REDI Housing Crisis Town Hall
REDI Housing Crisis Town Hall Draws Over 500 Community Members, Mayor and City Council
On Thursday March 12th, over 500 Richmond community members packed St. Mark's Church for a town hall addressing the housing crisis in Richmond. The goals of the evening were to gain elected officials' support for REDI's long-term housing platform, to STOP ALL PREVENTABLE FORECLOSURES, and to PUT RICHMOND RESIDENTS BACK TO WORK REBUILDING RICHMOND.
Families in foreclosure, renters, and concerned community members filled the sacturary's pews, facing Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, City Council Members Ritterman, Lopez and Viramontes and representatives of County Supervisor John Gioia, Assembly member Nancy Skinner, and State Senators Loni Hancock and Mark Desaulnier. Notably absent were the banks responsible for the majority of the over 2000 foreclosures in Richmond: Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and JP Morgan Chase. While all three were invited, and have collectively received $95 billion in government bailout money, not one sent a representative.
REDI partner organizations, representing thousands of Richmond families, pulled together to create this powerful event. The California Center for Innovation presented "Transforming the Housing Crisis in Richmond," a report detailing the magnitude of the crisis and startling findings about foreclosures in Richmond. Maps illustrating the more than 2000 foreclosed properties in Richmond's neighborhoods were shown, as was data reflecting discriminatory patterns in mortgage lending to Latino and African-American borrowers of all income levels.
Emotional testimony from homeowners suffering from foreclosures put real a human face on the tragedy of this crisis. With images of abandoned and blighted properties streaming behind them, REDI leaders faced the elected officials and demanded action. Detailing REDI's comprehensive housing platform, our leaders pressed the officials to endorse our proposed actions by signing an over-sized version of our housing platform. As each official signed onto the platform, the church erupted in cheers. In the end, a majority of the city counsel signed our platform.