crisis, the Springfield Retirement Board cut Mr. Richardson’s pension by $60,000 because they deemed that the income he was making from substitute teaching was too high. He immediately began to fall be behind on mortgage payments. He worked tirelessly to try and get Wells Fargo to negotiate, but like millions was denied a modification and his house was foreclosed.
Mr. Richardson would be able to pay an affordable mortgage with his income from retirement and teaching, but Wells Fargo has refused to negotiate and are insisting on evicting him from his home this Monday, August 4th. Yesterday he was pre-approved by Boston Community Capital, a non-profit lender based in Boston, for a loan to repurchase the home at current market value. Springfield No One Leaves/Nadie Se Mude, a local grassroots organization that organizes to defend against displacement caused by foreclosure has sent a demand letter to Wells Fargo urging them to call off the eviction to give time for his application to be processed and to work on a sensible alternative to eviction.
“Wells Fargo claims to be helping people stay in their homes, but if they carry out his eviction they are sending a clear sign that they have no intention of supporting families,” says organizer Roberto Ceballos-García.
No-fault evictions like these are common practice by banks after foreclosure. They have a detrimental impact on the local community, causing increased homelessness, vacancies and neighborhood destabilization. In April, Springfield residents joined a If the eviction proceeds, Mr. Richardson will be left homeless and his home will become the fifth vacant home on his block alone.
“This has upset my family and my pet, my neighbors. The home next to mine has been vacant for over 5 or 6 years, along with 3 other vacant homes on my street. If I get evicted, my home could become another one of these vacant properties, further deteriorating the neighborhood,” says Mr. Richardson.
As of Friday evening, Wells Fargo has said they are planning to proceed with the eviction and won’t negotiate a market value sale through Boston Community Capital. Wells Fargo’s attorneys, Nelson & Mullins can be reached at 617.573.4720
“When our communities come under attack and our neighbors are threatened, we are prepared to fight back. I am planning to risk arrest on Monday because the banks are trying to take my home too,” says Kalimah Dunwell, 16, who plans to sit-in on Monday.
Springfield No One Leaves/Nadie Se Mude is a grassroots member-led organization organizing families being evicted by banks after foreclosure to stop no-fault evictions, protest unnecessary foreclosure and build community power to put our communities before profit. For more information visit www.springfieldnooneleaves.org or call 413-342-1804.