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Issues & Victories

Housing



Durham CAN Wins Commitments from Housing Authority and County Commissioners to Build Affordable Housing in Downtown Durham


Durham CAN packs St. Philip's fellowship hall
 
175 Durham CAN leaders packed a church to declare an affordable housing crisis in Durham and  secured public commitments from the CEO of Durham Housing Authority and the five Durham County Commissioners in support of the construction of affordable housing at two publicly owned lots in exclusive downtown Durham. It is expected that the new development will yield over 200 affordable rental units.
 

All 5 County Commissioners attend and make commitments to support Durham CAN's proposal for affordable housing.
 
 

Angel Vick Lewis and Susan Dunlap, Leaders at the action ready to share their stories.
 
 



After 10 Years of Fighting to Redevelop Parkway Overlook, WIN Declares Victory as the City Breaks Ground on 220 Units of Affordable Housing


WIN Leaders Rufaro Jenkins and Cynthia Eaglin at the Parkway Overlook Groundbreaking | Photo by David Choy
 
On March 26th, WIN leaders in Washington, DC celebrated a victory 10 years in the making. The city broke ground on the redevelopment of 220 units of affordable housing in DC’s ward 8. Since the building was closed down by HUD in 2008 due to its crumbling conditions, it has been one of DC's largest “abandominiums.” Multiple streets in ward 8 have gone ghostly uninhabited. The Parkway Overlook Tenant Association and three WIN member congregations - Brighter Day UMC, National UMC, and New Life Ministries - have been vigorously organizing to get Parkway Overlook renovated and reopened. 
 
After raising the issue with three different Mayoral administrations, holding prayer vigils and countless tenant meetings, in 2017 Mayor Bowser and the DC Housing Production Trust Fund committed $20.1 million to redevelop 220-units of affordable housing at Parkway Overlook! DCHFA issued over $38 million in bond financing for the project, and roughly $29.6 million in equity was raised through 4% low income housing tax credits (LIHTCs).
 
The $82.2 million rehabilitation of the complex will be for households making up to 50% of the area median income (AMI) or about $55,150 for a family of four. Tenants who were displaced when the building was closed will have the first right to return.  Eleven units will be for households at or below $33,090 (30 percent of AMI) and will be set-aside as permanent supportive housing. In addition to consistently pushing for funding and a development that would be affordable for many different incomes, tenants pressed vigorously to sustain the number of family sized units in this property. Additionally, the complex will feature rooftop and ground-mounted solar panels generating enough electricity to power 30% of the property’s energy consumption.
 
 

WIN leaders, organizers, and former tenants at the Parkway Overlook Groundbreaking | Photo by David Choy
 
 



At the Urging of Metro IAF NY, NYC City Council Budgets $500 Million for Senior Housing and $1.95 Billion in Capital Improvements for NYCHA, Fight Continues for Affordable Housing in New York


Metro IAF NY Leader Rev. David K. Brawley speaks to 6,000 leaders at City Hall in Oct. 2017 | Photo Credit: Mark Clennon
 
Following a 6,000 person action at City Hall last October 2017, Metro IAF NY affiliates continue the fight for much needed affordable housing and clean living conditions for NYC residents. 
 
Metro IAF NY has continued to shine a light on the decrepit living conditions NYCHA residents must face every day and affiliate organizations are getting results. NYCHA Chair Shola Olatoye resigned on Tuesday, April 10th.  At Metro IAF NY’s urging, Speaker Corey Johnson and the city council included $500 million for new senior housing on NYCHA land, and $1.95 billion for capital improvements (roofs, elevators, heating systems) in NYCHA in their budget response on April 10th.  During the week of April 2nd Metro IAF NY strengthened a court-supervised settlement agreement that will force NYCHA to properly remediate mold and moisture.  This follows Metro IAF NY’s rally in the rain at City Hall last October, when the mayor immediately added $137 million in additional rental subsidies to help more working class New Yorkers. 
 
Power concedes nothing without demand. 
 
The mayor is opposed to Metro IAF NY’s plan to create quality housing for 15,000 seniors, free up space for 50,000 New Yorkers to move into NYCHA, and make public housing a dignified place to live again.  He will urge Corey Johnson and the council to drop the money for senior housing and NYCHA during budget negotiations. Metro IAF is fighting for not just a more aggressive housing plan but, more importantly, for recognition and respect.  
 
Metro IAF NY will be taking action again at City Hall at 1:00 pm, Tuesday, April 24th. Four hundred leaders will rally on the steps of City Hall with council members, which will hopefully include Corey Johnson too. The mayor will be invited as well.



UrbanMatters Moves 100 Units of Affordable Housing through Zoning - Providence Place


A sketch of what Providence Place will look like in Washington, DC

UrbanMatters, an affordable housing developer established in part by Washington Interfaith Network (WIN), is celebrating forward movement on a 100-unit housing development in Ward 7 of Washington, DC. Providence Place, which will be built on land of the Progressive National Baptist Convention Headquarters, received zoning approval from the DC Zoning Commission and finalized a Community Benefits Agreement. The project is expected to break ground by November of 2018.



