Tag Archives: eviction

Eviction Showdown – Worcester – Tomorrow (Thurs 5/4) – 9:30 am

The Worcester Housing Court has issued its tenth Execution to evict disabled foreclosure activist Marjorie Evans from her home at 158 Orient St. Worcester, tomorrow (Thurs 5/4) at 9:30 am, by Freddie Mac (the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation) which claims to be the new owner.

According to Worcester resident and statewide anti-foreclosure organizer Grace Ross, this will be st least the tenth attempt this year to evict Ms. Evans.

In Ms. Ross’s words, “The Housing Court has decided to proceed with this eviction without Freddie Mac ever proving ownership and right to evict, and issued an execution while Marjorie was under a “stay” on the proceeding by higher courts (the Appeals Court, Supreme Judicial Court, and the Bankruptcy Court).”

The Worcester Anti-Foreclosure Team has called for a mass turnout of members and friends to stop the eviction by blocking the Constable and movers access to the property. A dramatic confrontation is very possible. A colorful protest and a good story with many opportunities to interview participants is guaranteed.

Worcester Anti-Foreclosure Team

Below, full statement by Grace Ross and the WAFT leadership team:

Friends:
 
We are writing requesting your urgent attention and assistance in the egregious eviction case of Marjorie Evans. Like, a huge number of folks, who’ve been illegally foreclosed on in Massachusetts, Marjorie Evans had a manageable disability prior to the damaging downward slide of her housing situation – starting with a declaration from Freddie Mac (who did admit to being the owner of the mortgage) that she was in default.

Freddie Mac declared her in default while she was still paying her mortgage, they stopped accepting her payments. That is where the nightmare began for her.
 
On Thursday May 4, 2017, at 9:30 am, Freddie Mac once again is scheduled to illegally evict Marjorie based on documents that Freddie Mac obtained from the Worcester Housing Court while she has a bankruptcy stay in place so that they would be able to go ahead and illegally evict her.

The stress from the years of fighting prior to the actual foreclosure of her home was bad enough. Since the illegal foreclosure of her home (known as “void”), Marjorie knew her rights enough to know that she could stay in her home. She knew that post the purported foreclosure would be her first chance in front of a Judge – where the foreclosing party would have to try to prove its foreclosure was valid, and their alleged right to possession of her home.
 
However, while Marjorie had gathered more evidence than most homeowners’ ever get their hands on in their case, and has proof, not only showing the declaration of the default while she was still paying, but numerous other legal violations – any one of which shows that the foreclosure was illegal.
 
Then, having made her first few conceptually straightforward legal motions in this case to defend her home, her health, her future, her financial base; she planned ahead and hired an attorney; she then lost her attorney almost immediately to a heart-attack. 

Having preemptively hired a lawyer knowing that she would not be able to handle these multifaceted interactions in the stress of the court, Marjorie found herself without an attorney less than a month away from the jury trial.
 
She was now confronted with the complexity of a legal trial by herself. Given the heavy stress of her fundamental right to her home being on the chopping block, her health began to deteriorate. Because of the behavior of the opposing counsel, and the Worcester Housing Court, the complex interaction of a trial situation is exactly the kind of situation in which Marjorie’s disability is profoundly aggravated and limits her handling.
 
She was then forced to request more time from the Worcester Housing Court and in doing so, she had to reveal her disability to the Judge. In strict compliance with Title II of the ADA Act, the legal history in the Massachusetts courts is: once you have informed to the Court that you have a disability that will limit your ability to participate in your case without a reasonable accommodation – it becomes the court’s job (burden) to sort out with you how the proceedings can continue to meet legal standards but also be adjusted to ensure your full participation.
 
This is especially central as a defendant defending one of your three constitutional inalienable rights to life, liberty, and property once it is under threat.
 
Instead, the Judge, once Marjorie informed the court, became the inquisitor; she forced Marjorie to endure more than 20 minutes in open court in front of opposing counsel on the public record to answer a series of invasive questions about: what was the medical condition, her educational history, her work history, her present physical limitations, her finances, and even about whether Marjorie filed taxes the year before. She did all this while making eye contact with opposing counsel when she would answer.
 
You can imagine what a gross and complete violation this was of Marjorie’s rights. In her belief that the court should be exposed for what it was doing, she allowed the questioning to wind itself down instead of, for instance, leaving against the court’s rules to protect her rights under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and her privacy. To leave would also to a certain extent protect her from the serious post-traumatic stress that not surprisingly has resulted.
 
