April 15, 2016
In March, we joined with our partners in Right to the City - Boston to stop the eviction of a family in Dudley Square by a management group that has been using massive rent increases to remove long-time tenants.
ACE members and supporters gathered in front of 9-15 Ruggles Street where Felicha Young and her family have been fighting a no-fault eviction served by Advanced Property Management (APM). With strong organizing by City Life/Vida Urbana (CLVU) and legal representation from Greater Boston Legal Services, Felicha won an extension in court to stay in her home.
Despite Felicha being a reliable tenant for more than 16 years, APM and The Mayo Group want to force her out to renovate the building for much higher rents. APM has refused to negotiate even when residents were open to reasonable increases, resulting in 10 of the building's 15 families being pushed into Boston's increasingly expensive housing market, with eviction threats hanging over the rest.
For the past year, we've worked with Right to the City - Boston to pass an ordinance to stop no-fault evictions, a tactic frequently used by corporate landlords to remove lower-income tenants who abide by all the terms of the lease with higher-income tenants. This rampant speculation tears apart the fabric of our communities, uprooting families and replacing individual homeowners with management companies that are driven more by greed than being a good neighbor.
The newest draft of the ordinance requires property owners with five or more units to provide residents with a reason for evictions, and notify the city of all no-fault evictions. We also ask that the city provide materials on tenants' rights to all who are served notices.
While Just Cause Eviction is just one step towards more sustainable housing, developers and corporate management groups have already marshalled major opposition. We need your support: Sign the petition, contact your city councilor and add your number to our (low-volume) text alert system to be notified when Ruggles Street eviction actions are scheduled.
Several of our partners in Right to the City - Boston are supporting additional policy improvements to prevent displacement:
- The Inclusionary Development Policy (IDP) requires new housing developers to either build affordable housing or pay into the city's affordable housing fund. The Boston Tenant Coalition is working to update the policy with a higher percentage of affordable units, a larger contribution to the city's fund and affordability requirements that ensure that at least 50 percent of new units are accessible to households making less than $52,000. Sign the petition!
- The Boston Jobs Coalition is fighting for good jobs standards to ensure that a fair percentage of construction jobs go to Boston residents, people of color and women. The coalition also seeks to expand living wage and CORI laws, increase investment in affordable housing and establish strong community benefits agreements.
- The Community Preservation Act (CPA) is statewide legislation that allows communities to allocate a small percentage of property tax to create affordable housing, preserve open space and historic sites, and develop outdoor recreational facilities. While over 160 municipalities in the state have adopted CPAs, Boston is lagging behind in taking advantage of the only steady and dedicated funding source for this type of community improvement.
Finally, the Boston Displacement Mapping Project (by CLVU and friends) is a new tool for tracking displacement, recording stories and visualizing gentrification in our city. Explore where displacement is happening and find resources to stabilize our communities.