California has suffered approximately 1.2 million bank foreclosures since 2008. In the low and moderate income communities where our members live, homeownership has been the way in which families have managed to build up some equity and savings and create stability and opportunity for the next generation. This hard-earned wealth continues to be ripped away, and outside speculators are buying up foreclosed homes in bulk and renting them out and/or flipping them for a profit. African American and Latino families have been particularly hard-hit, both because of racist targeting by predatory lenders and because a higher percentage of their accumulated wealth has tended to be in their homes.
ACCE has been advancing multiple strategies to save homes and restore community wealth.
- Day in and day out, ACCE defends the homes of individual members, with a range of tactics to pressure banks. This on-the-ground work has led to more than 550 families keeping their homes and reducing collective mortgage principal by more than $18.2 million.
- In 2013, the work of ACCE in Richmond, CA captured the attention of the nation, as we launched a campaign with the Mayor to stand up to Wall St and use eminent domain to acquire troubled mortgages the investors have been unwilling to fix. The program will modify bad loans with principal reduction and turn them into sustainable mortgages for the current homeowners.
- This work to expose the banks’ abusive and often fraudulent, behavior has paved the way for more sweeping reforms, like the multi-state attorneys general settlement in 2011 and the passage of the Homeowner Bill of Rights in 2012. These legal and legislative reforms have saved tens of thousands of homes from foreclosure.
- In cities across the state ACCE is working with tenants to preserve affordable rents and tackle slum housing conditions. In Oakland, tenants are organizing to hold accountable one of the major speculators who bought-up hundreds of foreclosed properties.