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Boston.USA. Rally Saturday for Legislation to “Save Our Homes”

Name of the initiative:
Boston.USA. Rally Saturday for Legislation to “Save Our Homes”
Location on the map:
United States
Nicola Sossass
Date of the initiative:
Tenants from HUD subsidized apartments threatened with conversion to market rents, joined by invited elected officials and candidates
Rally and press conference to call for state and federal legislation to save peoples’ homes

Saturday, October 30, 11:30 a.m. (part of International Housing Rights and Zero Evictions Days of Action in October in the US and around the globe

Park in Cleary Square, corner Hyde Park Avenue and River Street, Hyde Park (next to Post Office, parking on street)
Massachusetts has lost more than 6,555 affordable HUD subsidized apartments due to owner conversion to market rates, and another 19,000 are threatened statewide through 2012. At nearby Georgetowne Homes in West Roxbury, 286 families at Georgetowne Homes face rent increases up to $700 per month starting in April, 2011, unless federal or state legislation is passed in time to save their homes. The 540 apartments at nearby Stonybrook Commons (formerly High Point Village) have already been lost.
A new “expiring use” housing law signed by Governor Patrick in November 2009 unfortunately has not stopped this loss. Under the new law, owners of 32 properties statewide have filed “Notices of Intent to Complete Termination”—leaving more than 5,000 apartments at immediate risk of conversion to market rents in the next 18 months.
At the rally, tenants, candidates and elected officials will speak out for additional state legislation to save at-risk housing. The Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants (MAHT) will release the results of a Candidate Questionnaire sent to the four gubernatorial campaigns and the open State Senate seat representing the Hyde Park area. The campaigns have been invited to send representatives to the conference.
The Massachusetts legislature has previously rejected statewide legislation, including Home Rule Petitions from Boston and five other cities, to give cities no-cost tools to require owners to renew contracts and keep rents low for current and future tenants. Rally speakers will ask State and City officials to redouble their efforts to refile and pass these measures.
Speakers will also call on Congress to amend the FY 2011 HUD Appropriations bill to save Georgetowne and 101,000 at-risk families nationwide from displacement. The National Alliance of HUD Tenants (NAHT) has proposed an amendment to extend “Enhanced Voucher” subsidies to these families, supported by Chairman Barney Frank and other House leaders. While Georgetowne Tenants United has won a pledge by Beacon to “freeze” rents through April 2011 and to accept Enhanced Vouchers if available, 286 tenants could be displaced if the NAHT amendment or new state legislation is not passed in time.
MAHT is the statewide coalition representing tenants in privately-owned, HUD subsidized apartments. Since 1983, MAHT has helped tenants preserve more than 9,700 apartments, one building at a time, through tenant organizing, including a 20 year extension of Section 8 for 258 families at nearby Blake Estates.
The Boston rally is part of an International Housing Rights Day of Action called by NAHT, the International Alliance of Inhabitants and the Habitat International Coalition. Tenants will also call on Senator John Kerry to push for US ratification of the Right to Housing Treaty (ICESCR). The US is the only major nation that has not ratified the treaty.

For more Information : 617.267.2949 x14 or 617.233.1885
Nicola Sossass