Grace Ross Receives NAACP Award, Starts Fundraising Drive

MAAPL is deeply pleased to announce that the New England Area Conference of the NAACP is awarding Grace Ross–our able coordinator–their highest honor: the Chaney Goodman Schwerner Award for lifelong achievement!

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Grace Ross (left) stands with fellow organizers to protest foreclosures in Worcester.

The NAACP didn’t just select Grace for her long-term, unyielding commitment to racial justice. That is a key part of her psyche. They chose Grace because MAAPL–with her leadership–raises up and empowers those whom predatory lenders targeted first and worst: Communities of Color. Together with these communities, MAAPL fights to bring home justice for all: to reverse the illegal loans and the foreclosures that have decimated Massachusetts communities.

The NAACP New England Area Conference Dinner & Award Ceremony honoring MAAPL’s Grace Ross takes place at 6:00 pm on Saturday, Sept. 24th in Beverly, MA. Please contact MAAPL at maaplinfo@yahoo.com for more information about this event.

Congratulations, Grace, on this well-deserved honor!


In conjunction with this award from the NAACP NEAC, we are launching an Emergency Fundraising Drive to enable MAAPL and its partners like the NAACP to reach out to the thousands of homeowners—many of them people of color—who have been illegally foreclosed in Massachusetts, and ensure that they know their rights in foreclosure and can take timely action to challenge their foreclosure in court.

74,000 Massachusetts homes have been illegally foreclosed. On January 1, 2017, the foreclosed homeowners’ right to sue to regain their homes disappears.  No one has told these people that they must act now if they are to have a chance of overturning their foreclosure. But you can help MAAPL and its partners get the word out!

You Make the Difference! Please donate to MAAPL’s Bring our Wealth Home Fund today so we can organize in Massachusetts Communities of Color and reach out to foreclosed homeowners across the Commonwealth.  We seek 100 people to donate $74 each to reach our September 30th goal of  $7,400, and 1000 people for our December 31st goal of $74,000! It’s an ambitious goal, but we can reach it with your help.

Your generous gift to the Bring our Wealth Home Fund will bring justice to these communities as measured in the reclaiming of tens of thousands of homes and tens of billions of dollars illegally stripped from homeowners!

Please make your donation online today by clicking the yellow Donate button to the right of this article near the top of the page (look for the Support MAAPL headline beneath the Search box), or you can mail your check (made out to MAAPL) to MAAPL: Bring Our Wealth Home, c/o 10 Oxford St., #2R, Worcester, MA 01609.

Please share this information with your friends and networks through email and social media—simply click the Share button below, and then click the button for your preferred sharing method. The more people we can reach, the more likely it is that we will achieve our goal and be able to save thousands homes lost in the foreclosure crisis.

Thank you for your support! With your help, we can fight and win against illegal foreclosures!

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Action Alert: Stop Lori Cairns’ Eviction This Friday, 8/26/16!

Foreclosureprotest

As we all know, foreclosures are spiking again in Massachusetts. The hardest hit city and the hardest hit county is Worcester. And the Worcester Anti-Foreclosure Team (WAFT) has hit major milestones in its organizing on the ground. In response, the Banks’ lawyers and the Court are targeting WAFT and trying to evict our organizer, Lori Cairns.

Turn Out to Support Lori and Stop the Eviction! Stand Up Against the Banks and the Court!

Date & Time: Friday, August 26, 2016 at 9:00 am.

For the home location and other information, contact WAFT at worcesterantiforelcosureteam@gmail.com or 508-614-9238.


WAFT has secured several wins that the Banks’ lawyers are trying to undermine:

  • The private investors who show up at auctions no longer purchase if WAFT is there!
  • All of our work over the years with the Worcester police: they are upholding the law and are not evicting anybody who is not named on an execution, thus allowing us to hold the line on a number of evictions.
  • We stopped five evictions in a 9-day period. We will continue to be able to do that, due to the work we are doing! An older and respectable local constable said that he has never in 35 years heard of anyone ever stopping an execution in any way, and so five in nine days is probably a historic record.

