The 'Sword and Shield' Approach to Preventing Foreclosure Evictions

An innovative tenants-rights organization in Boston combines community activism and financial backing to force banks to sell foreclosed homes back to the previous owners.
January 8, 2012, 9am PST | Matthew Brian Hersh
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Boston's City Life/Vida Urbana (CLVU) uses a combination of techniques to to prevent some of the growing numbers of evictions of families in bank foreclosure in Boston.

CLVU uses the organizing and legal tactics they have developed from their experience working with renters to help keep people in their homes, but they also they have the help of Boston Community Capital when it makes sense to buy the homes in question and resell them to the previous homeowner at current market value.

"The post-foreclosure campaign gives CLVU a way to merge short-term gains, long-term demands, and political education. It has three goals: Prohibit no-fault evictions of tenants and foreclosed owners, with an interim goal being to block as many individual evictions as possible. Force banks to negotiate with foreclosed owners who want to buy back their properties. And secure mortgage principal reduction to current market value, rather than the bubble-inflated price created by the speculative boom, for owners both foreclosed and in danger of foreclosure. Financial institutions see threats to their way of doing business behind each of these three demands," writes author Melvyn Colon.

Thanks to Matthew Brian Hersh

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Published on Thursday, January 5, 2012 in Shelterforce
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