Victory for low-income tenants: 59 apartments in Dorchester and Mattapan were converted into deed-restricted affordable housing! The conversion happened after the apartments were purchased by Codman Square Community Development Corporation (CSNDC), a local non-profit developer. After the former landlord went bankrupt, the tenants, along with the Boston Public Health Commission, held claims against the bankruptcy estate in excess of $3,500,000. Leveraging their claims, the tenants helped CSNDC buy the building, committing to waive the claims if CSNDC won the bid.
CONGRATULATIONS to the powerful tenants who won this victory along with an incredible pro-bono legal team including Goulston & Storrs, Greater Boston Legal Services, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and support from the City of Boston's Department of Neighborhood Development.
WHEN WE FIGHT, WE WIN! Read the article from the Dorchester Reporter:
Join the City Life/Vida Urbana community at our Annual Meeting and Pot Luck Celebration
Saturday, October 29, 2016
* Note new location
We're part of a nationwide wave of actions sweeping 50 cities across the country on 9.22.16, the #RentersDayofAction! Read here about national actions including marches, banner drops, sit-ins, land occupations, and civil disobedience... and check out the national Facebook event for up-to-the-minute reports and coverage.
Here in Boston, City Life/Vida Urbana is joining with our local Right to the City partners in a MASS ACTION bringing together renters, homeowners, and homeless folks.Read more
Jim Brooks, a former organizer with City Life/Vida Urbana and a lifelong disability justice activist, passed away this spring. This well-deserved obituary beautifully chronicles Jim's life: "Using a wheelchair to get around, and relying on his unfettered spirit to bring him beyond barriers that block the way of those who can’t walk, Mr. Brooks lived on his own terms as he worked for decades to expand access to the disabled in Greater Boston...In more recent years, Mr. Brooks staffed the phones in the City Life/Vida Urbana offices, and on occasion chained himself to the railings of houses to try to prevent landlords from evicting tenants. 'Up until he died he was defending people from being thrown out of their houses,' [Brian] Shea said."
Mayor Walsh, Boston's displacement crisis is a racial equity issue. We need stronger protections from eviction, not resegregation. Take a stand with us for Just Cause legislation this spring! Boston residents, Call Mayor Walsh TODAY at (617) 635-4500.
City Life Vida Urbana proudly stands up for Boston residents
The City Life family unapologetically fights for social, economic, racial, and gender justice and equity. We view the current displacement crisis as an issue of racial equity, as well as economic and housing justice. We will keep fighting unjust, forced displacement until our entire communities’ right to remain in affordable, quality housing is protected by policy and practice.
We target any big bank or corporate landlord who uses their power to drive displacement. We organize tenants in buildings where the landlord has more than 6 units and doesn't owner-occupy.
Our goal: stabilize families and neighborhoods in the short-term by fighting displacement, and long-term through promoting community control of housing. For homeowners in foreclosure, this means loan modifications, buy-backs, or sales to nonprofits at real value. For tenants of absentee landlords, it means rental contracts with fair, predictable increases linked to the cost of maintaining the property; and/or sales to new owners based on the building's established income stream, rather than speculation.
We always seek to negotiate. We encourage banks and corporate landlords to work with tenants, not against them. And, we refer disputes between owners and tenants living in the same building to impartial mediators and neutral sources of information on the rights of each side.
We stand with the 26 School Street Tenant Association’s efforts to remain in their homes.
A TERRIFIC column on why Boston needs Just Cause protections from eviction just appeared in The Globe! "'There is a housing crisis, but on top of that is a second, overlaying crisis of market pressure and speculative investors,” said Matt Nickell, an attorney with Greater Boston Legal Services. In a place like East Boston, he said, “It’s not uncommon for a landlord to raise the rent three or four times in a single year.' ...The majority of evictions never end up in housing court or on a city’s record books. Most are brutally fast, whole families gone within 30 days. No one knows what happens to them — except a few worried neighbors and the homeless shelters searching for more beds." SIGN THE PETITION for JUST CAUSE NOW: http://www.justcauseboston.org/sign_the_petition
Are you or people you care about impacted by displacement? Do you think it's unfair how rent increases, no-fault evictions, and foreclosures are pushing our neighbors out of their homes and out of our city? We're part of a growing coalition of over 30 grassroots organizations, unions, and other groups calling for a "Just Cause for Eviction" law in Boston! Our eviction laws have not been reformed in decades, and tenants of absentee landlords and foreclosing banks are in desperate need of protection from the growing epidemic of profit-driven evictions.
Visit justcauseboston.org and learn how to take action by contacting your elected officials, through social media, and showing your support at events such as the City Council public hearing Monday, March 14 @4pm.
City Life/Vida Urbana appears in the Boston Globe again.
"Data from the real estate database Zillow show the median monthly rent in Eastie has climbed more than 40 percent in four years, reaching $2,255 in December, bringing the neighborhood in line with rental prices in the rest of the city, according to Zillow’s rental index. Boston rents as a whole increased about 20 percent in the same period.
'You’re taking families away from their social fabric, leading to the weakening of the social fabric and the societal problems we’re seeing in East Boston today,' said Del Castillo, who leads weekly meetings at which residents seek legal help with their housing problems.
'Young people are being moved from home to home, school system to school system. . . . All of this puts kids at risk.'"
READ THE WHOLE STORY BELOW.
In honor of MLK's birthday and the longstanding black community in Dudley Square, City Life/Vida Urbana stood with Felicha, Carolyn, and other remaining renters in the wake of an attempted building-wide "clear out" on Ruggles Street. These remaining renters are now threatened with eviction too.
"As rents rise across the city, Dudley Square seems to be drawing real estate developers who aim to attract tenants seeking the more moderate side of market rate housing....Real estate developers like the Mayo Group apparently are banking on the district’s improved curb appeal as they usher in more market rate units. Brokers and real estate agents also said they expect many tenants to flock in from other neighborhoods as rents elsewhere in the city continue to rise." CLICK BELOW for the whole story.