2016/2017 Citigroup Community Redevelopment Grants
A 2014 settlement on mortgage-related litigation between the US Department of Justice and Citigroup provided that ten Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Account programs nationwide receive funds to support foreclosure prevention legal assistance and community redevelopment. As one of the selected recipients, the MA IOLTA Committee received $1.5 million, which will be distributed by the three charities responsible for granting IOLTA funds in Massachusetts: the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation, the Boston Bar Foundation, and the Massachusetts Bar Foundation.
The MA IOLTA Committee has announced that MLAC directed its share of these funds to the HomeCorps Foreclosure Legal Assistance Program. The BBF granted its funds to the Lawyers Clearinghouse for Affordable Housing and Homelessness. The MBF distributed its allocation by means of a competitive grant process in which current MBF IOLTA grant recipients were invited participate.
Grants were awarded to the following recipients:
Dismas House of Central Massachusetts
Housing Stabilization Initiative, $75,000
To increase resources available to promote housing stabilization in Worcester, which has the region’s the highest rates of foreclosure and poverty, as well as the lowest rate of home-ownership. This is a multi-faceted partnership initiative with the Oak Hill CDC, Home Ownership Center, and the Worcester Green Low-Income Housing Coalition.
Greater Boston Legal Services
Stabilizing Communities Project, $120,000
To provide advocacy and representation to make it possible for some of the approximately 1,200 properties owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the Boston area to be reclaimed as permanently affordable housing by either former homeowners or nonprofits. The project will seek policy changes to eliminate the current barriers to reclamation. This is a partnership project with City Life/Vida Urbana, Coalition for Occupied Homes in Foreclosure, and the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau.
MetroWest Legal Services
MetroWest Consumer Enterprise Project, $77,700
To provide legal education and representation to small business entrepreneurs in the MetroWest region in collaboration with the South Middlesex Opportunity Council's “SMOC Financial Services Program.” Areas of legal representation will include incorporation, intellectual property rights, leases, contracts, corporate governance, and financial issues.
Northeast Legal Aid
Community Redevelopment and Entrepreneurship Program, $90,000
To assist low-income people to open small businesses by providing a broad range of transaction/business law services, as well as bilingual community education programs. Funds will be used to expand the program from the two cities where it currently operates (Lynn and Lawrence) to the entire northeast region of Massachusetts.