- About Us
- Our Work
- Get Legal Help
- Get Involved
- Impact Advocacy
- Support GBLS
Oak Foundation Awards 3-Year Grant to GBLS For Affordable Housing Public Policy Initiative
In 2009 the Oak Foundation, a philanthropic organization based in England, awarded GBLS a $460,000 grant (to be paid over 3 years) to support the Affordable Housing Public Policy Initiative. The initiative’s goal is to secure, through legislative advocacy on behalf of low-income community groups, passage of laws that will protect low-income homeowners against inappropriate foreclosures; protect tenants in foreclosed buildings against no-fault evictions; and help preserve affordable units threatened by the “expiring use” crisis.
An Act Preserving Publicly Assisted Affordable Housing was signed into law in November 2009. GBLS also developed two pieces of proposed legislation affecting homeowners, a Judicial Foreclosure bill and a Foreclosure Moratorium bill. A Tenant Protection bill was also filed requiring just cause for eviction of tenants and former homeowners in foreclosed properties.
The following bills made significant progress through the legislative process but the legislative session ended before either bill reached a final vote.
- Judicial foreclosure legislation would amend current law to require a Massachusetts court to approve foreclosures, in 1-4 unit owner-occupied homes, allowing homeowners to defend against foreclosure and allow a court to fashion appropriate relief depending on the facts of the case;
- Temporary moratorium on foreclosures legislation would provide for a six-month moratorium on foreclosures involving sub-prime mortgages that have been held by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to be presumptively unfair. It keeps homeowners in their homes while they seek to negotiate modifications of their loans with lenders, and provides time for a comprehensive national foreclosure solution to be enacted; and
- Just cause for eviction in foreclosed properties legislation would deter unnecessary evictions and stabilize communities during the current foreclosure crisis. It proposes a reasonable and time-limited approach to address post-foreclosure displacement and neighborhood degradation. If the owner does not have just cause to evict, the occupants can remain, paying reasonable rents and abiding by the standard rules of tenancies.
In addition to funding legislative advocacy work, the grant helped to preserve four attorney positions in the Housing Law Unit for one year.