BOSTON/Dorchester - When activists with City Life / Vida Urbana trim their Christmas themed “Justice Tree” this afternoon in a Dorchester neighborhood, they’ll be celebrating more than just the giving and receiving of gifts. A family that was evicted from a foreclosed property earlier this year actually will have a place to enjoy the tree for the holiday season.
Housing advocates from the Jamaica Plain-based City Life organization along with supporters from the Occupy Boston movement will announce at a press conference at noon that the St. Simon family - evicted from their two-family home in Hyde Park in April – will be renting a foreclosed and empty house on Fowler Street in Dorchester.
Since October first, activists have been “occupying” the home in an attempt to assist the building’s original owner and prevent the home from becoming what community organizers consider more urban blight.
According to a City Life press release issued Thursday, mortgage holder Deutsche Bank’s foreclosure of the Fowler Street home was discovered by housing advocates to be “faulty.” The owner, said the release, will rent the house rather than move back in.
In March, activists held one of several successful eviction blockades for the St. Simons, members of the City Life sponsored Bank Tenants Association. The group is is made up of owners and tenants facing so-called “no fault evictions.”
At the time, Melonie Griffiths, a lead organizer with City Life, described her organization’s emphasis on “peaceful protest.”
OMB Audio: Melonie Griffiths, City Life / Vida Urbana, March 24, 2011 (1:22)
City Life Executive Director Curdina Hill says her organization is “…working to end the bank practice of foreclosure evictions and spreading the drive for alternative approaches to keeping families in their homes…” These approaches have included public pressure, such as eviction blockades and other demonstrations, legal defense, and alternative financing. Housing activists often refer to these strategies as “the three legs of a tripod.”
Participants in the Occupy Boston Movement as well as members of the SEIU sponsored Mass Uniting Coalition are expected to express their solidarity during today’s event.
This article is a news brief.