By Helen “Homefries” Matthews
“Building clear–outs are sweeping through East Boston like wildfire – how much profit is enough for these corporate developers?” asked Andres Del Castillo, Lead Organizer in East Boston for the housing justice organization City Life/Vida Urbana. As reported recently in The Boston Globe, City Life/Vida Urbana has supported tenants in 66 building clear-out cases in Boston since 2012, most of them in the past 2 years.
But a counter-narrative is emerging. September, 2017 will be a month of public out-cry
and resistance to displacement across Boston, including several marches and rallies
designed to fight “displacement for profit.” The first action tooks place on Wednesday, September 6th in East Boston in support of families residing at 298-300 Meridian Street where a 14-unit building faces building-wide eviction.
Residents of East Boston, Chelsea, Revere, Jamaica Plain, and other Boston neighborhoods will gather at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church at 28 Paris
Street at 6:30pm for a candlelight procession to the site of the clear-out.
The Meridian Street building is operated by a constellation of real estate corporations
including the Mayo Group, Advanced Property Management (APM) and MG2. These
corporations have recently purchased many properties in East Boston. Steve Meacham,
Coordinator of Organizing for City Life/Vida Urbana says, “Like many other investors,
they plan to make a lot of money by evicting working-class Latino residents ‘no fault’
and replacing them with higher-income people.”
“This is not only immoral, it’s a violation of fair housing,” declared Lisa Owens, City Life/Vida Urbana’s Exe-cutive Director. City Life/Vida Urbana is also supporting other families living in this real estate constellation’s Hyde Park and Mattapan properties. “Residents of 30 and 40 years are getting $500 rent increases followed by no-fault eviction notices,” explained Ronel Remy, another City Life/Vida Urbana organizer. “But those residents have organized a tenant association and are seeking negotiations.”
Residents of Mayo Group, APM and MG2 buildings all over Boston and beyond make a large demonstration on the morning of Saturday, September 16th, as part of a national Renter Week of Action coordinated by the national Right to The City Alliance. The September 16th event gathered at 10am at Back Bay T station in Boston and involves a march and rally to the home office of a corporate landlord notorious for rent-hiking and evicting Boston tenants. There will be events in 50 cities across the country during the week of September 18th.
Mayo, APM and MG2 tenants are not the only ones organizing and planning rallies.
Another tenant association has recently formed at 76 Walnut Park, a 45-unit building
near Franklin Park owned by George Scott Dabney of Alliance Realty. One elderly,
disabled woman has lived in the building for 43 years and penned a public letter to
Dabney after he issued her multiple steep rent increases in a short timeframe. “[Your
latest rent increase] would push me out of my home…the pattern is that long–time
residents of color are being forced out of the neighborhood. I don’t think that’s right,”
she wrote. Danny’s tenants have organized a protest for Saturday, September 9th, at
noon at the corner of Walnut Park and Walnut Avenue in Roxbury. They are protesting
large increases and seeking negotiations with Alliance Realty.
Note: Tenants on Homstead Street in Roxbury, School Street in Jamaica Plain
(Egleston Square), and Shirley Avenue in Revere are all planning protests supported by
City Life/Vida Urbana slated to take place this month. Look out for future press advisories on these events.
City Life/Vida Urbana
284 Amory St., 1st floor
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
office: 617 934-5006
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