First in a two-part report chronicling several days in the lives of the Worcester Anti-Foreclosure Team, a nonprofit grassroots organization that advocates and provides support for residents facing eviction and tries to help those people stay in their homes while untangling the often complicated legality of their situations.
It is hot at the Pleasant Street Neighborhood Network Center this particular Wednesday evening amid the arid dog days of summer. An odd fan here and there decorates the room, with an open door onto the street serving as further means to fend off the heavy, humid air late September has left so abruptly behind.
Across the board are names of people who know well that feeling of being left behind. With them are corresponding dates, and a list of items to be covered during this regular meeting of the Worcester Anti-Foreclosure Team, with the agenda quickly moving along, almost as if anticipating something big. Then it comes:
“We’ve been offered to meet with Senator Warren.”
The announcement is made by Grace Ross, chairperson of WAFT’s steering committee, and coordinator and cofounder of Mass Alliance Against Predatory Lending [MAAPL], to which WAFT belongs with more than 70 organizations from unions, to individual lawyers, to the New England Area Council of the NAACP.
Together they are tackling the still-daunting number of foreclosure petitions issued in the state by helping residents find ways to stay in their homes while exhausting all remedies — many archaic, complicated, wrapped in red-tape or difficult to understand for non-English speakers — in the foreclosure process.
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