Background Information on the Foreclosure Crisis

The materials listed below will provide you with basic background information about the issues we are addressing surrounding the foreclosure crisis. They include articles, legal documents and testimony, papers, and charts. Please let us know if you find something useful here, or if you would like additional material or need assistance in finding resources that are relevant to your question or situation. Make your request or comment through the Contact MAAPL page.

Note: PDF files require the free Adobe Acrobat Reader. DOC files require Microsoft Word or a Word-compatible program. PPT files require Microsoft PowerPoint or a PowerPoint-compatible program. JPG and GIF files are viewable in any Web browser, image viewer, or image editing program.

We hope to make more of these resources available in Spanish, and to add French translations as demand for this information in French-speaking communities increases. If you can help us translate our documents into either of these languages, please get in touch with us through the Contact MAAPL page.


  • Top 35 Communities with Most Distressed Housing per 1,000 Units – July 31, 2009 ( PDF )
  • Distressed Properties per 1,000 Housing Units by Community – July 31, 2009 ( PDF )
  • Communities Experiencing More than 30% Increase in Distressed Units – 10/2008 to 7/2009 ( PDF )

Background Documents


  • The Structural Racism of Discriminatory Mortgages and Foreclosures:
    Black homeownership rates haven’t changed much in the 50 years since the Fair Housing Act by Jeff Andrews (
    Black homeownership plummets to ‘crisis’ level by Hazel Trice Edney (The Louisiana Weekly)
    The Social Structure of Mortgage Discrimination by Justin P. Steil, Len Albright, Jacob S. Rugh, and Douglas S. Massey (Housing Studies)
  • Violating State Law: Continuing Practice by Settlement Banks in Massachusetts Foreclosures by Grace C. Ross ( PDF )
  • Robo-signing: Continuing Practice by Settlement Banks in Massachusetts Foreclosures, based upon investigative study by GoLocal Worcester, by Grace C. Ross ( PDF )
  • Vacant Spaces: The External Costs of Foreclosure-Related Vacancies in Boston by Sam Simon ( PDF )
  • Foreclosures: Denying Massachusetts an Economic Recovery by Grace Ross ( PDF )
  • New England Public Policy Center Research Report 11-3 – State Foreclosure Prevention Efforts in New England: Mediation and Assistance by Robert Clifford ( PDF )
  • No Place Like Home: Philadelphia’s Approach to Foreclosure Prevention by Regional Housing Legal Services ( PDF )
  • Foreclosure in Massachusetts: Properties, Units, and Tenure by the National Low Income Housing Coalition ( PDF )

