City Life receives justice award

The Salem Award Foundation announces that City Life/Vida Urbana, a Jamaica Plain housing rights organization, received the 20th annual Salem Award for Human Rights and Social Justice on May 11 at a ceremony in Salem.

City Life was recognized for helping to save the homes of those who have suffered mortgage abuses in the foreclosure crisis that began six years ago. Executive Director Curdina Hill accepted the award on behalf of the organization.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said, “The foreclosure crisis is at the root of the economic mess we find ourselves in. Addressing this crisis, and helping people stay in their homes, is the single most important task we face in returning to a healthy economy.”

For the past 39 years, City Life has focused on tenants’ rights, affordable housing, citizen empowerment and community leadership development. The bilingual organization brings a blend of citizen education, advocacy, activism and coalitions.

In Jamaica Plain, Dorchester, Mattapan, Roxbury and Hyde Park, the organization works with residents and their banks to get mortgages renegotiated and restructured, and the principal and interest payments lowered. It currently supports the cases of 1,000 homeowners and renters.

Regionally, City Life works with organizations in East Boston, Chelsea, Everett, Revere, Malden, Lynn, Brockton, Springfield, Worcester, the Merrimack Valley and Providence, R.I. that want to duplicate its model.

The Salem Award prize is $10,000. The Salem Award has been given each year since 1992 to keep alive the lessons of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 and to recognize individuals or organizations in contemporary society who speak out and take action to alleviate discrimination and promote tolerance. In addition to the award, the Foundation sponsors education programs on human rights and social justice.

From press materials.

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