Boston's community development corporations (CDCs) were on the forefront of rejuvenating city neighborhoods in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, and the push is on to innovate new tactics to address the foreclosure crisis.
Dorchester and Mattapan's CDCs are gearing up to take advantage of millions of dollars in new federal funding designated for turning foreclosed properties into rentals and affordable home-ownership opportunities, and the challenges are many. Read more
Last Friday, Soledad Lawrence was chained to the front of a condominium at 76 Perrin St in Roxbury, trying to keep Paula Taylor from being evicted. Lawrence, a tenant organizer for City Life, a Jamaica Plain non-profit that has been working to prevent evictions and foreclosures in Boston, intended to be arrested that morning.
"We always go in prepared to be arrested," she said in a phone interview this week.
Friday wasn't her day. She wasn't arrested, but four others were. Read more
On a single dead-end street on Meetinghouse Hill, two extremes of Dorchester's troubled multi-family housing market can be found side by side. The difference between these two three-deckers on Navillus Terrace - creatively named for a man named Sullivan - reflects market price, but also conjures up a fortune-telling vision for the neighborhood. Read more
To judge by sale prices for three-decker condominiums in Dorchester, the housing slump is over - at least at a few locations. The prices do have connections to names that repeatedly turn up in foreclosure filings, and they stick out like tree stumps in a flood of declining values, but that hasn't stopped the flow of credit - whether from small lenders or high-profile companies such as JP Morgan Chase. Read more
The city's Foreclosure Intervention Team is taking the neighborhood-saving techniques it honed on Hendry Street to new areas in Dorchester and Roxbury, and brainstorming new ones as they go along. Read more
A new "Right to Cure" law has slowed the rate of new foreclosure filings to a relative crawl, according to state Land Court officials, but the drop may be only temporary, say some.
Beginning May 1, when the law first took effect, the rate of affidavits filed with the Land Court slowed to an average of less than 20 a day, said recorder of the court Debbie Patterson. The month before, the number of the same affidavits, which are an early required step in the foreclosure process, averaged around 150 a day.
"Big effect," she said. Read more
A trio of bills aimed at stopping an expected wave of thousands of foreclosures this year went before a Beacon Hill committee this week as the City Council appeared poised to okay its own legislation.
The three bills, sponsored by state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson, would ban evicting tenants from foreclosed properties without "just cause," create a 180-day moratorium statewide on foreclosures and set up a judicial process. Read more
Apr. 30, 2008
To explain the mortgage crisis that became a global credit crisis, US Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) started by putting the blame on the party politics of Ronald Reagan. Instead of borrowers, brokers, financial markets or even the Federal Reserve Bank, the current chair of the House Committee on Financial Services went back twenty years to the former president's philosophy of government.
"Reagan's central idea," said Frank, "was 'Government is not the answer to our problems - government is the problem.' His philosophy is why we're here today." Read more
Selling apartment buildings, as a rule, is easier when they are vacant, according to representatives of the real estate industry. But that bit of logic has opened a hefty subplot to the foreclosure crisis over the past year or so. Read more
The Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates that between $4 and $6 billion in losses can be attributed to mortgage fraud nationwide in fiscal year 2007. It has 35 task forces working across the country on the problem and considers 16 states hotspots for the crime, but Massachusetts is not on the list. The task forces work in places like Florida, where swamp peddling is still alive and well. But the FBI will soon participate in a mortgage-fraud working group with state and city agencies, said a spokeswoman for the agency. Read more