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Something really amiss is going on over at the Coalition for a Better Acre, this time, in regards to recent eviction notices delivered to some tenants that have seem to suggest some are in arrears going back to 2004, whereas many of those tenants have had no previous notice of such. CBA Members for Justice is hosting a rally today at 5pm to ask for a halt to the eviction process until the issue of fairness can be resolved. The press release from CBAMJ has more:
Outraged Lowell residents and CBA Members for Justice will rally on December 18 against threatened evictions of at least 80 low-income households from properties developed or owned by the Coalition for a Better Acre (CBA). The rally will start at 5:00 and take place outside the meeting of the North Canal Housing Trust, 517 Moody Street in Lowell.
“Dozens of North Canal tenants have been coming through my office day after day with these warning letters” explains Paulette Turner, Consultant to the North Canal Tenant Council and former staff of CBA’s property management company Maloney Properties. “In some cases this is the first notice they’re receiving of money they’ve supposedly owed since 2004. Then they get sent to court to sign an agreement they might not understand and can’t afford, and once they break that agreement, they’re out on the street.”
This flood of warning notices extends beyond the CBA-developed North Canal complex, to other CBA properties on Merrimack Street and the Acre Triangle. In some cases the notices are just wrong, like one demanding $1350 from a North Canal resident - when the woman sat down with Turner to review her records, it turned out that she was actually owed a $40 credit instead. In other cases, the debt may exist, but tenants have received no prior warnings, counseling, or education about options for addressing the problem and staying in their homes.
In response to the crisis, the North Canal Tenant Council has hosted two educational meetings where tenants raised other issues. For example, constables were taping notices to the outside of people’s doors, where they are accessible to passersby. They talked about suddenly receiving first-time notification for money they have supposedly owed for years, which then turns out to be an error. Maria Claudio, a long-time North Canal resident, says “This whole process is illegal and not in compliance with HUD regulations. I have been personally affected by the situation.”
“It’s distressing that CBA, an organization that formed to fight for justice and housing for the poor of Lowell, is now acting as a landlord that will evict people with no due process,” adds Darcie Boyer, Acre resident and former CBA organizer. “We’re seeing CBA’s dramatic change from social justice organization to one led by the interests of bankers and developers.”
The rally will demand an immediate halt to the eviction process. “CBA needs to require its property manager to sit down with the tenants and design a new process that is fair and clear to all,” adds Turner. The North Canal Housing Trust, a joint body of the North Canal Tenants Council and the CBA Board of Directors, sets policy for North Canal Apartments.
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