The flip side of all this success is that the Banks have now declared war against WAFT and, by extension, the anti-foreclosure movement in Massachusetts.

Their lawyers in the Worcester Housing Court are accusing WAFT of illegal organizing strategies and activities since January 2016. They scaled up their attack on WAFT in March:

  • They have convinced the Worcester Housing Court Judge to create executions that are not legally possible under court rules (separate from the underlying illegal foreclosures).
  • The Court is consistently discriminating against folks who are disabled, even though we have learned in detail, and are following, all the legal requirements when folks are disabled and cannot represent themselves.
  • The Court has admitted on the record to doctoring the docket so it can get the automated system to produce executions when there is no legal judgment available for them to put into the computer system for the courts.

The Banks are actively attacking WAFT by using the Housing Court, and they have targeted Lori Cairns, our organizer, to evict her from her home, which she has been renting from a supposedly foreclosed homeowner.

The Court has issued an execution that can only be given in a summary process case, even though Lori has never had an eviction case/summary process case. This action is clearly illegal and must be stopped!

THE COURT HAS SCHEDULED LORI’S EVICTION FOR FRIDAY, AUGUST 26, 2016 at 9:00 AM. WE NEED A STATEWIDE TURNOUT TO STOP THIS DIRECT ATTACK ON OUR MOVEMENT!

The Bank filed this as a preliminary injunction, and are trying to deny Lori’s basic rights to a summary process case. We believe that it is critically important that the Bank Tenant Associations and other anti-foreclosure organizations across the state turn out to protest and stop this action. If the Court and the Banks can start illegally evicting our organizers and undermining everyone’s ability to get work done, we are going to lose this movement and the important gains we’ve made in reversing the foreclosure crisis in Massachusetts.

MAAPL and WAFT are calling on anti-foreclosure movement activists and supporters across Massachusetts: Please turn out to stop this eviction! WAFT can be reached at worcesterantiforelcosureteam@gmail.com or 508-614-9238.

Together, we can stand up to the Banks and the Court and WIN! Thank you for taking action and supporting Lori Cairns and WAFT on Friday, August 26th at 9:00 am!

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URGENT: Call NOW Through Sunday Night About Bill #H4553

House Bill 4553, sponsored by Rep. Tosado, is at risk of being shut down before it leaves the Legislature’s Housing Committee.  We need you to take action NOW to keep the bill moving!
First, call State Rep. Kevin Honan, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Housing at 617-722-2470 and tell him:
“Hi! My name is ______ and I live in ______. Bill #H4553: An Act to minimize foreclosures and their harm is one sentence that allows municipalities to exert their traditional health and safety powers.  Massachusetts is facing 5,000-10,000 foreclosures this Fall. Municipalities must to be able to act before the legislature comes back in session in January.”
Second, call the Speaker of the House:  617-722-2500 and tell him:
“Hi! My name is ______ and I live in ______. Bill #H4553: An Act to minimize foreclosures and their harm is one sentence that allows municipalities to exert their traditional health and safety powers.  Massachusetts is facing 5,000-10,000 foreclosures this Fall. Municipalities must to be able to act before the legislature comes back in session in January.”
Then call your State Representative if you haven’t already done so, and tell them:
“Hi! My name is ______ and I live in ______. Bill #H4553: An Act to minimize foreclosures and their harm is one sentence that allows municipalities to exert their traditional health and safety powers.  Massachusetts is facing 5,000-10,000 foreclosures this Fall. Municipalities must to be able to act before the legislature comes back in session in January.”
If you know your Representative, call 617-722-2000 and ask to be connected to your Representative’s office.
Don’t know who your State Representative is? Go to www.WhereDoIVoteMA.com and enter your mailing address to find your elected representatives. Click your State Representative’s name to view their contact information.
 
