This week the City Council of Brockton has decided to commission a study the viability of the city using the power of eminent domain to seize the mortgages of residents who are struggling to pay off their loans.
The plan in question would use the towns power of municipality through the evocation eminent domain to take possestion of forclosed bank notes and sell them back to the residents. The City Council stated the main reason for this proposal was "for the purpose of removing blight and restoring family home-ownership within the city."
Steve Meachum, a local organizer with the non-profit advocacy group City Life/Vida Urbana said, adding that such "social good is something the banks should have been doing in the first place anyway." City Life provides shelter and aid for families who's homes are being foreclosed upon, and have been very active in the fight against predatory lending. City Life and the Occupy movement have been making political strides to bring light to the crisis in Massachusetts and create solutions for it.
Not everyone is for the proposal. A number of financial institutions as well as American Securitization Forum said, “The proposal, as a policy matter, would be short-sighted and ultimately counterproductive for the residents of municipalities where it may be considered, including Brockton,” the association said in a letter to the City Council last month. The group also cited that the implementation of eminent domain could lead to a complete shut down of any mortgage credit to the city of Brockton, or the state of Massachusetts.
Despite the criticism, many activists say they have productive meetings with financiers and town lawmakers regarding implimenting the possible solution,
“There’s a tradition in New England of some robust municipal activism,” Meacham, the community organizer, said. He added that the threat by major banks to nuke the local mortgage market if the city moves forward with the plan should be no cause for concern. “If the major banks did pull out and all the refinancing went to the small banks, that would not be a bad thing," he said.
The city of Brockton's latest move is in tandem with the economic struggles going on all around the country, and the grassroots efforts of City Life/Urbana and the Occupy movement are just another strike against "woefully inadequate" solutions brought forth on the state and national level.
The city of Brockton will begin to look in to the proposal later this week.