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)End No Fault Evictions After Foreclosure!
- Banks should 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. OR
- 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!
2) Principal Reduction Now!
- Banks created this crisis and the housing bubble that inflated housing prices way beyond historical norms. When the housing market inevitably crashed, millions of people were left underwater. Banks created the crisis and got bailed out for it, they should reduce the principal balance of underwater mortgages to the current market value to prevent displacement and keep families in their homes.
3) Turn Vacant Bank Owned Properties over to communities to be used for long-term affordable housing!
Banks are sitting on vacant homes for years after foreclosure, while they fall apart and destroy our communities. Financial institutions like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac hold hundreds of thousands of vacant foreclosed homes because they refuse to work with tenants and homeowners, and are now bulk-selling these homes at discount prices to investors and hedge funds. The Springfield Bank Tenant Association demands that banks turn over vacant properties to communities or non-profits to be used for affordable housing!
The Sword & The Shield!
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.
We’ve successfully defended 99% of our members against eviction over the first three years of the campaign.