In a meeting that was part lunch meeting, part rallying cry for help, hope and understanding, the Northside Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) focused on its dual goals: foreclosure prevention and empowering residents to hold leaders accountable. “We need to go after the people who are making it (financially) unfair,” said Jerie Cuff, NCRC doorknocker and cheerleader.
The Northside Community Reinvestment Coalition is an organization of ethnic, religious and community citizens who are dedicated to helping people who have been foreclosed on keep their homes. (See Looking for ways to fight foreclosure in North Minneapolis.) They work directly with the banks to amend loan agreements or modify them in a way that allows people to stay in their homes and the bank to get what it needs.
A large part of what NCRC does involves reaching families in need and directing them to financial counseling. State law requires that banks provide lists of delinquent borrowers who are about to go into foreclosure to regional housing organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Community Action Partnership of Suburban Hennepin (CAPSH) and Saint Paul Department of Planning & Economic Development (PED). NCRC obtains these lists and maps them out with the help of the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) at the University of Minnesota and their Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping.
The NCRC invited a wide array of community leaders to the December 15 meeting. The primary purpose for the meeting was to introduce NCRC, gain allies and potentially create synthesis between what they and the other organizations are accomplishing.
Four members of the organization: Velva Stewart, chairwoman of NCRC, community organizers Tyshelle Cotton and David Snyder (of Jewish Community Action), and Cuff all took turns speaking about what their organization is trying to accomplish in the short and long term and how they are reaching the people they are helping.
Velva Stewart discussed her twenty-year fight to keep her home and cited the concept of fighting financial inequality with education as motivation to work with the NCRC.
“When they (the bank and city) decided they wanted to rezone my house they tried everything they could to get me out of my home,” said Stewart.
The NCRC will continue to knock on doors, and to hold meetings and round table discussions to raise awareness and gather support for their cause. Their plans include building a website to be an additional resource in their ongoing fight to keep people in their homes.