Thanks for making your calls TODAY! And please share this Action Alert with your networks—The more people who call in support of H4553, the better!
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Action Alert: Call-In Days on July 27-28

IMG_0370The legislative session is nearing a close, and MAAPL and its allies have been working hard to show the leadership in the Legislature that they need to address the foreclosure crisis before the end of this session. Thanks to the actions of our partners and advocates, we are getting the most receptive responses ever from legislators across the board.

With the bipartisan help of Rep. Denise Provost and Rep. Sheila Harrington (a mediator by profession), we got 70 Representatives to sign a letter to Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo saying they want municipalities to be able to enact Pre-Foreclosure Mediation and other programs! Rep. Tosada of Springfield has also “late-filed” a municipal Pre-Foreclosure Mediation bill to pass by Sunday.

We’ve created several ways the Speaker can move Pre-Foreclosure Mediation into law. But time is running short for action:  We have the rest of this week and TWO DAYS of legislative voting on Saturday, July 30th and Sunday, July 31st to get our legislation passed! The voices of those directly harmed AND our allies are critical in making the case for legislative action against further unnecessary and illegal foreclosures. It’s up to us to push this through now!

Let’s show our statewide strength: Call Speaker DeLeo and your State Representative on Wednesday, July 27th and Thursday, July 28th. Tell them you want Pre-Foreclosure Mediation made law now!

Use the call-in script below to guide you in making your calls, and then see the further steps you can take below to act in support of our legislation.

Script for Wednesday & Thursday phone calls:
“Hi! My name is ______ and I live in ______. I just phoned the Speaker/my State Representative. Massachusetts towns and cities need Pre-Foreclosure Mediation now. Foreclosures have doubled since last year, and they look to double again this fall. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court said mediation is legal if the Legislature gives permission. Give permission—Make it law this session!”

Speaker DeLeo’s phone number: 617-722-2500

If you know your Representative, call 617-722-2000 and ask to be connected to their office.

Don’t know who your State Representative is? Go to www.WhereDoIVoteMA.com, enter your mailing address to find your elected representatives, and then click their name to view their phone number.

Other steps you can take this week to fight foreclosures:
✓  March the Marble Halls yourself! Join us this week at the State House to go office-to-office (especially on Saturday and Sunday). Contact Grace Ross for more details: graccross@aol.com; 617-299-5591

✓  Ask your local town and city officials to support this legislation by calling or writing their leaders on Beacon Hill.

✓  Continue sending Letters to the Editor to your local newspaper.

✓  Watch for a possible hearing on Rep.Tosado’s just-filed Municipal Powers bill.

Thank you for taking action today! Together we can end the foreclosure crisis in Massachusetts!

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Action Alert: Protest and Press Conf. at State House Tomorrow!

IMG_0370We must raise the visibility of the massive harm of foreclosures, especially illegal foreclosures! Time for a last-minute push for legislation!

This Saturday, July 23rd, legislators will be IN the State House. This is a unique opportunity on a weekend when it should be easier for people to attend and participate.

WE NEED YOU THERE!

11:00 am – Gather in front of the State House

We will protest and hold a press conference. We will have materials, and we encourage as many homeowners as possible to walk throughout the State House with us, talking to legislators.

We need an outcry, we need to re-engage the media, we need each other, We Need and Deserve to BE HEARD!

Join us tomorrow morning on Beacon Hill—Together we can win!

 

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Action Alert: State Rep. Call-In Day Weds. 7/6/2016

It’s crunch time for the rights of Massachusetts residents—and our state economy!

Foreclosures, which destroy lives (this crisis has taught us WHY the Constitution protects equally: “life, liberty and property”), are skyrocketing again—more than twice what they were a year ago. And with the sun-setting of recent legislative protections, foreclosures may double in the near future—rivaling Massachusetts foreclosure numbers in 2009!

Foreclosures literally kill (with 5 times the suicide rate, significant increases in heart attacks, strokes, etc.). Predatory loans that keep households financially underwater also prevent the start-up of small businesses (70% of small business start-ups are funded by mortgages), further destroying the economic well-being of whole neighborhoods and decreasing jobs. Not to mention the inflationary pressure on rents.

