By KIMBERLEY HAAS
Protesters who claim BlueHub Capital has a predatory program that has fleeced distressed homeowners rallied in Boston on Tuesday morning.
The Stabilizing Urban Neighborhoods program hit the spotlight in February of 2020, when a group of 14 homeowners filed a class-action lawsuit in Massachusetts Superior Court. WGBH reported at the time that the plaintiffs alleged they were the victims of predatory lending practices while facing foreclosure or hardship.
BlueHub Capital leaders responded at the time by saying the SUN initiative had successfully helped more than 1,100 families facing foreclosure and eviction.
“SUN has reduced borrowers’ collective outstanding mortgage principal by about $68 million and their monthly mortgage payments by nearly $42 million,” company leaders stated. “Almost all of our borrowers repay their SUN loans on time and in full. Reducing foreclosures also contributes to the neighborhood stabilization that we designed SUN to accomplish. A few borrowers have taken a different view. They argue that they are entitled to more. We disagree.”
On Tuesday, protesters held up signs and banners which said “Stop the scam” and “You’re not going to steal our legacies!”
Other signs bore images of a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
They chanted “Stop the steal.”
Protest organizer Nardella Thomas says she is a victim of BlueHub.
“I came to them looking for assistance in keeping my home. Instead of a hand-up, we are handcuffed to an oppressive mortgage for their profit,” Thomas said.
Thomas said BlueHub is supposed to be a 501(c)3 non-profit but they make an obscene amount of profit – millions of dollars each year – while leaving homeowners in an even more desperate situation than they were in before.
NACA Founder and CEO Bruce Marks had predicted the consequences of BlueHub’s practices as far back as 2014, according to organizers.
The Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America is a HUD-approved nonprofit community advocacy and homeownership organization in the United States.
Marks referred to BlueHub CEO Elyse Cherry as “typical of a predatory lender or loan shark where they blame the homeowners as high-risk and unappreciative.”
Marks represented the homeowners who joined the lawsuit in 2020.
“This is a classic example of a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” Marks said in a statement released before Tuesday’s rally. “BlueHub claims to help homeowners in danger of foreclosure, but is openly predatory, taking tens of thousands of dollars from homeowners through a Shared Appreciation Mortgage scam. This destabilizes neighborhoods, destroys generational wealth, and shatters the lives of the people who thought BlueHub was coming to their rescue when it was really setting them up to be robbed of their home, their financial security, and their dignity.”
According to BlueHub Capital’s website, they have deployed billions of dollars nationality to build a better future for all.
“Every community needs affordable housing, good jobs, and quality healthcare and childcare – regardless of income level, race, or any other demographic that defines it,” the website says.
A press release issued in October of 2018 announced BlueHub Capital as the new name of Boston Community Capital.
Cherry said in a statement at the time that as Boston Community Capital they had been helping to build healthy communities where low-income people live and work.
“Our new name, BlueHub Capital, embraces our national reach and speaks to our innovation and financial expertise in serving the needs of low-income communities,” Cherry said.
A spokesperson said on June 16 that they are proud of their success in helping homeowners save their homes and avoid foreclosure and eviction. They said shared appreciation mortgages are widely used by government agencies and financial institutions.
They added that BlueHub fully discloses the terms of the shared appreciation mortgage to every homeowner on multiple occasions.
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