Candidates for NY City Council Speaker Commit to Supporting Metro IAF NY Affordable Senior Housing Plan


Metro IAF NY hosts forum on affordable senior housing
 
Making progress in the fight for affordable senior housing in New York City, Metro IAF New York received commitments on affordable housing from four candidates for the speaker of the New York City Council. A forum on affordable housing was hosted by Metro IAF NY and held at Saint Paul Community Baptist Church, where over 1,000 leaders came out to hold the candidates accountable. All candidates who attended committed to working with Metro IAF NY on its collective plan to build 15,000 units of affordable senior housing.
 
These candidate commitments follow an action held on October 9th, where 6,000 Metro IAF New Yorkers, from NYCHA residents to senior citizens, church congregants and more, rallied in the pouring rain, and packed the sidewalks at City Hall in demand of decent, affordable housing for their communities. Metro IAF NY has demanded the City build the 15,000 units on NYCHA-owned vacant lots across New York City to free up space for younger families in need of housing.



Durham CAN Wins Big: All Mayoral and City Council Candidates Pledge to Support Affordable Housing and Jobs


Durham CAN and tenants fight for basic repairs to bring houses up to code

On October 26th, all Mayoral and City Council candidates pledged before 612 Durham CAN leaders to support building and preservation of affordable housing, as well as jobs for youth and returning citizens. 

All candidates pledged to invest, if elected, $2 million dollars on basic repairs to 54 properties which will now be affordable in perpetuity. During the public meeting CAN leaders also celebrated the future use of two publicly owned parcels of land (two and nineteen acres respectively) for the construction of hundreds of affordable housing units near a future transit development.


Durham CAN will work on affordable housing and jobs for youth and returning citizens



UrbanMatters Completes Preservation Project in DC

The renovation of Brightwood Communities (Valencia, Vizcaya, and Concord Apartments) is complete. UrbanMatters, the development company WIN co-founded, The Hampstead Group and LEDC partnered with the Brightwood Tenants’ Association to exercise their TOPA rights to preserve these units as affordable and upgrade them. The $24.9M project did substantial rehabilitation on the existing 130 apartments and included building an additional 10 units in the basements, as well as a new community room, computer room, management office and outdoor patio space. There will be on-site supportive services, including after school tutoring, financial literacy courses, and health and wellness training. The project received funding from DC Government and private lending institutions.



WIN Hits Milestone in Getting 150 Units of Housing on Public Land

Washington Interfaith Network in DC is celebrating the selection of a developer to build 150 units of affordable housing at 1125 Spring Road NW/Old Hebrew Home. WIN has been involved in the fight to redevelop this public land as needed affordable housing since 2009. The work is not done; WIN will organize neighbors to speak in support during upcoming zoning hearings and push for the city subsidy the project requires. Read more about the organizing leading up to the selection in the Washington City Paper here.



AIM Celebrates Victory in Tackling Toxic Mold, Replacement of 4,100 Apartment Windows Begins

Northwest Park Residents and AIM Organizer, Katie Ashmore, celebrate installment of new windows

After two years of fighting for better living conditions, residents of the Northwest Park apartment complex in Silver Spring celebrated the beginning of the replacement of 4,100 windows in the 75-building complex. Action in Montgomery and the property’s mostly immigrant tenants won a $2 million agreement with property management to replace the windows due to toxic mold issues that have caused asthma in some of the tenants’ children. The project will take four years to complete.



Lake County United Wins 19 Acres to Build Affordable Housing

LCU leaders gather to evaluate after the Warren Township meeting

On July 10th Lake County United leaders turned out and voted at the Warren Township Special meeting in favor of the Township selling 19 acres of vacant land, which allows Lake County United to pursue a plan to build 150 units of affordable housing.



Durham CAN Delivers Big on Affordable Housing

At the public demand of Durham CAN, the Durham City Council on Monday night awarded a $4 million grant that will allow the Durham Housing Authority to purchase Fayette Place, twenty acres of vacant and blighted land also known as Fayetteville Street Housing Project. The Housing Authority, and Campus Apartments, a Philadelphia based for-profit company which currently owns the land, have agreed to close on the deal no later than June 16th.

Since 2009, the land has remained vacant of everything but the foundations of a former public housing complex. Through careful research, CAN leaders uncovered and made public that the Durham Housing Authority had the option to buy back the land by August 6, 2017, given that contract conditions hadn't been met. Weeks after a 250-person press conference organized by Durham CAN at the site, the Durham Housing Authority declared Campus Apartments in default of the contract, beginning the process of reacquiring the land. During the most recent action attended by 560 people in April, CAN leaders secured commitments from Durham City officials to finance the purchase.



The Anti-Violence Strategy That Will Work

Rafi Peterson, Southwest Organizing Project
Dennis Ryan, Southwest Organizing Project
Nick Brunick, United Power for Action and Justice

As bullets fly and bodies drop in our city, there is much talk about how to curb the casualty count and reclaim our streets and communities.

While many decent people and groups are trying a wide range of approaches, we know of only one sure way to stop the mayhem.  Thursday evening, May 25th, we celebrated that solution, on the southwest side of the city, not far from the shooting galleries that several nearby neighborhoods have become.