And the economic damage that brought down the world economy is still undermining our state!

New laws MUST pass by July 31st.

Our biggest, best hope for stopping this upsurge is pre-foreclosure mediation statewide, which is STILL possible. Second best is for municipalities to be reassured they can pass protections for their residents!

CALL your state Representative this Wednesday, July 6th! (see below how to look them up and find a direct link to their phone number) AND it is fine to also call Tuesday or latest, Thursday morning.

Below is a script to use when calling your Representative:

My name is _______ and I am calling from (your city or town).

Foreclosures have more than doubled in Massachusetts in the past year. If auctions continue to spike as predicted, in the next few months they will reach levels like 2009!

As my elected official, I need you to advocate and vote for major action before the end of your legislative session this month. Banks are evicting homeowners quickly even when the foreclosures are later found to have been illegal.

Pre-foreclosure mediation can end this increase! In Lynn, this program resulted in 97% mutually-agreed affordable loan modifications. This solution will save homeowners and municipalities all over the state, but we need you to act now. Vote for pre-foreclosure mediation.

Vote for Cities and Towns to continue protecting their residents in this historic crisis.

Thanks!

Please pass this call-in day info to all your contacts and networks. We need to spread the word far and wide to make this call-in day a success and let our Representatives know that we need pre-foreclosure mediation now!

Don’t know your state Representative’s phone number or e-mail address? Go to http://www.WhereDoIVoteMA.com

Type in your address, then click the Show my results button. It will tell you who your elected officials are. Click on your state Representative’s name, and you will see their phone number and email address.

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MAAPL Appearances on Thinking Out Loud TV

Recently, MAAPL Coordinator Grace Ross appeared with guests on the Thinking Out Loud show on the Lowell Telecommunications Corporation station, Lowell’s community media center. Two of these shows focus on the foreclosure crisis in Massachusetts.

In the first show, Grace Ross speaks with community activist and Bring Our Wealth Home organizer Zakiya Alake about the foreclosure crisis and its disproportionate impact on communities of color. The second show on the topic features a conversation between Grace, homeowner Kate Palmaceio, who has been fighting foreclosure with the support of MAAPL, and Sarah McKee, a former federal prosecutor, on the topic of predatory mortgage lending and its impact on Worcester, MA.

Watch the shows online via the links below:

Grace Ross and Zakiya Alake on the foreclosure crisis

Grace Ross, Kate Palmaceio and Sarah McKee on predatory mortgage lending

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Action Alert: Call-In Days for MAAPL Bills on May 11 and 12

We have some bills to get passed this Spring! MAAPL needs your help to get these important anti-foreclosure bills out of committee and onto the floor for a vote.

CALL your state Senator & Representative this Wednesday or Thursday, May 11 and 12:

Please make 2 calls!

First call your State Senator (see below how to look them up & direct link to their phone#)

“My name is _______ and I am calling from (your city or town)

More MA homeowners are finding themselves behind on predatory loans every day. Foreclosures are up 200% in Massachusetts. As my elected official, I need you to get these bills passed into law.

  1. Please ask the Senate Rules Committee to report these two bill out favorably to the floor for a vote.S41: Several municipalities passed laws proven to protect their residents against foreclosure harms: Senate 41 permits those municipal efforts to start up again;

    S1090: This bill defines additional, sanitary code & foreclosure cash bond options for municipalities.

  1. Ask the House Ways & Means Committee to report out favorably to the floor for a vote:H3770: Tax Relief of Mortgage Debt. Congress changed tax law so foreclosed homeowners are not taxed on their mortgage debt “forgiveness”. This bill creates the same exemption at the state level.
  1. Ask the Financial Services Committee to bring this bill out of study and report it out favorably:S482/H888: The massive rise in foreclosures could be averted if people received a viable loan modification before they hit foreclosure. The City of Lynn’s pre-foreclosure mediation program had a 97% success rate of affordable loan modifications! Please report out the “Pre-Foreclosure Mediation” bill, Senate 482/House 888.

