Members of Western Mass Homes For All Vow No More tax-Title Auctions!
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – On Tuesday, June 18, 2013, Arise for Social Justice will stop the City Auction of properties that have been taken for delinquent taxes. The auction is scheduled for Springfield City Hall, 35 Court St, Room # 220, 6:00 p.m.
For several years Arise has been vocal about the city’s lack of safe, clean, affordable rental housing. Noting that most of the low-income rental housing lost in the tornado June 1, 2010 has not been replaced, Michaelann Bewsee, Executive Director of Arise for Social Justice says, “More than 3,000 Single Room Occupancy units disappeared between the early 60’s and the mid 80’s and very few have come back on the market.”
Arise’s President, Holly Richardson, adds, “The city continues to develop plans for MGM and for the people they wish lived in the city not for the people and businesses that are already here.”
Arise has made clear to the city that viable properties should be turned over to local non-profits for the creation of permanently affordable housing through the use of alternative housing models such as land trusts, boarding houses, co-operative space and congregate living. [pullquote]Arise’s President, Holly Richardson, adds, “The city continues to develop plans for MGM and for the people they wish lived in the city not for the people and businesses that are already here.” [/pullquote]
“I’m sure the city will say that it needs the revenue brought in by the auction,” Bewsee said. “However, the revenue for auctioning property for the last three years is only two one-thousands of a percent of the city’s budget for the same period—that is, $3 million over $1 billion, five hundred million.”
Arise demands that the City of Springfield stop all auctions of properties that are viable for use as affordable housing and that instead of the tax taking of properties, the city should work with homeowners who have fallen behind in tax payments to help develop a plan for repayment.”
Economic Justice organizer Liz Bewsee also points out that the city may complain about the cost of maintaining these properties, but there is a solution.
“All they have to do is enforce the anti-foreclosure ordinance that was passed in 2011,” says Bewsee. “Let those banks which are irresponsible in securing their properties pay the price, because they are at least partly responsible for the fact that buildings are empty while shelters are full.”
[From a News Release]