Federal Court Upholds Springfield’s Historic Foreclosure Ordinance

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday July 3, 2012

Contact : Amaad Rivera, Lead Sponsor of Ordinance 413-342-1782

Malcolm Chu, Springfield No One Leaves/Nadie Se Mude 718-666-6872

Federal Court Upholds Springfield’s Historic Foreclosure Ordinance

Press conference to be held on Springfield City Hall on Thursday July 5th at 11:00am

Springfield, Ma – On July 3rd the United States District Court of Massachusetts ruled to uphold Springfield’s anti-foreclosure ordinance, considered to be the strongest of its kind in the country. The ordinance was passed unanimously by the Springfield City Council in August, 2011 with overwhelming community support. The Massachusetts Bankers Association, and six local banks who have no foreclosing interest and who hold limited mortgages in the city of Springfield, sued the city last fall.

U.S District Judge Michael A. Ponsor wrote in is his order, that “The modest effort made by the city to soften this crisis through the promulgation of the two ordinances violates no Constitutional provision or state statute.”

“This is truly an historic day in the city’s history” said former City Councilor and lead sponsor of the ordinance, Amaad Rivera. “Springfield was once known as the city of firsts, it can continue that reputation by being the first city to enact such a powerful piece of legislation that provides a real solution that was created by irresponsible financial institutions. We are taking our city back.”

The Springfield ordinances require financial institutions to provide a $10,000 cash-bond per vacant and foreclosed property. This bond will be used to cover cost of maintaining properties that are neglected by these owners, in the event that the property is maintained properly the cash bond will be returned minus a small fee.  In addition, the ordinance institutes a mediation process that allows for those who can afford a market rate mortgage or were fraudulently foreclosed upon to stay in their homes.

Springfield has been one of the hardest hit cities by the foreclosure crisis, since 2007 and a new wave of foreclosures is imminent following the 50 state Attorney Generals’ Settlement with the five largest mortgage holders in the country – not including Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac. Many residents of the city have felt the impacts of this foreclosure crisis.

“Banks created this housing crisis and its our families and communities that have suffered because of it. Today is a huge start in holding these greedy banks accountable, and we will continue to stand up and fight back,” says Springfield No One Leaves (SNOL) member Sellou Diaite, who recently fought to win her home back after it was foreclosed in 2011.

Organizations such as Springfield No One Leaves have been at the forefront of organizing community resistance against the big banks who created the housing crisis.  “Today shows what we can do when we stand together and organize collectively,” said Malcolm Chu, an organizer with SNOL.

Following the ordinance the city decided to await the ruling before moving to implement. Now that the matter has been closed by Judge Ponser, community groups are calling for quick and swift implementation by Mayor Sarno and the administration. “We’ve been ready to move on this since last summer, and we continue to be ready to work with the city to take our city back,” continued Mr. Chu. “We expect the Mayor and the city to move quickly to enforce this ordinance and look forward to being involved in the process.”

About SNOL

Springfield No One Leaves is a member-led community organization dedicated to organizing families most affected by the economic & foreclosure crisis. We organize against displacement and eviction and to defend our homes and our communities. Springfield Nadie Se Mude es una organización comunitaria dirigida por nuestros miembros y dedicada a organizar residentes más afectados por la crisis económica y de ejecuciones hipotecarias. Organizamos contra desplazamiento y desalojo y para defender nuestros hogares y nuestras comunidades.
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