Anti-foreclosure activists ‘swamped’ as court cases resolve

The 2008 financial crisis led to a rise in foreclosures, a disturbing trend that in turn led to the formation of a number of groups aiming to help the wave of homeowners who they say were tricked into illegal mortgages. And the groups, including the local Worcester Anti-Foreclosure Team, were successful, managing to tie up banks in court for years.

Now, many of the court cases that started years ago are reaching a climax at the same time, creating an unprecedented demand for WAFT’s services.

“A lot of those court cases that began a while ago are getting resolved now,” Grace Ross, a WAFT member who is also a coordinator for the Massachusetts Alliance Against Predatory Lending, said. “That’s why you’ve seen us do a few blockades so close together.”

Ross and a couple dozen WAFT volunteers enacted their most recent blockade at 16 Chalmers Rd., a $170,000 home near Newton Hill. The group held signs and waited on the front stoop for constables to come by to try to evict Lori Cairns, a WAFT member who is a tenant of the Astleys, an elderly couple who were in Florida for medical treatment on the day of the scheduled eviction. The blockade followed another successful effort in July.

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