Testimony, Amicus Briefs, and Other Legal/Legislative Documents

    • Sample Documentary Evidence Report:
      • Part 1 ( PDF )
      • Part 2 ( PDF )
    • U.S. National Bank Assoc. v. Schumacher Amicus Briefs – This case presents a critical challenge to multiple foreclosure cases based on MA Right to Cure period violations. The Amicus briefs linked below were all submitted by MAAPL member organizations.
      • Amicus Brief from Community Legal Aid, Inc. of Worcester, MA ( PDF )
      • Amicus Brief from National Consumer Law Center, Boston, MA ( PDF )
      • Amicus Brief from Grace C Ross of MAAPL ( PDF )
    • Memorandum by MAAPL volunteer Sarah McKee, Esquire, to the MA Legislature’s Registry of Deeds Modernization and Efficiency Commission ( PDF )
    • Testimony by Grace C Ross to the MA Legislature’s Registry of Deeds Modernization and Efficiency Commission ( PDF )
    • Testimony by Grace C Ross to the Division of Housing Community Development, arguing against the presumptive exclusion of people who have been foreclosed upon for future housing ( PDF )
    • Testimony by Grace Ross of MAAPL in opposition to Senate Bill 774: An Act clearing titles to foreclosed properties ( PDF )
    • Amici Brief from the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, National Consumer Law Center, and others in the case Easthampton Savings Bank, et. al. v. City of Springfield, in support of the City of Springfield. This case challenged two city policies requiring lenders to pay for the maintenance of foreclosed properties until they are sold, and requiring lenders to enter into pre-foreclosure mediation with homeowners. This Amici Brief provides an in-depth legal defense of these policies. ( PDF )
    • Testimony by Grace Ross of MAAPL related to the Division of Banks Proposed Regulations 209 CMR 56.00: Right To Cure A Mortgage Default, regarding the regulation of debt collection against homeowners ( PDF )
    • Testimony by Grace Ross of MAAPL ( PDF ) and Nadine Cohen of Greater Boston Legal Services ( PDF ) related to the Division of Banks Proposed Regulations Required by Chapter 194, An Act Preventing Unlawful and Unnecessary Foreclosures, regarding the implementation of the 2012 MA anti-foreclosure legislation.
    • Amicus Brief from Grace Ross in the case of HSBC Bank USA, N.A. & Ace Securities Corp. v. Matt, a significant MA court decision in 2013, supporting requiring lenders to prove to a judge that they actually hold the mortgage to a property before they can foreclose ( PDF )
    • Amicus Brief from Grace Ross in the case of Galiastro v. Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., a 2013 case before the MA Supreme Judicial Court that challenges the use of MERS as the owner of a mortgage on the grounds that a mortgagee must have a real financial interest in a property, which MERS cannot legally have. This is an important follow-up to the Eaton case, and may well decide the legal validity of MERS. ( PDF )
    • Testimony by the Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston (a MAAPL member organization) on the MA Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Draft. These comments address the need for state-level policies regarding illegal lending and foreclosure practices, and how these practices create impediments to housing access for MA residents. ( PDF )
    • Testimony by Nadine Cohen to Congress: opposing mega merger of Capital One and ING ( PDF )
    • MAAPL’s response to Fannie Mae’s Request For Information on proposed disposition of post-foreclosure properties ( PDF | DOC )
    • Massachusetts Attorney General Coakley documents failure of voluntary requests of lenders in testimony to U.S. House Financial Services Committee ( PDF )
    • Massachusetts v. Fremont Investment & Loan – Preliminary Injunction; Extracts ( PDF ) – Full ( PDF )
    • Memorandum Addressing the Constitutionality of Federal Legislation Requiring Non-Voluntary Amendments to Existing Mortgage Contracts ( PDF ) – A legal memo on the federal government’s ability to regulate existing mortgages. From the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau 11/12/2008

    Other Resources

    • The foreclosure process in Massachusetts ( PDF | DOC )
    • PowerPoint presentation on Tenant rights during foreclosure ( PPT )
    • CHAPA Briefing Paper: Addressing the Foreclosure Crisis: State and Federal Initiatives in Massachusetts ( PDF )
    • United for a Fair Economy study: State of the Dream – Links to multiple years of this report are found on this page
    • Federal Reserve Bank of Boston: Foreclosures, House-Price Changes, and Subprime Mortgages in Massachusetts Cities and Towns – Choose which set of information you want to see by selecting one of the items in the Data Series box to the right of the map.

    Charts and Tables

    • Chart of MA Foreclosures from 2010 - March 2012MA Monthly Filings of Petitions to Foreclose Jan. 2006-May 2010 (PDF) as designed for the book, Main St. $marts by Grace Ross, posted 2/6/11
    • Homes at Risk vs. Loan Modifications 2007-2009 ( JPG )  ( source ), posted 1/30/2011
    • New Distribution of Outstanding Mortgages by First Month of Rate Reset ( GIF ) (source), posted 1/30/2011
    • Massachusetts Home Prices and Values by Region 2006-2010, posted 1/30/2011
    • Homeless Family Caseload 2005-2009 ( PDF ), posted 05/10/2009
    • National House Price Details ( PDF ) posted 01/19/2009
    • National Foreclosure Predictions ( PDF ), posted 01/19/2009
    • Homeless Family Caseload for FY2004-FY2008 ( JPG )