That post-traumatic stress from the Judge’s unethical behavior as well as the general limitations that she would have in handling the court proceedings has rendered her unable to appear in court.
 
Backed by strong doctor’s orders that she must not participate, Marjorie has attempted (and very eloquently we might add) to defend her right to her home in writing and through numerous filings. With every single filing and every single opposition to a filing from the other side, she has included consistent requests for a reasonable accommodation that would allow her filings to be fully addressed by the court.  The court has denied each request.
 
As folks who have been backing Marjorie now for over a year, we are horrified by the destruction of this brilliant and amazing woman’s health under the grueling and incessant stress of not only the court case – but, the shocking disregard of the facts and the gist of every single filing that she has made in the Worcester Housing Court – and the absolute and complete disregard of any of her rights under Title II of the ADA Act.
 
The record is, in fact, rife with the explicit and repeated statements in writing by the Judge that she will be ruled against Marjorie simply for her inability to appear and verbally argue her case in front of the Judge.
 
This, of course, flies directly in the face of Marjorie’s personal report of her disability condition (certainly sufficient under Title II of the ADA), and the fact that she has provided two notes from physicians currently treating her and helping her manage her disability. Yet, the Court has never even approached the physicians if it had any doubt as to Marjorie’s report of her disability that she has struggled with since childhood.
 
We need your help now!  

Marjorie has managed to stave off 9 or 10 illegal eviction attempts. Evictions that are not only illegal because Freddie Mac does not own her home (given the illegality of the foreclosure), but evictions illegal in and of themselves; the Court has decided and issued Freddie Mac papers and authority to carry out evictions without Freddie Mac ever proving ownership and right to evict, and while Marjorie is under a “stay” on the proceeding by higher courts (the Appeals Court, Supreme Judicial Court, and the Bankruptcy Court).
  
The passionate and amazing commitment that Marjorie has shown refusing to have her rights to her home be taken away without her case ever being adjudicated – especially given the additional barriers of being self-represented, with a disability.  Her competence, incisive understanding and leadership are critical to our movement to end illegal foreclosures.
 
We believe her insistence that she has equal rights under our constitution to her home should be a model to everyone – as it is to us – regardless of one’s physical disabilities.  All of us should always insist and enforce our equal rights under the law, otherwise as you know, we won’t have them.
 
We cannot plead to you strongly enough for the need for your help and support in backing our courageous sister, Marjorie Evans in her fight for justice under the law.
 
Please consider the following:

• Share Marjorie’s story throughout your networks.

• Contact every elected official that you have a relationship within the state of Massachusetts. She is a constituent of the following elected officials. District Representative:

• For Freddie Mac, Melvin Watt, Director of FHFA  202-649-3001 or 202-649-3006  OfficeoftheDirector@FHFA.gov

• US Senate: Elizabeth Warren
(202) 224-4543  www.warren.senate.gov/?p=email_senator

• Congressional:                 James P McGovern phone:  508-831-7356

• State senate:               Harriet L. Chandler 617-722-1544

• State rep:                    Mary S. Keefe 617-722-2210

• Governor’s Council     Jennie L. Caissie 617-725-4015, ext. 7

• District Attorney                 Joseph D. Early (508) 755-8601
 
Further, we request your presence (and anybody you know) to help blockade this illegal eviction. If Freddie Mac continues to go forward with it and the courts are not willing to enforce the stays that they themselves have imposed on the Worcester Housing Court actions.

–     Please be at Marjorie’s home by 9:00 am this Thursday, May 4th, at 
     158 Orient Street, Worcester.

–     Honor the leadership and discipline chosen by WAFT’s leadership

–     We are calling on everyone to create a large enough nonviolent presence
     the constable will be afraid to go ahead with this illegal eviction.
 
Further, the Supreme Judicial Court, (“SJC”) of Massachusetts is aware of this situation and has been called on to act. While it is not their normal procedure to act this quickly, under the circumstances where a court has been allowed to engage in this kind of absolute egregious disregard of the rights of a homeowner – a woman of color, with a disability – without legal representation beyond her quite amazing brilliance on these issues, please call on the SJC to act now!
 
Please show a solid presence with us as we back and if necessary, some of us, put our bodies in the way to protect Marjorie Evans rights to her home, against Freddie Mac who does “not” have any legal rights to her property.  