Please let me know what actions you will be taking to support the favorable reporting out of these bills. Thank you.”

Then call your State Representative (see below how to look them up & direct link to their phone#)

“My name is _______ and I am calling from (your city or town)

More MA homeowners are finding themselves behind on predatory loans every day. Foreclosures are up 200% in Massachusetts. As my elected official, I need you to get these bills passed into law.

  1. Ask the House Ways & Means Committee to report out favorably to the floor for a vote:H3770: Tax Relief of Mortgage Debt. Congress changed tax law so foreclosed homeowners are not taxed on their mortgage debt “forgiveness”. This bill creates the same exemption at the state level;
  1. Ask the Financial Services Committee to bring this bill out of study and report it out favorably:S482/H888: The massive rise in foreclosures could be averted if people received a viable loan modification before they hit foreclosure. The City of Lynn’s pre-foreclosure mediation program had a 97% success rate of affordable loan modifications! Please report out the “Pre-Foreclosure Mediation” bill, Senate 482/House 888;
  1. Please take up and support these two bills as soon as the Senate passes them:S41: Several municipalities passed laws proven to protect their residents against foreclosure harms: Senate 41 permits those municipal efforts to start up again;

    S1090: This bill defines additional, sanitary code & foreclosure cash bond options for municipalities.

Please let me know what actions you will be taking to support the favorable reporting out of these bills. Thank you.”

Don’t know your Senator or Rep’s phone # or e-mail?
Go to www.WhereDoIVoteMA.com
Type in your address. It will tell you who your elected officials are. Click on the name and you will see their phone # and email address.

For more information on the bills and their factsheets, visit www.MAAPL.info and click Legislation in the navigation bar.

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MAAPL Announces Attorneys’ Conference on Saturday, February 27

At the request of Massachusetts practitioners, MAAPL is organizing a foreclosure defense lawyers’ conference on Saturday, February 27th from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm. Law students are welcome to attend.

The conference will be held at the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School, 1557 Massachusetts Ave., Lewis Hall, Cambridge, MA 02138. Registration costs $100, student discount available.

The conference begins with registration and continental breakfast from 8:30 to 10:00 am, followed by a program of five presentations and discussions on various aspects of Massachusetts foreclosure law.

10:00 am – Anglo-American Land Law: Using it to Simplify Massachusetts Foreclosure Cases

11:00 am – S2015/Chapter 141 of the Laws of 2015: “An Act (not) clearing title to foreclosed properties”

Noon – 1:00 pm Lunch

1:00-1:30 pm – How to Streamline Case Intake–at No Cost to You

1:30 – 3:00 pm – Group discussions on various topics determined by the attendees.

3:00 pm – Conference ends

Following the conference, you  are invited to adjourn to John Harvard’s Brew House in Harvard Square for a Happy Hour at 3:00 pm. All are welcome, whether you attend the conference or not. The Happy Hour is hosted by Adam Sherwin, Esq. and Brian Wasser, Esq.

Please contact Sarah McKee at smckee@post.harvard.edu as soon as possible if you plan to attend the conference.

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Tonight! “Black Brown Wealth Matters” at West Medford Community Center

On Monday, February 22, 2016, MAAPL Coordinator Grace Ross and Bring Our Wealth Home Co-Organizer Zakiya Alake are presenting a program on Black Brown Wealth Matters: The Impact of the Foreclosure Crisis on Communities of Color. This program is presented by the Mystic Valley Branch of the NAACP and is free and open to the public. Everyone is welcome!

Time: Monday, 2/22/2016 at 6:00 pm

Location: West Medford Community Center, 111 Arlington Street, Medford, MA

Communities of color have been targeted by banks using predatory lending. Come and learn more about the foreclosure crisis, its disparate impact on communities of color, and what we can do about it.

Download the flyer for this event ( PDF )

We hope to see you there!

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