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Housing group hits fundraiser goal 

Elizabeth McGriff is one big step closer to buying back her Cedarwood Terrace house from the bank that foreclosed on it. And City Roots Community Land Trust is crucially close to a step that'll advance its work in affordable housing.

City Roots started a fundraising campaign to help McGriff with her purchase, and the morning after Christmas the group hit its $15,000 goal. On its fundraiser page, the group said details are coming about how McGriff's home will be secured. And in an e-mail thanking supporters and donors, it issued a call for additional contributions so it can continue its broader work.

"The city of Rochester needs to join in, and commit to growth from the ground up, rather than trickle-down, tax breaks to the wealthy," says the e-mail from City Roots. "Let's give our communities back their voices."

McGriff agreed to transfer her land to the trust once she buys back her property from the bank, though she'll retain ownership of the house. Trusts in other cities often retain some right to buy back houses if owners decide to sell. City Roots, which is run by a board of community members, sees the arrangement as a way help keep residents from being priced out of their neighborhoods.

The mortgage owner, MidFirst Bank, has offered to sell McGriff the house. Initially it wanted more than she owed on the loan, but it came back with a lower price, which she agreed to.

McGriff first fell behind on her mortgage payments when she lost her job with the US Postal Service. She's spent roughly five years fighting her foreclosure and resisting several eviction notices. Take Back the Land, a housing activism group that played a key role in forming City Roots, protested the scheduled evictions and formed blockades to prevent them.

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