It might surprise people to learn that the solution is not another city program, or social service expansion, or therapeutic response.  These services are needed but not sufficient.  We respect those who propose and implement these responses.  But our neighborhoods are laced with multiple programs and agencies.  Yet the guns keep blazing, and the young keep dying.

Thursday evening, leaders from United Power for Action and Justice and its southwest side affiliate, the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) celebrated the completion of the first phase of an effort to rebuild the southwest side and the start of the second phase.   After several years, during which a hundred units have been renovated, we have seen striking results.  Crime is down 50%.  The two local schools in the immediate area, Morrill and Fairfield, have improved their performance -- rising from low Level 3 CPS rankings to Level 2 and Level 2+.  The school just south of the area, Marquette, has gone from Level 3 to Level 1+.  Local private contractors have followed our lead and bought and renovated other buildings in the area.

In other words, this portion of the southwest side is approaching a state of normalcy -- is being made whole.  The naysayers will say that this proves nothing, but they would be wrong.  Thirty years ago, in a community more devastated and more violent than the southwest side, community and religious leaders came together, raised funds, and began rebuilding an entire neighborhood of 300,000 souls.  The group was called East Brooklyn Congregations, the sister organization of the IAF affiliate in Cook County, United Power for Action and Justice.  Since then, EBC has built more than 4,000 homes and 2,000 apartments.  It has spearheaded the complete reconstruction of a community as hard-pressed as Englewood or the Back of the Yards.  The murder rate has fallen from a city wide high of 2,250 to a modern low of 350 -- an astonishing drop that continues.  New school campuses have been built, not closed.  New families have flooded in, not flooded out.  All the buyers and renters have been working class African Americans and Hispanics, many who lived in or near the area, not gentrifiers.

In other words, an area as large as the entire south or west sides of Chicago has been returned to a state of normalcy.  An incoming New York police chief, Ben Ward, was once asked what was the most effective crime-prevention strategy of the NYPD.  He said: "That's easy;  the Nehemiah homes."

Rebuilding and renovating every single home and building, block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood, is the way to stop the violence in Chicago.

On a practical level, it removes the space that criminals can use to stash drugs, lie in wait on their enemies, or hide from police.

It conveys to all existing neighbors that there is hope -- that the area is moving up, not down.  And it retains those working families that we need to make our city thrive.

It communicates to the police and other public servants that these neighborhoods are not lost causes, that they deserve to be protected and preserved, that the risks they take in doing so have purpose.

It creates blue collar jobs in the construction and renovation work and more blue collar jobs later -- shop keepers for stores for new residents, lawn service workers for those who need that service, locksmiths and others who help secure the new homes and buildings.

It delivers what every person in our fair city deserves – safe streets, an affordable home, and decent schools.

We know that this approach -- long term, deliberate, led by the parents and seniors and youth of local congregations and schools, grinding out gain after gain after gain, without the benefit of a long touchdown pass -- is not attractive to those who seek (or claim) a quick fix and magic solution.

But this is the way to rebuild Chicago.  The only impediment is private sector support to speed the work up and start on the west side as we continue to turn the southwest side around.

Read more about it here:

https://www.wbez.org/shows/wbez-updates/southwest-side-group-sees-neighborhood-reversal/0705199d-2123-4476-8b5b-7fb03378078d

http://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2017/05/26/community-initiative-reclaim-southwest-chicago-expands



UrbanMatters to Build 100 Units of Affordable Housing in DC

WIN is very excited about an upcoming development by UrbanMatters Development Partners L.L.C., WIN's affiliated housing development company. UrbanMatters collaborated with Progressive National Baptist Convention, and Atlantic | Pacific Companies to help plan and propose more needed affordable housing in DC. When completed, the project located at Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue, will provide 100 units of housing for those earning up to 60% of the median area income, and pave the way for continued redevelopment of the area.

http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/100_affordable_apartments_on_nannie_helen_burroughs/12442



Washington Interfaith Network: Victory in Fight for Short Term Family Housing

WIN leaders packed local community meetings and a board of zoning hearing winning approval for the construction of 3 “short term housing” facilities (a more dignified term than family shelter).  On Wednesday April 5th, the DC Board of Zoning Adjustment unanimously voted to approve the zoning variances and exceptions for the construction of short term family housing in wards 3 and 5! This vote is a major milestone in the effort to close the dilapidated DC General Family Shelter, and helps the city to more equally share the responsibility for caring for the most vulnerable among us. With this vote, zoning has been approved in all six facilities going under construction, and the next step forward is breaking ground!



Lake County United Celebrates Completion of Fairhaven Crossing

Lake County United identified the land, secured the site, established a development team, and built the community support for a 40-unit affordable housing complex in Mundelein, IL. Over 300 Lake County United leaders gathered to celebrate the opening of Fairhaven Crossing, which will give everyone, including residents with disabilities, the opportunity to live as independently as possible.  The unit includes a community center and computer room.

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In the News


In NYC, Leaders Continue the Fight for Affordable Housing Solutions, Increasing Number of Council Members Agree to Support Metro IAF NY’s Housing Plan

Monday, May 21, 2018
Metro IAF NYC

Metro IAF NY Leaders Rally at City Hall in New York City to Fight for Affordable Housing
 
On May 17th more than 150 East Brooklyn Congregations & Metro I.A.F. leaders endured sweltering heat to remind the mayor that they are not giving up until they make New York City affordable and just for everyone. Leaders were joined by Council members Alicka Ampry-Samuel, Laurie Combo, Jumaane Williams, Adrienne Adams, Rafael Salamanca & Barry Grodenchik. They each gave Metro IAF NY tremendous recognition for their track record, history of action, and plan to solve the crisis.  
 