Love,

Grace & All the WAFT Team!
 

Curbing prostitution along Main South’s Main Street corridor: a one-year Community Policing pilot

By Worcester District 4 City Councilor Barbara Haller

Last September, neighbors stood shoulder-to-shoulder at a press conference at the corner of Main and Hitchcock streets to acknowledge that prostitution was embedded along Main Street from Madison to Webster Square: “Our children, our spouses, and ourselves are being victimized every day by prostitution.

It is not just seeing the prostitutes ply their trade or the johns stalking in their cars and trucks. It is not only the ugly and physical domination of pimps, the unwanted solicitations to our youth and young women, the frequent foul language, and the painful addiction behaviors.

Nor is it solely the fear of our apartment buildings being invaded by desperate individuals. It is all of this for sure. But the real cry comes from the sense of hopelessness that is descending on us that says ‘This is how it is and this is how will be.’”

The group was made up of myself, members of the Main South Alliance for Public Safety, the Main South CDC, Clark University, each of the six crime watches in Main South, St. Peter’s Parish, and local business owners.

After a particularly bad summer of constant prostitution activity we were calling for resources to truly end this blight on our present and future. At the community meeting that followed, Bill Breault (Main South Alliance for Public Safety), Casey Starr (Main South CDC), and myself committed ourselves to form a Curbing Prostitution Task Force to develop a strategy to be implemented by April 2011. Various community members, staff from the YWCA’s Daybreak Program, Worcester Police Department, District Attorney’s Office, and Probation Department met throughout the fall and winter where we rolled up our collective sleeves and produced a consensus community policing strategy.

The key parts of the strategy:

1. Make curbing prostitution a city public safety priority.

2. Continue monthly task force meeting or the next year to assess success/failure and to make the strategy more robust.

3. Active reporting of prostitution behaviors by the community.

4. Decrease demand (males buying sex for a fee).

5. Decrease supply (females selling sex for a fee).

6. Collect and evaluate data on where prostitution is happening.

I am pleased to report that the strategy is now being implemented. You may have recently read about or seen some police stings. These will continue, with particular emphasis on arresting the johns. Probation and the District Attorney’s Office will increase their work to have both female and male offenders sent to the DAWN and CARD programs as a condition of their sentences.

Daybreak and Probation will drive these education programs and collect data on the number of people attending and track recidivism.

The City Manager and the task force will work to find resources for an outreach worker and resources to help women exit prostitution. The Main South Alliance, the Main South CDC and I will soon distribute information to Main South neighbors on how to effectively report prostitution activity.

How you can help:

 · OBSERVE prostitution trolling by females and males, · CALL 508 799 8606 and say, “I am reporting prostitution activity,” · REPORT street locations (corner of …, in front of …), activity (female soliciting, male soliciting, etc.), and descriptions (female with white jacket, male in green sedan, etc.), and · JOIN a neighborhood/business association.

Do not expect the police to show up. I repeat, DO NOT EXPECT THE POLICE TO SHOW UP. While this may happen, the purpose of Observe, Call, Report, and Join is to gather data on where and when prostitution is happening. This data will be used to set up stings, increase public safety and community presence in an area, track where the prostitution traffic is moving, and track increases/decreases in prostitution activity along the corridor.

If you want to join the task force, learn when and where a neighborhood association is meeting, need more info, or have some ideas about how we can make a difference, call/email me.

Stay in touch.

Fair housing and domestic violence

By Sarah Loy

Domestic violence affects people of all social and economic levels and includes physical, emotional, financial or sexual abuse by a spouse or other intimate partner. Victims of domestic violence are most often women and children. Domestic violence can affect performance at work and at school and can disrupt a family’s home life, not only through the abuse experienced at home, but also by causing difficulty in the family’s ability to find or keep affordable housing. According to a report by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness in the United States (Lost Housing, Lost Safety: Survivors of Domestic Violence Experience Housing Denials and Evictions Across the Country (NLCHP, 2007).

Maintaining housing stability while you are experiencing domestic violence or even after you leave a violent relationship can be difficult. It can be made more difficult if you are evicted from the apartment you live in or are prevented from renting a new apartment because of past incidents of domestic violence where, for example, neighbors have complained about police calls, or the abuser has damaged the apartment. Continue reading Fair housing and domestic violence