Chelsea Citywide Tenants Association

CTA members participate in protest at the State House

The Chelsea Citywide Tenants Association (CTA) engages the community in campaigns to end foreclosures and predatory lending and to advocate for quality affordable housing.

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CTA began as a committee working to improve living conditions and leadership opportunities for residents living in low-income and public housing. Though CTA continues to focus on fostering leadership opportunities for those living in public housing, much of its work focuses on empowering families negatively affected by predatory and unfair lending practices.

Using education, direct action, and collective casework, CTA has accomplished the following:

  • Successfully prevented the eviction of hundreds of families in Chelsea since beginning our Bank Tenant campaign in 2008.
  • Maintain active membership in two statewide coalitions: Massachusetts Alliance Against Predatory Lending; and NEWROAD which consists of City Life/Vida Urbana, East Boston and Boston, Lynn United for Change, the Merrimack Valley Project, Springfield No One Leaves, Direct Action for Rights and Equality of Providence RI, and Worcester Anti-Foreclosure Team. These coalitions work together to coordinate strategy and tactics and provide support to each other in the fight for principle reduction and against post-foreclosure evictions.
  • Planned and participated in dozens of demonstrations and public actions with the NEW ROAD network to demand an end to foreclosures and eviction, including protests in New York, Washington D.C., and a 3,000+ protest in Boston.
  • Established a strong partnership with the City of Chelsea and The Neighborhood Developers to fix housing code violations and to identify properties that might be purchased to become permanent affordable housing.
  • Successfully completed 3 buy-backs of underwater or foreclosed homes in Chelsea to the original owner in 2011 and 2012.
  • And more!

I began to learn about the Collaborative […] and I found a wonderful and exciting world where all my feelings of discouragement, of neglect, of being excluded little by little left my life. It was wonderful to know that I have rights. I feel accepted. I felt sheltered and protected, but it’s more than that. I felt like a human being, a human being. That is the thing that you lose when you come to this country. Here you lose that sense of humanity. It was through the Collaborative that I reclaimed that feeling of humanity and not only for me for all my family. I thank God for finding [the CTA Community Organizers.]”

Suyapa Perez

In The News

  • Chelsea Record: Collaborative Celebrates Unveiling of Workers Rights Mural

    On May 31st, members of the Chelsea Collaborative, Chelsea city councilors, workers rights activists and Chelsea Community members gathered for the unveiling of the Chelsea Collaborative’s new workers rights mural. The mural creator, artist Nancy Guevara met with members of the Chelsea Latino Immigrant Committee an Environmental Chelsea Organizers a several times over the past few months to create the design for the mural. The mural is part of a statewide education campaign to bring more awareness to the worker’s rights violations that immigrant workers face throughout Massachusetts. Organizations like the Collaborative, have long been fighting issues of wage theft, especially in industries with a high level of subcontracting, where cleaning, construction and painting workers often see their wages and overtime stolen by predatory subcontractors.

  • HOUSE MEMBERS GET BEHIND BAKER'S HOUSING COURT EXPANSION BID

    STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, MARCH 9, 2016....A plan to expand the Massachusetts Housing Court system has the support of at least 49 House lawmakers, who signed on to a letter urging budget writers to include funding for the initiative. Gov. Charlie Baker's fiscal 2017 budget proposal appropriates $1 million in new funding for Housing Court expansion, and outside sections of the budget detail the restructuring of the court into six divisions that would serve all parts of the state. Under current law, the court has five divisions and does not have jurisdiction to hear cases from Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket counties or portions of Norfolk, Suffolk, and Middlesex counties. About one-third of the state's residents do not have access to the Housing Court under this setup, according to Rep. Chris Walsh, who delivered a letter signed by 48 other representatives to the House Ways and Means Committee asking its members to include the $1 million in their version of the budget. The letter says that the court, which hears cases including evictions, code enforcement, certain zoning appeals, small claims and civil actions, can help prevent homelessness and give municipalities the ability to "address serious housing and health code violations efficiently and effectively." "This is an investment that makes fiscal and policy sense," the letter reads. The $1 million for expansion of the Housing Court is separate from the court's $8.1 million budget, which Baker funded at the same level as in 2016.

  • Displaced Tenants at Broadway Glen Worry about Apt. Conditions

    Long before a flood inundated several floors of the Broadway Glen low-income high rise apartment building on Sept. 12, tenants said owners had allegedly sat on reoccurring problems that plagued the building, and tenants who are now displaced from the building are worried about what their apartments will look like when they return later this month. Police are still looking for a suspect who is pictured on surveillance video opening a Fire Department standpipe in the stairwell of the sixth floor, unleashing thousands of gallons of water on the residents below and causing more than $500,000 in damages. Yet, as the police continue their investigation, tenants who have been displaced have been on a mission of their own to get the attention of a landlord they say has been unresponsive and hasn’t answered their questions. “We heard the alarms go off, but we didn’t go out because the alarm goes off all the time,” said Jamie Vasquez, who has lived in the building for six years with her three young children. “We thought something was just wrong with the fire alarm again. Then I looked up and the water was coming out of the ceiling. I opened my door and water was everywhere. My closets were full of water. All of my kids’ clothes were ruined and had to be thrown away. We lost almost everything and we’ve been in a hotel every since. We were evacuating the building when we realized that a handicapped man was trapped inside. Nobody was here to help. The owners weren’t here. We went in and helped bring the handicapped man out. There wasn’t anyone else. I want some answers about all of this, but I don’t even get an apology. No one says they’re sorry.” Tenants are now dealing with what to do with October’s rent payments, and an attorney has been brought in by the Chelsea Collaborative to advise tenants about what to do with rent and damages.

