It’s been an exhilarating month at the Law Center. One of our clients, Jocelyn Foreman is now the first renter in California to purchase her home through the new state law SB 1079! When her home went up for auction last month, Wedgewood Inc. made the $600,000 winning bid to purchase. Wedgewood is the company synonymous with artificial housing scarcity thanks to the organizing efforts of Moms4Housing. Luckily, Jocelyn’s well on her way to raising the funds to match Wedgewood’s bid, which will ultimately allow her to own her home because of SB 1079.
What is SB 1079? A new CA state law that we helped create to prevent Wall Street firms, like Wedgewood, from creating artificial scarcities like they did in 2008, by buying thousands of homes and keeping them vacant. Sen. Nancy Skinner introduced SB 1079 last year to reduce pandemic profiteering resulting from foreclosure auctions. Before the law was passed, the Law Center bolstered it by adding a 45-day hold period in which tenants, potential owner-occupants, nonprofits, cooperatives, and others can purchase the property by either matching or exceeding the auction’s winning bid.
But how does a tenant find $600,000 in 45 days? In Jocelyn’s case, it was through fearless leadership, her team Jocelyn’s Corner, and assistance from an incredible team of allies and partners working with her to find the money. Her community fundraising campaign, grants from Fund for an Inclusive California at Common Counsel Foundation and Kataly Foundation, with the assistance of Northern California Land Trust and our volunteer attorney Daniel Rollingher helped her close the gap in time. The grant partners support land and housing stabilization initiatives that help to take housing out of the speculative market and back into community hands. Our Radical Real Estate Law School apprentices and staff attorneys have also been working non-stop these past few weeks to spread the word, recruit funders, and provide legal advice and information to ensure that Jocelyn Foreman’s SB 1079 rights are protected. Jocelyn’s home will soon be a community owned property!
But most tenants do not have this kind of support. That is why we need to fund SB 1079. California Community Land Trust Network is a coalition of more than 30 community land trusts throughout California, and they're fighting to fully fund the Home for Homeowners, Not Corporation Act.
We've signed on to their demand because we believe that homes are for communities, not corporations. We're demanding a minimum investment of $103.5 million to support the launch of SB 1079 by funding land trusts and allied groups to purchase homes that are in foreclosure.
Come stand in Jocelyn's Corner!
Jocelyn’s fundraising campaign is a huge success! But the fundraising isn’t over. $100,000 allows us to move forward with the SB 1079 purchase. Every dollar raised beyond that will be dedicated to making the home safe by allowing her to make important repairs. She can also have a lower mortgage payment, making her monthly housing costs more affordable. Once Jocelyn successfully takes stewardship of the house, she will have pioneered a pathway for thousands of Californian tenants who might be in a similar situation. Please consider supporting Jocelyn with a donation.