Metro IAF NY is demanding a deal to build 15,000 units of senior housing, repair NYCHA from top to bottom, bring justice to slumlords, and use city money for rents residents can afford. And they are getting a reaction: Mayor de Blasio has been desperately calling council members urging them to back off; and Speaker Corey Johnson finally reached out and asked to work together again.  
 
The rally followed 8 days of action with 5 other press conferences involving a total of 418 leaders. These council-led tours of NYCHA apartments and empty lots, which also included council members Rafael Espinal and Antonio Reynoso, received significant media coverage.  Please see most of the press coverage below.
 
So much of the political class is now running to catch up to Metro IAF NY’s leadership & solutions. De Blasio will soon, too. And, when he does, Metro IAF NY will have saved the soul of New York City. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
FULL PRESS COVERAGE –
 
Inspection tour of NYCHA continues as city council battles mayor for billions in city budget | WPIX 11 New York
 
Inquilinos de NYCHA exigen una pronta solución a los problemas que sufren sus viviendas - Univision
 
Fund Fair Fares, senior housing in city budget - Greenpoint Star
 
Bushwick residents, leaders rally for senior housing - Greenpoint Star
 
Father Edward Mason, Brooklyn Pastor - Greenpoint Star
 
Councilmember rips NYCHA conditions - The Bronx Free Press 
 
NYCHA tenants, councilman hold rally for more funding - Bronx News 12
 
How Monica is making it happen this week | WPIX 11 New York
 
NYCHA tenants, council members press mayor for better conditions - Brooklyn New 12
 
NYCHA tenants, officials rally for more senior housing options - News 12 Brooklyn 
 
Demandan mejoras para gente mayor en edificios de vivienda pública - Noticias 1
 
Concejales inspeccionan edificios de NYCHA - Telemundo 47
 
Condiciones deplorables en vivienda publica - Telemundo 47
 
布勒克倫公屋惹兒哮喘 母子被迫分居兩地 - Epoch Times
 
 
NYCHA residents will give city council members tours of their homes | WPIX 11 New York
 
NYCHA Tenants Demand More Money - CBS local news 
 
City Council member tours Canarsie NYCHA complex - Bronx News 12
 
Concejales de Nueva York realizan tour de inspección en viviendas públicas de NYCHA - Univision 41 Nueva York - Univision
 
City Council pols hear horror stories while visiting NYCHA housing in Brooklyn - NY Daily News
 
NYCHA residents give NYC Council members tour of living conditions in Brooklyn - ABC 7 New York 
 
NYCHA residents to give council members tour of properties - NY Post 
 
Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move May 7, 2018 - Kings County Politics 
 

5 DC Houses of Worship Sign Up to Receive Solar Panels and New Roofs

Thursday, April 26, 2018
Community Purchasing Alliance
Watch this short video on CPA’s Solar Panels and New Roofs Offering
 
 
 
Five DC houses of worship have signed contracts to go solar and have their old roofs replaced through a group purchase negotiated by the Community Purchasing Alliance (CPA), Metro IAF’s member-owned purchasing cooperative based in Washington, DC. The innovative deal helps churches, synagogues and other houses of worship who have old leaking roofs and cannot afford to repair or replace them. As part of CPA’s Sunroof Initiative, the organizations will have new roofs and solar panels installed at no upfront cost, and will pay deeply discounted rates for the electricity generated by solar.
 
“We’ve taken matters into our own hands,” said Reverend Brian Jackson of Randall Memorial United
Methodist Church. “No more buckets in our church catching water from our leaky roof.”
 
The houses of worship will receive a combined $500,000 in roof replacements paid for by the savings and solar incentives that are part of DC’s meaningful effort to shift toward renewable energy. “This is an incredible opportunity to help organizations doing some of the most critical work in our communities - feeding the hungry, providing shelter for those displaced by DC’s ever-rising cost of living, and providing space for afterschool programs for our children,” said Felipe Witchger, Executive Director of the Community Purchasing Alliance. 
 
Participating houses of worship include Capitol Hill United Methodist Church and Northeastern Presbyterian Church in Woodridge, Ohev Sholom and Tifereth Israel Congregation in Brightwood, and Randall Memorial United Methodist Church in Deanwood. At least five more churches throughout the city are expected to join CPA’s Sunroof Initiative over the next few months, with the new roofs and solar power systems likely installed by the end of 2018.
 

 


A Spotlight on Cynthia Stevenson-Eaglin, a WIN Leader Fighting for Community Safety and Affordable Housing in Washington, DC

Thursday, April 26, 2018
Washington Interfaith Network
Cynthia Stevenson-Eaglin is a lifelong resident of ward 8.  After being born and raised in Parkchester Housing Cooperative, and graduating from Ballou High School, she moved to Parkway Overlook in 1991.
 