  • Expansion of Housing Court touted at State House hearing

    A long parade of speakers testified generally favorably Wednesday (May 27) before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary on companion bills (H.1656 and S.901) that would expand the jurisdiction of the Housing Court statewide. The total cost of the proposal, which would involve hiring five judges, 10 to 15 housing specialists and other staff, has been estimated at $2.4 million. Advocates of the plan believe the expertise in the Housing Court allows for faster and better outcomes to landlord-tenant disputes than in the District Court, ultimately reducing homelessness. Fire official also backed the idea, saying that the Housing Court allows for code violations and potentially deadly safety hazards to be addressed more promptly.

  • Latino Homeowners Win Discrimination Case against Attorney Who Targeted Them for Scam Loan Modifications Legal representation by Greater Boston Legal Services and support of Chelsea Collaborative invaluable in achieving justice for victims

    BOSTON, MA (May 6, 2015)—Represented by Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS), seventeen Latino homeowners who paid money to an attorney for loan modifications they never received won a discrimination case at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) and were awarded compensatory and emotional distress damages of over $200,000. Attorney David Zak was found to have discriminated by specifically targeting Latinos for his services, believing them to be “stupid people” and “easy targets” who would pay him large sums of money upfront. In many cases, homeowners who paid money for loan modifications found themselves losing their homes to foreclosure instead. One person became homeless and had to live in his car, after paying Zak $8,000 for a loan modification. The Chelsea Collaborative, a community organization dedicated to improving the lives of people in the Chelsea community, began hearing complaints about Zak from people in the Latino community in 2010. The Chelsea Collaborative received over 65 complaints and referred people to GBLS. The work of the Chelsea Collaborative in supporting the victims of Zak’s discrimination was invaluable in GBLS’ ability to represent the Latino homeowners and achieve justice for the victims.

  • REVERE ATTORNEY ORDERED TO PAY MORE THAN $625,000 FOR UNFAIR AND DECEPTIVE FORECLOSURE RELIEF SERVICES

    avid Zak Targeted Homeowners with Deceptive Advertising and Charged Thousands in Illegal Advance Fees; Ordered to Cease Practices and Pay Civil Penalties and Consumer Restitution BOSTON – A Revere attorney and his two businesses have been ordered to pay more than $625,000 for targeting homeowners with deceptive advertisements and demanding thousands in illegal advance fees for mortgage modification and foreclosure relief services they failed to deliver, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today. “At a time when homeowners were struggling to afford their mortgages, this attorney abused his clients’ trust and deliberately exploited their financial circumstances by demanding exorbitant fees based on false promises, leaving these homeowners even more vulnerable,” AG Healey said. “This judgment puts an end to these deceptive and unfair practices and confirms that those who seek to capitalize on the foreclosure crisis will be held accountable.” The final judgment, issued by Suffolk Superior Court Judge Paul Wilson against David Zak and his businesses Zak Law Offices, P.C., and Loan Modification Group, Inc., finds defendants liable under the state’s Consumer Protection Act. The court found that the defendants preyed upon at-risk homeowners throughout Massachusetts who were facing the imminent loss of their homes, took unlawful advance fees based on deceptive guarantees that mortgage loans could be modified to prevent foreclosures.

Announcements

  • Chelsea Community Action Day: We reached 2,500 Chelsea residents!

    March 18 was Chelsea's Community Action Day, when more than 150 volunteers joined us throughout the day to connect with every corner of Chelsea and ensure our neighbors know their rights and know that we stand united in support of immigrants and refugees in Chelsea.

  • Now Hiring: Community Organizer

    The Chelsea Collaborative is looking to hire a full-time community organizer to work closely with the Director of Organizing in overseeing the City-wide Tenants Association (CTA). CTA works to prevent displacement, no-fault evictions, egregious rent hikes and fraudulent bank practices while striving to create healthy, safe and affordable housing for Chelsea residents.

  • Successful May 1st Rally and March Engaged Hundreds of Activists

    This year's Annual May 1st March and Rally brought out hundreds of residents and activists advocating for workers' and immigrants' rights and social justice. The march also featured musical accompaniment by two local bands: The Second Line Marching Band and Banda de la Paz. At the rally at Piers Park in East Boston, the crowd listening to speakers including a striking Verizon worker, the President of the Taxi Drivers Association, a Dunkin Donuts worker engaged in the Fight for $15, an affected restaurant worker and local activists advocating for the full rights of immigrants and workers.

  • Chelsea successfully defeats anti-immigrant legislation

    Chelsea organizes two buses full of residents and activists to fight against legislation that would negatively impact immigrant communities like Chelsea. The legislation was successfully defeated!

  • Citywide Tenants Association celebrates a big win with MCAD decision against David Zak

    CTA has been organizing around and involved in legal disputes against David Zak an attorney based in Revere, MA who used discriminatory practices to take thousands of dollars from immigrant homeowners in exchange for promises of loan modifications and foreclosure prevention. He never followed through with his promises of help and legal representation. CTA organized the affected homeowners and with the pro bono legal assistance of Greater Boston Legal Services, brought a case to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. The MCAD found Zak guilty of discriminating against 17 Latino homeowners by targeting them with predatory ads for modifying mortgages. He will pay $233,600 in restitution and fines to the victims. This was a significant victory for CTA, the Chelsea Collaborative and immigrant homeowners everywhere!

  • CTA & CLIC Retreat Jam Packed!

    Despite the cold, rainy weather, more than 50 Chelsea residents and members of the Chelsea Collaborative jam packed the organization's offices to actively participate in the Annual Planning Retreat carried out jointly by the Chelsea Latino Immigrant Committee and the Chelsea Citywide Tenants Association. The committee members evaluated the success and challenges in meeting last year's work plan and devised strategies for implementing even more aggressive and exciting work for 2015.