Housing-reform activists will hold a public meeting this evening to, as organizers put it, “discuss key policy proposals to resolve the foreclosure crisis and build a Springfield that puts people before profit.”
Members of Springfield No One Leaves/Nadie Se Mude and the Springfield Bank Tenant Association will host the town hall-style meeting, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Trinity United Church, at 361 Sumner Ave.
Those two groups—made up of families whose homes have been foreclosed on, renters living in foreclosed properties and allies—have been extremely visible over the past few years, holding anti-foreclosure and anti-eviction protests at targeted properties and working for national-level reforms in foreclosure policy. That’s include their participation in the “Dump DeMarco” campaign calling for the ouster of Edward DeMarco, acting head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, or FHFA. Members of the Springfield group have joined protests in Washington against DeMarco over his agency’s refusal to allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to negotiate principal reductions with homeowners facing foreclosure. They also object to Fannie and Freddie’s practice of selling foreclosed properties at their current value to investors but not the displaced homeowners.
Last month, President Obama nominated U.S. Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) to take over at the FHFA. The president’s first choice, Joe Smith, a former state banking commissioner from North Carolina, had been blocked for more than a year by Republicans in Congress. Watt’s backers say he could help lead the way out of the housing crisis by changing FHFA policies.
“[T]he pressure continues to build to win principal reduction, end no-fault evictions and create affordable housing,” organizers of the Springfield meeting said in a press release. “These are important steps and big victories but a nomination is not enough—we need ACTION and POLICIES to change NOW, that put PEOPLE before PROFIT!”
State Rep. Cheryl Coakley-Rivera (D-Springfield) and City Councilors Tom Ashe (at-large) and E. Henry Twiggs (Ward 5) are expected at tonight’s meeting, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren has sent a statement to be read at the event.