Ms. Eaglin soon found a church home at A.P. Shaw United Methodist Church (now Brighter Day Ministries) just a few steps from Parkway Overlook. After struggling with drugs and alcohol in her earlier years she credits growing in Christ Jesus for helping her be a light in the community.
 
Ms. Eaglin got involved in the community. “My best memories are when we had Robinson Place Day. We would cookout and feed all of our children. I can remember feeling so safe that I would leave my door open and neighbors would drop in to visit. We had a real sense of pride in the community.”
 
Later, when the community got more dangerous Ms. Eaglin kept leading and fighting for Parkway Overlook. In the early 2000’s Parkway Overlook experienced murders and robberies that threatened the sense of safety and community. In particular, Mrs. Eaglin remembers when Dorine Fostion, a grandmother who was sitting in her living room on Robinson Place minding her own business in August 2005, was killed by a stray bullet that came through her window.  Ms. Eaglin who was working in the office of Parkway Overlook, helped implement security cameras.  She, a few neighbors, and congregation members also began walking the streets, singing and reading scriptures. “There were a couple of buildings in particular that had a lot of problems. I would walk around those to discourage problems. We reclaimed our community”. They worked with Police Seventh District, challenged the Washington Post to shine a light on the lives lost in their community, not just those in wealthier parts of the city, and even got the National Guard involved.
 
Ms. Eaglin remembers when Daniel and Farah from LEDC came to tell tenants that the buildings were closing down, but they had rights as residents and should exercise them.  She says, “I was nominated from the father above to do this work. I thank God for giving me this assignment to look after this community.”
 
Mrs. Eaglin is the Vice President of the Parkway Overlook East and West Tenant Association. She works for WMATA as a Metro Bus driver, is now a homeowner a few minutes away from Parkway Overlook, is happily married to Mr. Kevin Eaglin, and is still an active member of Brighter Day United Methodist Church – A.P. Shaw Campus.

Washington Interfaith Tenants & Faith Leaders Drive Progress on Development of 518 Units of Affordable Housing

Tuesday, December 26, 2017
Washington Interfaith Network

Site of the old Temple Courts homes is now a parking lot
 
Temple Courts, a 211 unit public housing building, was knocked down in December of 2008 by the District of Columbia, scattering over 200 families across DC, Maryland and Virginia, with the promise to tenants that the building would be rebuilt at a later date. Yet due to the national financial crisis that followed, that promise was never fulfilled and construction never began on replacing Temple Courts.  Today the lot where Temple Courts once stood is still vacant, and serves as a nine dollar a day parking lot instead of badly needed affordable housing. Washington Interfaith Network (WIN) leaders and former Temple Courts residents have been working steadily to organize for the redevelopment of the site, and for the selection of a developer that will shape the project around the needs of the residents it aims to serve. MRP Urban and CSG Urban have been selected by the City to redevelop Temple Courts after over a year-long selection process.
 
“This is a huge step forward. We’ve been waiting too long, almost ten years” said Nathan Brown, who grew up at Temple Courts and has been a leader in the recent organizing effort. “Every day that this project does not move forward is another day that former tenants are kept from returning to their homes” said Brown.  “WIN leaders will be there every step of the way. To see the project through zoning, to see that it is fully funded, to get a shovel in the ground, and to get former Temple Courts residents back into the neighborhood as soon as possible” said Randy Keesler, head of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church’s Social Justice Ministry which has helped spearhead the effort.  
 


Parking at $9/hour has replaced affordable homes

 


6,000 Strong: Metro IAF NY Demands Action from Mayor de Blasio to Fix NYCHA, Build 15,000 Senior Housing Units

Tuesday, October 24, 2017
Metro IAF NYC

In New York, Metro IAF Blazes a Trail in Fight for Affordable, Clean & Safe Housing

On Monday, October 9th, 6,000 Metro IAF New Yorkers, from NYCHA residents to senior citizens, church congregants and more, rallied in the pouring rain, packing the sidewalks at City Hall in demand of decent, affordable housing for their communities. For residents, Mayor de Blasio's pledge to make housing affordable has come too little, too late for the many who now find themselves being displaced at an alarming rate. Metro IAF leaders joined together to challenge the Mayor to support their own plan of prioritizing city rent subsidies for those residents making between $20,000 to $35,000 a year, building 15,000 senior housing units on vacant NYCHA land that would free up existing NYCHA units for younger families and rehabbing these same public housing developments from top to bottom. City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Letitia James, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries and several other elected leaders attended the rally in support of Metro IAF's plan.

METRO IAF NY’S DEMANDS:

Demand #1: Clean Up NYCHA Housing & Deplorable Living Conditions
Thousands of housing code violations, like suffocating mold and leaks, have been documented in NYCHA properties. Metro IAF NY demands $17 billion be spent to fix the decrepit conditions of NYCHA housing from top to bottom.
 
Demand #2: Build 15,000 Apartments for Seniors on Vacant NYCHA Land
Metro IAF NY looks to build 15,000 units of affordable senior housing on NYCHA-owned vacant lots across New York City. These new senior housing units can free up space for as many as 50,000 people to move into NYCHA and will be modeled after the Redwood Senior Living development in Brooklyn built by Metro IAF affiliate, East Brooklyn Congregations.
 
Demand #3: Reprioritize the Rent Subsidies
City rent subsidies should be reprioritized for those residents making between $20,000 to $35,000 a year.
 
Demand #4: Hold Landlords That Destabilize Neighborhoods Accountable
The Mayor, District Attorney and Police Commissioner should work more aggressively against those landlords who destabilize our neighborhoods with impunity and who do not worry about accountability. Today, a subset of landlords have a business model built on buying buildings with rent-stabilized rents and then waging a campaign of eviction, disrepair and even threats to get people out. Some will have to go to jail, and others will have to give up their property.
 

PRESS LINKS:


Old South Church and Greater Boston Interfaith Organization Leverage Adverse Effects of Nearby Business Development to Push for Affordable Housing Funding

Tuesday, October 24, 2017
Greater Boston Interfaith Organization


In reaction to GBIO’s demands, this political cartoon was created by
Banker & Tradesman, which represents business interests.

 

GBIO and Old South Church are pushing Boston Properties to pay $19 million in mitigation fees, with a majority of that money slated for affordable housing. In May, the Massachusetts Historic Commission ruled that Boston Properties’ planned $1 billion development would have adverse impacts on the historic Old South Church caused by new shadows from the developer’s building tower. GBIO and Old South are using this ruling as leverage to secure $4 million to support repairs for the church, and the remaining $15 million to initiate a citywide fund for affordable homeownership programs. As their congregants find themselves priced out of the city, Old South and GBIO look to developers to contribute to homeownership solutions. For now, GBIO has successfully stalled project approval through negotiations with Boston Properties. Stay tuned for developments.


In New York, Parishioners March On in Fight for Affordable Housing

Friday, September 22, 2017
Metro IAF NYC

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer walking with residents
NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer walking with residents 

Church was held in the streets on Sunday, September 17th as hundreds of parishioners from St. Thomas Episcopal and St. Barbara’s Catholic Church participated in two overlapping processions from their worship services. Parishioners marched to empty New York City housing land and got public commitments from NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer and Councilman Espinal to support EBC’s plan to build 15,000 new units of affordable senior housing. On October 9th, EBC and Metro IAF NYC will challenge Mayor de Blasio at City Hall during a 5,000 person action to launch this campaign.

Community Leader, Blanche Romey, interviewed by News 12 Brooklyn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Residents march for affordable senior housing


Celebrating Organizer Leo Penta, “A Prophet of the Possible”

Wednesday, July 26, 2017
DICO

DICO held an action for Leo Penta in Berlin to celebrate his retirement from The Catholic University of Berlin. Leo remains the Director of DICO and will remain the key organizer in DICO's effort to develop 75 acres in the eastern part of Berlin. Below are the remarks of Jonathan Lange at the action.

Remarks at July 7, DICO Action:

Thirty-seven years ago, a young priest in New York decided that meaningful ministry in the then-devastated and neglected communities of East Brooklyn required -- demanded! -- a new kind of engagement.  Leo met two IAF organizers -- then-director Ed Chambers and Mike Gecan. Together with other key lay and clergy leaders, they organized a powerful Burger Platform in Brooklyn, EBC. In time, EBC, Leo and the Brooklyn leaders completely re-constructed the abandoned and under-used blocks of that area with thousands of homes for working families.  The value of those 4,000 homes and 2,000 apartments -- now equity and value retained by the African American and Hispanic buyers -- exceeds two billion dollars.

They are still building today -- on a large site called Spring Creek -- which bore, before EBC's efforts, a stunning resemblance to the land we are gathered on this evening.  It was enormous, neglected, underused.  There, like here, it took vision to imagine a whole new community of thriving individuals and families, which is emerging as we speak.

Everywhere Leo Penta has lived and worked since his Brooklyn days, he has been an evangelist of engagement and power -- a prophet of the possible. He continued to define his calling in broad and creative terms.  All of us have benefited from that.

When I needed help 25 years ago to root the Baltimore "Living Wage" campaign in the language, tradition and theology of the church, it was Leo who taught me how to do that.  When Berlin's Catholic University needed to get outside of its walls to fully teach its students, again it was Leo. And when the IAF needed to prove to itself and others that organizing universals were indeed universal, Leo proved that by introducing Community Organizing to the European Continent..

Now they tell us he is retiring, but we don't believe it. Perhaps the University has a mandatory retirement age of 65, but we don't. And Leo has so much more to do. We are so proud of our IAF brother Leo and look forward to many more years from him of practicing and teaching the art of organizing.

I personally look forward to the first ground breaking and the first house warming here on this land.  Whether one is formally religious or not, it is clear that there is a spiritual dimension -- a movement of the human spirit -- in this work.  And no person embodies that spirit more than Leo Penta.


Jersey City Together Works to Prevent a Toxic Deal for Jersey City

Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Jersey City Together

On Monday, June 12th, about 50 Jersey City Together leaders launched a campaign to ensure the Bayfront Development (a 100-acre site owned by Honeywell International & the City of Jersey City on the west side) serves the real needs of the city, particularly local jobs & affordable housing. Leaders with ICO (an IAF organization like JCTogether) fought to clean this site up in the 1980s & 1990s, and JCT wants to ensure the best deal possible is created for Jersey City residents

Press: Jersey Journal, NJTV, Politico, Hudson Co View.

Link to Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjgkAkUOm30


City & State NY Recognizes EBC Leader Rev. David Brawley as Champion of Affordable Housing in East New York

Monday, June 12, 2017
EBC

"In many ways, Brawley and East Brooklyn Congregations have filled a leadership vacuum in the community that would normally fall to local elected leaders.



The results they have delivered for East Brooklyn are undeniable: construction of 3,187 ultra-affordable “Nehemiah homes” and over 1,500 apartments, including an 80-unit senior living facility; the establishment of several quality charter schools; a national campaign to persuade gun manufacturers to responsibly distribute guns; a massive push for the city to repair thousands of public housing units; and dozens of other quality-of-life accomplishments, including street repairs and clean grocery stores.



You won’t find Brawley grandstanding on the steps of City Hall or taking gratuitous shots at the mayor in a show of political strength. Brawley’s philosophy is to carefully research the issues at hand, come up with pragmatic solutions and, in kind, he expects a genuine dialogue and commitment for tangible improvements from his counterparts."


Berlin Affiliate, DICO, Pushes Local Government to Support Affordable Housing Vision

Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Berlin Germany

 As part of the ongoing campaign by the three Berlin DICO-affiliates to develop large-scale affordable housing, some 90 leaders gathered on a 74-acre underutilized industrial riverfront site to envision its potential and meet the owner. The currently underused 74 acres can be transformed into a new community including some 3,200 units of housing, as well as a school, kindergardens and public spaces. DICO is pushing the Boro of Treptow-Köpenick to support its vision.  The Boro continues to oppose the project despite supporting luxury housing development in the vicinity.


WIN Leaders, Former Temple Courts Resident Share Importance of Affordable Housing in DC

Wednesday, May 17, 2017
WIN

WIN leaders, Nathan Brown and John Ducey, sat down with radio host, Kojo Nnamdi, on April 26th to discuss Temple Courts, affordable housing that was knocked down 8 years ago and still has not been rebuilt. As a former resident, Brown spoke of the importance of having a seat at the table as the developer selection process moves forward.


East Brooklyn Congregations: Leaders Demand Safety, Housing Repairs from NYCHA and Transportation Commissioner

Tuesday, April 25, 2017
DNA Info

When Brooklyn Director and his managers refused to meet with 200 NYCHA tenants from four developments because the Director’s office could not afford the one hour of overtime, residents decided to act. The action from the Director’s office demonstrated an obvious lack of respect for their tenants. Thus ensued four days of action by EBC and tenants to confront NYCHA managers.  EBC sent a delegation to the Hope Gardens development office to confront the manager for not showing-up. Fr. Hoffman led a group of 25 people, and again, the manager refused to meet with them.

The group conducted a phone bank in the lobby with tenants calling 25 executives and managers from NYCHA, starting with the Chairwoman, and asked the managers to fix the intercom at 120 Menahan Street. EBC ran this action in response to recently posted letters instructing tenants to "call-in" about an intercom that had been broken for over a decade. The logic was that if managers wanted tenants to call rather than meet face to face, that's exactly what EBC would do.

The manager eventually emerged and was furious at the scene. He and his superior offered to take individual complaints, but the group refused to be bought off.

EBC also confronted the Transportation Commissioner, Polly Trottenberg. More than 225 leaders and students from 14 institutions, including a large contingent from Epiphany Lutheran School, came out to force Trottenberg to publicly commit to meet with EBC on Thursday, May 4th.  During that meeting, EBC will continue to build a better relationship and begin to get commitments for much needed speed bumps, traffic lamps and street lamps.  

Overall, within four days, 500 leaders took action on NYCHA, transportation and sanitation.


In Fight Against Mega-Landlord, Leaders Win Long Overdue City Housing Inspections

Sunday, March 26, 2017
Jersey City

 

 

 

On Sunday, March 26th, 175+ tenant & Jersey City Together leaders gathered at St Paul's Episcopal Church to hold one of the city's largest landlords - Trendy Management - accountable. The owner, Esther Kaplan, had promised to attend, but cancelled at 12pm the day of the action. After tours of one of their buildings with leaders, press, & public officials, the city has begun systematically investigating their buildings. Inspections of the first 6 of their properties have resulted in more than 325 violations. The company owns more than 140 rent-controlled apartment buildings in Jersey City.

 

"Mold and Flooding, but no heat: Residents unite to take on Mega Landlord"

Jersey Journal (Caitlin Mota)

http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/2017/03/jersey_city_residents_with_no_heat_living_in_mold.html#incart_2box_hudson

 

"Jersey City Together Group helping tenants hold management company accountable"

Jersey City Independent (Ricardo Kaulessar) http://www.jerseycityindependent.com/2017/03/jersey-city-together-group-helping-tenants-hold-management-company-accountable/

 

"Mega-Landlord hit with 100+ violations after residents rally for action"

Jersey Journal (Caitlin Mota)

http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/2017/03/more_than_100_violations_for_mega-landlord_after_r.html#incart_river_index

 

"Here's hoping mayor keeps promise to hold mega-landlord accountable" (Op-Ed)

Op-Ed (Earl Morgan), Jersey Journal

http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2017/04/heres_hoping_mayor_keeps_promise_to_hold_landlord.html#incart_river_index

 

"Another 200+ violations issued to Jersey City mega-landlord"

Jersey Journal (Caitlin Mota)

http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/2017/04/another_186_violations_issued_to_jersey_city_mega-.html#incart_2box_hudson

 


Metro IAF NY Wins Federal Judicial Oversight to Ensure Real Cleanup of Mold by NYCHA

Tuesday, December 17, 2013
New York Daily News

The City Housing Authority is about to come under judicial oversight to erase one of its worst plagues — creeping mold in aging apartments, the Daily News has learned.

The city signed off on a consent decree Monday that will give a federal judge the ability to ensure the New York City Housing Authority finally eradicates the longstanding and dangerous condition.

The federal court intervention is seen as a game-changer in the battle to reform NYCHA’s inability to tackle an issue that affects hundreds of tenants citywide.

 


Advocates: Pr. William communities to get $30 million for housing pilot program

Monday, June 3, 2013
The Washington Post

 

Millions in funding for a housing pilot program that would go toward restoring communities affected by the 2008 foreclosure crisis in Prince William County will be promised by two major financial institutions and a Virginia housing agency Monday, according to Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement.

Prince William suffered more than 20,000 foreclosures during the housing market collapse and was the hardest hit locality in Virginia, according to the coalition of interfaith groups, which has organized around housing issues in the county. The $30 million pilot program would buy and rehabilitate about 100 vacant, blighted townhouses and provide for 1,500 affordable rentals in some of the Prince William communities most affected by the collapse — around Dale City, Georgetown South in Manassas and Williamstown in Dumfries.

 

 


Bloomberg vows to eliminate backlog of NYCHA repairs by end of year

Friday, February 1, 2013
New York Daily News

Mayor Bloomberg promised Thursday to eliminate a stunning backlog of 420,000 public housing apartment repairs by the end of the year. But critics were skeptical the city could meet its goals. “Today marks the beginning of the end of this problem,” the mayor declared at a press conference in the Drew-Hamilton Houses in East Harlem.


Unexpected Focus at a Mayoral Forum

Friday, January 25, 2013
The New York Times

This year’s campaign for New York City mayor was expected to turn on police tactics, education policy and economic development.  On Thursday, six of the leading candidates in the race found themselves discussing something different: mold.


Mayoral Candidates Hold Public Forum

Friday, January 25, 2013
New York Daily News

Six major mayoral candidates squared off for the first time Thursday night, and all went on the attack — not against each other, but against Mayor Bloomberg.


First affordable townhome of planned 22 lowered on foundation in Jackson Hill ceremony

Saturday, January 19, 2013
The Jersey Journal

The first in a series of new townhomes in the Jackson Hill neighborhood of Jersey City was lowered onto its foundation yesterday as part of a ceremony celebrating the new affordable housing.


Public Housing Residents Claim NYCHA Just Paints Over Mold Problems

Wednesday, December 19, 2012
CBS News New York

It’s a cry for help from residents of New York City public housing. Many have been complaining about mold in their city apartments for years, but charge the New York City Housing Authority never really confronts the problem. “I’ve been having this problem over ten years now, with the mold. We [call] the complaint center, we put in a ticket and what they do is they come and they paint right over it and within three months, the mold starts to grow back again,” Rosanna De La Cuadra told 1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks.


NYCHA's failure to stop reoccurring mold invasion spurs suit

Tuesday, December 18, 2012
New York Daily News

The mold in public housing tenant Patricia Gorritz’s apartment got so bad for her asthmatic children, the city Health Department ordered NYCHA to clean it immediately. A year later, NYCHA has done nothing to keep the mold from coming back again and again. On Tuesday, Gorritz will join other frustrated tenants in an action against the authority for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act — on the grounds that asthma is a disability.


Nehemiah Spring Creek is New York Magazine Space of the Week

Thursday, November 8, 2012
New York Magazine

Alexander Gorlin is perhaps best known as the architect behind high-end residential constructions. He was even tasked with designing World Trade Center master planner Daniel Libeskind’s own living space. But Gorlin firmly believes in the modernist dream of the architect as an agent of social change. Just days before Sandy hit, he took me on a tour of his latest project—East New York’s Nehemiah Spring Creek—a neighborhood of prefabricated townhouses for first-time home buyers. The process starts in this Brooklyn Navy Yard factory where the houses are constructed by Capsys.


VOICE sings Bank of America’s praises in Woodbridge

Tuesday, October 2, 2012
The Washington Post

The scene at a Prince William County church Monday night may have been startling to regulators and some homeowners just a few years ago: a room full of politicians, interfaith leaders and about 700 congregants rising to their feet and praising Bank of America, once reviled by some for its banking practices.  Bank of America executive Andrew Plepler, in charge of global corporate responsibility, said the bank has been a steadfast partner of Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement, a coalition of more than 40 interfaith congregations that have sought to hold banks and politicians accountable for the 2008 housing crisis.


Fighting Foreclosure in Prince William County

Monday, October 1, 2012
4 NBC Washington

More than 700 people in desperate need of help packed a church in Prince William County Oct. 1 to share stories of struggle and demand help from banks.


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