Local residents gathered in Malden on Monday, September 19 to clean up an abandoned Clinton Street property – returning the collected yard waste and trash to its rightful owner, Bank of America. Neighbors launched the service project to rehab a local eyesore and raise awareness of the impact bank foreclosures have on area communities.
“It’s bad enough that Bank of America kicks families out of their homes every day. But once they’re done, they let houses like this one fall into disrepair,” said Gus Cooks, who lives near the Clinton Street property. “The big banks are trashing our neighborhoods and lowering property values, and it has to stop.”
Despite a $500 fine assessed by the City of Malden, the vacant, bank-owned foreclosure continued to be a neighborhood eyesore for months. Neighbors and friends took matters into their own hands, picking up refuse and cleaning up overgrown grass, weeds and trees for nearly two hours.
“This is just one of many vacant foreclosed homes in our community – trashed and overgrown with weeds,” said Claudia Thompson, a Malden homeowner and parent. “It’s time we held the banks accountable for their mess, and returned the trash to its rightful owner.”
Following the clean-up effort, more than a dozen bags of trash and yard waste were transported to the local Bank of America branch at 46 Pleasant Street. Branch management refused to accept their property, referring those gathered to a regional bank representative before calling local police. Calls to the New York-based representative, Ann Pace, were not returned.
“After all they’ve done to trash our neighborhoods, Bank of America wouldn’t even own up to their mess,” said Lisa Hines, who came from neighboring Everett to lend a hand. “They just referred us some person in New York and called in the police.”
Check out the video below to see highlights of the action: