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Issues & Victories

Housing



Manhattan Together and South Bronx Churches Victorious in Negotiating New Consent Decree with NYCHA to Address Toxic Mold in Public Housing

NYCHA resident stands by a living room wall that is leaking water and has ruined the plaster at the Jackson Houses in the Bronx. | Photo by Richard Harbus, NY Daily News
 
In addition to forcing the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to make hundreds more repairs in apartments, Manhattan Together and South Bronx Churches successfully negotiated a newly revised consent decree with NYCHA. This settlement establishes even tougher standards for properly fixing mold and leaks in all 186,000 units of public housing in New York, and a program by which the repairs can be made. Even more importantly, it creates independent oversight entities that will ensure NYCHA is acting effectively and honestly in accordance with the agreement. Those entities can force NYCHA to make proper repairs, or hire outside contractors to do it when they will not.
 
Photo Credit - Getty Images, Drew Angerer



Lake County United Celebrates Construction on $30 Million 185-Bed Affordable Nursing Home

Groundbreaking for 185-Bed Affordable Housing Nursing Home in Lake County, IL
 
Eleven years ago, Lake County was positioning to close Winchester House, which would have left over 200 low-income seniors without an affordable place to live. On December 4th, at the official groundbreaking of a 185-unit affordable nursing home, County Board Chair Steve Carlson began his remarks with “This all began with a conversation with Lake County United.”
 
Over the years, Lake County United (LCU) continued to press to keep the nursing home open and affordable. Of the 185 beds, 65% are Medicaid and will include long-term nursing, memory care and short-term rehab services. The building of the facility is expected to be completed by mid-year in 2020. The old building will be torn down and made into a potential land site for more affordable housing. 
 



Durham CAN Wins 277 Units of Affordable Housing in Downtown Durham

Durham CAN leaders attending Durham County Commissioners meeting as they vote on affordable housing.
 
After three years of organizing and persistent public pressure, Durham CAN won 277 new apartments in downtown Durham near three of its anchor congregations. Voting unanimously for the plan, Durham County Commissioners kept their commitment to Durham CAN and agreed to put affordable and market-rate apartments on county land on the 300 and 500 blocks of East Main Street. The land was originally slated for luxury housing in a deal that was not public. Leaders pressured Durham City Council to prioritize affordable housing on over four acres of city-owned land that led to the Mayor presenting a proposal reflecting Durham CAN’s top priority and included all demands: a minimum of 80 units of affordable housing for families under 60% AMI, including a commitment for a developer to work with the Durham Housing Authority to accept residents with vouchers.
 



Greater Cleveland Congregations Pushes City Council to Unanimously Pass Legislation Requiring Foreclosure Bonds for Residential Properties

Organizing efforts of GCC's Housing Taskforce resulted in Cleveland Heights City Council unanimously passing legislation requiring foreclosure bonds for vacant residential properties. The legislation requires that $15,000 cash bonds be set aside once a property has been vacant for 60 days.  A $1,500 administrative fee will also be deducted annually to manage the program. Vice Mayor Melissa Yasinow cited the strong advocacy from local GCC institutions, which sponsored a bus tour of 19 distressed properties in Cleveland Heights’ Noble neighborhood this summer. Advocates had tried to get this legislation passed five years ago with no luck. With their persistence and organizing skills, the GCC Housing Taskforce overcame the obstacles and made passing the legislation a reality.



Jersey City Together wins final authorization for $170 million in bonding for 95-acre Bayfront site


Rendering of future Bayfront site where as many as 2,800 affordable units could be created
 
A year and a half ago, Jersey City Together launched a campaign to change the way a 95-acre site would be developed so that it would include real affordable housing as part of it. On October, the Jersey City Council approved the final ordinance to authorize $170 million worth of municipal bonds for the site's purchase and for investing in its infrastructure. The city now hopes 35+ percent of the site's units can be affordable (potentially 2,800 units). The site was cleaned up after organizing & a lawsuit by a previous IAF-affiliate in Jersey City called the Interfaith Community Organization. 
 
Coverage:
 
 
 



Fighting for the Soul of New York City, Metro IAF NY Wins 1,000 New Affordable Units for NYCHA Seniors


Before more than 1,200+ East Brooklyn Congregations and Metro IAF leaders, the Governor Cuomo said, “Redwood shows how to provide senior housing. We just have to do more of it. And I pledge today the state of New York will help finance over 1,000 units over 11 projects on 11 NYCHA sites. Let’s get the seniors out of NYCHA and lets open the page on a new day. Thank you for leading the way. Metro IAF, you led the way. David Brawley, led the way. Shaun Lee, led the way. Everyone here led the way.”
 
A successful action at Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church yielded recognition, respect and results. Acting as Metro Industrial Areas Foundation with great representation and participation from leaders from Manhattan Together, South Bronx Churches, Long Island CAN, and a re-emerging organization in Queens, leaders won an agreement from the Governor to keep working with Metro IAF NY on Long Island to develop a comprehensive plan to treat opioid addiction. 
 
Since October 2017, Metro IAF NY has won $500 million to build senior housing; helped bring about a $2.2 billion settlement agreement for NYCHA repairs; built public relationships with the most powerful elected leaders and public officials in the city and state (governor, mayor, state and city commissioners, city council speaker and half the council members); and made the affordable housing crisis the number one story in our city.
 
Last month, a council person told us indignantly, "after we gave the $500 million, we thought you'd be happy and back off a little bit." Rev. Andre Palmer’s response summarizes what's at stake and why we are so persistent and determined.
 
"Councilman," Rev. Palmer said, "our people have a boot on their neck. When you have a boot on your neck, you don't want it off a little bit; you want it off all the way." And that's just what we're going to do.
 
The mayor remains the target. We're organizing council members to choose NYCHA lots suited for senior housing. Then we'll go with them to the mayor to demand he let us start building right away.
 
Press & Photos:
Photos from EBC-Metro IAF w/Gov. Andrew Cuomo at Mt. Lebanon Assembly (08-26-18)
Photo credit: Paul Hanely @3ilanphotog2
 
Governor Cuomo Announces 1,000 Affordable Homes Targeted To NYCHA Seniors In Central Brooklyn – NY State
 
NYCHA land in 4 Brooklyn neighborhoods will give way to senior housing - Curbed
 
Cuomo touts housing initiative, chides Trump in Brooklyn - Politico
 
Gov. Cuomo, Cynthia Nixon talk affordable housing ahead of Wednesday debate | WPIX 11 New York
 
1,000 new affordable units for NYCHA seniors on the way, says Gov. Cuomo | am New York



WIN Affordable Housing Site Secures $7 Million for Development


The current Old Hebrew Home property, which has been vacant since 2009. 

This June, the Old Hebrew Home property in Washington, DC, received $7 million dollars in funding. WIN has been organizing around the property since 2009, and in August 2017, they successfully pushed for 80% of the units to be affordable. Groundbreaking is set to take place later this year or in 2019. WIN also celebrated the groundbreaking of Parkway Overlook this March. The $82.2 million rehabilitation of the complex will be for households making up to 50% of the area median income.



GCC Successfully Pushes Cleveland Heights City Council to Move Forward Legislation Requiring Foreclosure Bonds to Provide for Upkeep and Possible Demolition of Abandoned and Neglected Properties

Greater Cleveland Congregations Leader Diana Woodbridge speaking to other GCC leaders.
 
The extraordinary organizing efforts of GCC’s Housing Taskforce, led by Diana Woodbridge, have resulted in Cleveland Heights City Council moving forward with legislation that would require foreclosure bonds to provide for upkeep and possible demolition of abandoned and neglected properties as they fall into disrepair.
 
Diana and her team got the entire City Council, along with the City Manager, the Chief of Police, the Judge of the Municipal Court and others with status and power regarding the city’s infrastructure to go on a tour last month of 19 foreclosed and distressed properties in the Noble neighborhood.
 
The GCC team exhibited clear focus, solid research and a well-planned strategy. For example, GCC leader and Cleveland Heights resident Melody Hart provided Councilman Mike Ungar with a spreadsheet listing seven of the properties that Council toured and how foreclosure bonds could have helped with their current blight. Ungar said that he found the GCC tour “on certain levels inspiring” in what neighbors are doing to keep their properties up, and “on other levels, horrible – especially when they (GCC) tracked how bond money could have been used on these eyesores.”
 
Cleveland Heights officials are considering a $15,000 foreclosure bond, as well as a $1,500 administrative fee, that would subsidize efforts to manage foreclosed properties. The proposed legislation should make it to a City Council meeting agenda this fall.
 
Advocates tried to get this legislation passed five years ago with no luck. With their persistence and organizing skills, Diana and her team overcame the obstacles and made it happen!



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.

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In the News


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.


Picture this, NYCHA tenants - now you are getting cameras!

Saturday, August 4, 2012
New York Daily News

The city's public housing honcho has thrown it in reverse — again.  NYCHA Chairman John Rhea renewed a promise Friday to install cameras in 80-plus developments by the end of next year. Two days earlier, Rhea told the Daily News there would be security enhancements at the selected housing projects, not necessarily cameras.

 


Letter to Mayor Bloomberg last year warned of NYCHA's failures

Friday, August 3, 2012
New York Daily News

City housing officials, in addition to sitting on nearly $1 billion in federal funds, were too inept to collect another $600 million in available revenue, a civic improvement group charged last year.  In a letter to Mayor Bloomberg, the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation complained the New York City Housing Authority’s management was beset by “delay, confusion and complaints.”


Mayor Bloomberg must face up to NYCHA’s unforgiveable failures

Friday, August 3, 2012
New York Daily News

The mayor should have read the letter. The mayor should have taken the contents seriously. The mayor should have responded appropriately and aggressively for the betterment of New York.  The subject was the New York City Housing Authority, whose failures of leadership and execution have been front and center in the Daily News.


Spring Creek Nehemiah is an Affordable Housing Success Story in East New York

Friday, July 27, 2012
New York Daily News

Linda Boyce says it happens all the time. People turn off Flatlands Ave. in East New York, Brooklyn, and slowly cruise Linwood, Vandalia, and Egan Sts. They look around, admiring multi-colored boxy houses with big backyards, private driveways, and patches of front gardens.  “Someone always asks ‘How can I live here?’ ” says Boyce, a member of the first Homeowner Association at Nehemiah Spring Creek, one of the city’s largest affordable homeowning developments and a national model for affordable housing programs. “That makes us proud. We work hard to keep this neighborhood clean and safe. Sometimes I forget I’m in Brooklyn.”


New Milwaukee housing program rebuilds houses, lives

Saturday, June 16, 2012
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

 

Martin Sinclair stood Thursday on the steps of the vacant, neglected house in the 2500 block of N. 52nd St., and before a gathering of bankers, government officials and area residents, he confessed.  "I came from the streets and I ran with guys who tore up the community," said Sinclair, 28, an ex-offender. "Now I have the opportunity to give back and fix what I helped to destroy."


Banks: Nearly 1,000 Prince William Co. homeowners eligible for mortgage settlement help

Monday, June 4, 2012
The Washington Post

MANASSAS, Va. — Nearly 1,000 homeowners in Prince William County and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park have been identified as eligible for assistance in the $25 billion National Mortgage Settlement announced this year, two banks reported Sunday at a community meeting.

The announcements about how the housing settlement will affect Prince William County came at a community meeting sponsored by Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE), which has been pressing banks to provide hundreds of millions of dollars in Prince William County to compensate for the devastation caused by the wave of foreclosures.


Ken Cuccinelli looks at foreclosures in Manassas neighborhood

Tuesday, May 8, 2012
The Washington Post

Virginia’s top cop and Prince William County resident Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II toured a foreclosure-wracked neighborhood Thursday in Manassas.  He met privately with organizers and religious leaders from Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE) and then toured the Manassas neighborhood of Georgetown South as neighborhood leaders described how vacant properties affect a place — and, as organizers and religious leaders put it, how banks and lenders used dubious tactics that helped Prince William become one of the worst hit places for foreclosures in the state.


Predator GE: We Bring Bad Things to Life

Friday, April 27, 2012
The Nation

If the Justice Department wants to get serious about investigating financial fraud by Wall Street big boys, it ought to drop by the White House and interview Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of General Electric. Immelt is chair of President Obama’s jobs and competitive council, where he strategizes about how to revive American manufacturing. In some other places, only thirty miles from the White House, Immelt is known as the subprime foreclosure king.


Obama’s mortgage unit is AWOL

Wednesday, April 18, 2012
NY Daily News

By Michael Gecan and Arnie Graf

Three months ago, in his State of the Union speech, President Obama announced a new task force to investigate mortgage fraud and bring some measure of relief to the 12 million American families who are either losing their homes or in danger of losing them.  The new Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group would be co-chaired by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, U.S. Attorney John Walsh of Colorado and three Washington insiders from the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission.  Obama said, “This new unit will hold accountable those who broke the law, speed assistance to homeowners and help turn the page on an era of recklessness that hurt so many Americans.”  Whether or not the President, attorney general and others intend to get around to this task someday, “speed” was a terrible word to choose. Because 85 days after that speech, there is no sign of any activity.

 

Bronx photo exhibit depicts poor living conditions for some in public housing; organizers call for action

Friday, March 30, 2012
New York Daily News

A girl in a pink-painted bedroom sits on a bunkbed wearing an airmask over her nose, clutching a machine to help her breathe.  The image is one of nearly two dozen photographs featured in the new exhibit, How The Other Half (Still) Lives: Bloomberg's Legacy?  Taken by photojournalist Ana Brigida, the photos show tenants living with crumbling walls, exposed pipes and moldy ceilings at various public housing complexes in Bronx, Harlem and lower Manhattan.

“They're amazing photographs that show the beauty and strength of people who are basically being condemned to deteriorating health because of the city's lack of will to truly fix these problems,” said Marielys Divanne, lead organizer with South Bronx Churches and Manhattan Together, the community organizing groups sponsoring the exhibit.


 

Leggett commits to Silver Spring senior housing project

Friday, March 23, 2012
The Montgomery Gazette

County Executive Isiah Leggett on Tuesday committed $1.5 million toward a senior housing project next to the future Silver Spring Library.  Leggett unveiled the plan in a meeting with Action in Montgomery, a group of religious congregations lobbying for improvements in senior living, at the Kehilat Shalom synagogue in Montgomery Village. Housing and Community Affairs Director Richard Nelson said the project could be completed as early as late 2014.


Pr. William religious leaders want answers from GE over housing crisis

Sunday, March 11, 2012
The Washington Post

 

In October, a group of Northern Virginia religious congregationsgathered at Freedom High School in Woodbridge to discuss housing issues in Prince William County and demand action.  Under the banner of Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE), religious leaders wanted banks to pledge to help Prince William, one of the communities hit hardest by foreclosures in the region.


Virginians protest General Electric over foreclosures

Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Center for Public Integrity

 

A crowd of Northern Virginia residents and clergy members marched to General Electric's offices in Washington DC today, demanding that the company's CEO, Jeffrey Immelt, take responsibility for helping homeowners who received subprime loans from the company's now-closed mortgage arm, WMC Mortgage Corp.


Use AG settlement to help struggling homeowners

Sunday, February 26, 2012
Richmond Times Dispatch

By: CLYDE ELLIS AND NANCY MCDONALD LADD On Sunday afternoon, Feb. 19, the Virginia House Appropriations and Senate Finance committees failed our state's struggling homeowners. Faced with a decision about how to spend the $69 million in cash due Virginia from the National Mortgage Settlement negotiated by the 50 states' attorneys general, Virginia legislators released budgets that would divert these funds to fill budget gaps and finance pet projectsinstead of helping the thousands of families and communities devastated by foreclosure across the commonwealth.


U.S. Bank steps up The bank says it will commit more than $16 million to the effort to stabilize Milwaukee neighborhoods hard hit by foreclosure.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  U.S. Bank did the right thing last week in announcing that it would commit more than $16 million to help neighborhoods in Milwaukee hammered by foreclosures.  The bank is the fourth to pledge money to stabilize housing efforts in the wake of the housing crash. Bank of America, Deutsche Bank and Wells Fargo have pledged $15.2 million to the Milwaukee Rising initiative started by the community organization Common Ground. The effort is focused on the Sherman Park neighborhood.


Family of dead 67-year-old woman blame moldy living conditions in public housing

Thursday, July 28, 2011
NY Daily News

The family of a churchgoing South Bronx grandmother who died last month of lung cancer is slamming the city agency responsible for her rotting, unhealthy apartment.

Maria Vasquez passed away June 10 after begging the New York City Housing Authority for lasting repairs and a transfer to another apartment.


Home Is Where the Mold Is

Monday, July 4, 2011
New York Times

Sarita Latchman, a vibrant 42-year-old mother and former parks worker, has a sound like a baby’s rattle at the back of her throat. Which is not surprising, as her apartment in the Jefferson Houses in East Harlem is speckled with soot-black mold. A thick carpet of it runs down her bathroom wall and across the ceiling of her children’s bedrooms. Rub it and the spores float, landing on sink tops and children’s hair. They also journey through Ms. Latchman’s nasal passageway into her lungs...


Common Ground builds on success with banks to address foreclosures

Sunday, June 19, 2011
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Common Ground started small three years ago, working to get better lighting for some streets in the Sherman Park neighborhood, pushing for more summer youth jobs and helping restore bus service to the food pantry in Waukesha. But it became David aiming at Goliath when it took on major U.S. banks and world powerhouse Deutsche Bank as part of its campaign to hold banks accountable for the havoc the foreclosure crisis has wreaked on the city of Milwaukee. At first, the banks balked. But the group kept pushing, even flying to Frankfurt, Germany, to the shareholders meeting of Deutsche Bank to confront its CEO, Josef Ackermann. Persistence paid off...


Bronx public housing tenants demand NYCHA repair and improve 'sub-human' living conditions

Tuesday, June 14, 2011
NY Daily News

  South Bronx churches and public housing tenants are turning up the heat on city officials, claiming their polite requests for better service have gone nowhere.


Living On The Edge: East New York & Bay Ridge Go Off Script City Limits

Thursday, March 3, 2011
City Limits

Chapter four of "Brooklyn: The Borough Behind The Brand" visits East New York, Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst and other neighborhoods whose story over the past 20 years differs from the standard narrative of Brooklyn's growth. Eighty years ago, the land along East New York's southeastern border, now known as Spring Creek, was where the city came to an end. When people fleeing the tenements built houses in an area of East New York called New Lots, when they grew vegetables on the empty land next door and watched government paving crews lay down Linden Boulevard, Spring Creek was the land beyond that. It was the scrubby turf where their teenagers played sandlot baseball, the forbidding tall grass where the ill-intentioned stashed stolen cars, or worse...


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