City Life/Vida Urbana
City Life/Vida Urbana (CL/VU, clvu.org) (est. 1973) commonly known as "City Life," is a social justice group in Boston, Massachusetts. Since 2008 City Life has focused on preventing evictions of both former owners and renters resulting from a rise in foreclosures.
City Life has worked closely with Project No One Leaves, the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, and other groups in efforts to pressure banks holding foreclosed properties to resell the assets to community lender Boston Community Capital, which mortgages or rents them to the original occupants at the current deflated market rate.
City Life is not a law firm and cannot legally represent former tenants and owners.
City Life employs what it calls a "sword and shield" strategy, including acts of direct action such as sit-ins, protest marches, and blockades as well as the defensive use of the court system by its legal advocates. The City LIfe strategy is to expand pressure on foreclosing financial institutions adding group action with individualized casework.
Between 2007 and the middle of 2011, City Life helped organize more than 20 blockades to prevent evictions, most of which accomplished their object. The organization has also been instrumental in pushing Boston Community Capital to become more actively involved in the financing of distressed properties.
The group meets weekly, ending its sessions with organizers leading a chant: "What do we do when the banks attack?" to which the audience responds, "Stand up, fight back!"
- John Leland, "Finding in Foreclosure a Beginning, Not an End," New York Times, March 22, 2010.
- Daniel Fireside, "Renters in the Crosshairs," Dollars & Sense, March/April 2009.
- Sasha Abramsky, "The Boston Home Team: An Unlikely Grassroots Coalition is Fighting the City's Foreclosure Crisis One Property at a Time," The Nation, vol. 293, no. 1/2 (July 4/11, 2011), pp. 11-15.
- Daniel Fireside, "Dorchester Woman's Eviction Called Off," January 23, 2008.