Foreclosure Forum/ Affordable Housing Discussion
Tuesday, October 9th 6:30-8:30pm
State Street UCC Church, 159 State Street, Portland, ME
In the three months since we first began organizing around housing issues, we've already come a long way. We've compiled lists of online resources and local organizations that work with people facing foreclosure and have begun providing this much-needed information to our neighbors who are in jeopardy of losing their homes. We've started petitions, created contact lists, mobilized teams of volunteers and launched initiatives to pass anti-foreclosure legislation and start a community land trust to protect affordable housing in Maine.
When Tim Cason a long-time resident of Bowdoinham was served an illegal eviction notice in August, kicking him out of the home that he built with his own hands 17 years ago, we set into action. Within just 48 hours, we'd collected a petition with nearly 200 signatures and made dozens of calls to Savings Banks of Maine and the local sheriff's office defending Tim's right to remain in his home. And, when that didn't work, we got mobile - organizing a sit-in and potluck at Tim's house, joined by dozens of activists from across the country who tuned into the event through our online live stream. A few days later, Tim was arrested and violently hauled out of his home by the police, but he continues to fight for justice. At the monthly Occupy Our Homes forum in September, just days after his arrest, Tim shared his experience, more impassioned than ever, inspiring all of us to reach out to our communities and stand our ground courageously.
Another leader of this movement, Susan Chandel, faces a similar foreclosure situation with her home in Topsham that she's lived in for almost a decade. Faced with the isolating pain of being targeted by predatory banks, Susan has resisted - opening her home to artists, poets and musicians from across the state and transforming her house into a radical community art center called Occupied by Art.
Amazing things happen when communities get together to share ideas and organize. We invite everyone to join us for our third big community discussion about housing insecurity at the State Street UCC Church (159 State Street) this Tuesday, October 9th from 6:30-8:30pm (our meetings are always on the second Tuesday of the month).
Come discuss how the housing crisis is affecting you, network with other Mainers interested in taking action and learn how you can get involved in providing resources and support to the people in your community who are in jeopardy of losing their homes. Whether you're a renter, a homeowner, a student or don't have housing of your own right now, we welcome you to join in the discussion. Your story is important!
Some highlights of the upcoming event:
- Poet and activist Heidi Verthaler will present on LD-145, a state bill to prevent illegal foreclosures. Governor LePage vetoed this bill several months ago; but, if we organize and fight, together we can win this essential protection for all Maine homeowners.
- Tim Cason and Leon Bard will present on foreclosure fraud, explaining the shortcuts banks are using to illegally evict Mainers from their homes.
Most importantly, the forum will offer an opportunity for us to reflect on our organizing efforts so far and brainstorm our next steps toward building sustainable responses to the forces threatening our rights to housing. Once we've developed some good options for the next round of actions, we'll vote to determine which projects we're most excited about and will work collaboratively to discuss the best ways to implement them. We hope you'll come out and participate with us!
As the tensions rise, and more and more Mainers are finding a foreclosure notice tacked to the front door of their home, one thing is clear - the time has come to stand up and resist! This isn't charity. We all lose when our communities are ravaged by injustice like this, and we'd all gain from things becoming more fair and sustainable. Whoever you are, if you want to change how housing works in Maine, you need to step up and get involved now.