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Issues & Victories

Housing



Lake County United wins 70 affordable senior homes north of Chicago

Lake County United has supported Mercy Housing Lakefront’s proposal for 70 units of affordable senior housing in Grayslake.  Lake County United was pivotal in the building’s original planning with our active community leadership inspiring Mercy to come to Lake County and to include a 25% set aside of units for seniors with special needs in the project.  We then helped Mercy secure rental subsidies from the Lake County Housing Authority, tax credit financing from the Illinois Housing Development Authority, worked closely with them to develop local support for the project from Grayslake residents and clergy in order to secure the final zoning approval for the project from the Grayslake Zoning Board of Appeals and Village Board.  Vocal “Not In My Back Yard” opposition slowed the process down, but after a final approval vote in early July, Mercy now expects to break ground in early October 2011.



AIM (Montgomery County, MD) celebrates $224 million in Affordable Housing Victories.

 

Since 2003, AIM has secured $224 million in county investment in affordable housing.   The affordable housing funds have been used to build or refurbish over 5,000 units of for sale, senior, rental and disability housing throughout the county.  10% of the funds are allocated for homelessness prevention programs.  

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BUILD develops 69 affordable artist lofts in downtown Baltimore.

 

With TRF Development Partners, BUILD helps develop City Arts Building, 69 affordable artists lofts:

http://housingbaltimoreartists.wordpress.com/city-arts/




NYC region affiliates celebrate 30 years of victories

In February, 2011, more than 1300 people from East Brooklyn Congregations, South Bronx Churches, Manhattan Together, Empowered Queens United in Action and Leadership, Long Island Associations, Congregations and Neighborhoods, and New Jersey Together gathered to celebrate our thirty years of accomplishments, including:

  • The construction of more than 4000 Nehemiah affordable homes in Eastern Brooklyn and the South Bronx
  • $500 million in environmental clean up in New Jersey
  • The founding of four new public high schools, two charter schools and the construction of the $220 million Mott Haven campus in Eastern Brooklyn, Queens and the South Bronx
  • $60 million in parks restoration in lower Manhattan

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WIN builds nearly 400 units of affordable housing in DC.

 

WIN built Dupont Commons, a 147-unit for-purchase, affordable housing development for residents with incomes between $15,000 – $60,000, and partnered with Catholic Charities to create the Summit at St. Martin’s Apartments, a 178-unit affordable apartment complex.  WIN is in the final stages of construction for Eden Place, a 63-unit Nehemiah affordable housing development.  DC is one of the most expensive housing markets in the nation, and these projects stabilize the neighborhood for long-time residents.




Washington Interfaith Network creates housing for over 1,100 homeless individuals and families.

 

WIN leaders pressed the Mayor and City Council to develop and fund a plan to create 2,500 units of permanent supportive housing to move the city’s most chronically and vulnerable homeless from the streets or shelter into homes with supportive services.  To date, over 1,100 individuals and families have been housed. 


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In the News


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...


Brownsville tenants team with developers and community to change their lives

Friday, February 25, 2011
NY Daily News

Jacqueline (Jackie) Melendez had enough. The elevators didn’t work, and she complained. But it was more than that. Melendez had an 8-month-old, and a 3-year-old battling leukemia. Living on the ninth floor of the Riverdale Osborne Towers in Brownsville, steps from the Rockaway Ave. 2/3 subway, Melendez had to take the working elevator in the building next door to the top floor, climb to the roof and walk across to her building, and down a flight of stairs with two children in her arms, just to arrive at her front door. “Here I was with a child in chemotherapy, praying when I walked into my building that the elevator would work,” says Melendez. “I should have been praying for my son to live. Something wasn’t right...”


Bland residents, city officials reach accord

Thursday, September 30, 2010
Washington Post

Current and former James Bland housing residents thanked the Alexandria City Council and the city's housing authority for resolving their relocation issues after a year of protests and meetings.

The residents, along with Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement, or VOICE, stood before the council at its meeting Saturday and declared a victory for the 180 residents of the 8.5-acre public housing community in the Braddock East area, which is being developed into a $55 million mixed-use property with market-rate and affordable homes...


2 Sides Clash at City Hall Over Domino Housing Plan

Tuesday, June 22, 2010
New York Times

By some standards, a developer’s plan to transform the defunct Domino Sugar refinery north of the Williamsburg Bridge in Brooklyn is a good deal, offering 660 of its planned 2,200 apartments to poor and working-class New Yorkers, shops to animate the streets and a public esplanade along the East River. “We’re taking this narrow, vacant industrial site and turning it into an incredibly powerful economic engine for the neighborhood,” said the developer, Michael Lappin, president of the Community Preservation Corporation...


Legislation gives mobile-home owners protection if land is sold

Thursday, June 17, 2010
Washington Post

For years, Amy Lamke's answer to her affordable housing dilemma was bouncing with her daughter, Katlin, from one place to another, sharing space with strangers whom she met through classified ads.

But when she discovered Deep Run, a community of mobile homes tucked away off a two-lane road near Route 1 in Elkridge, in Howard County, Lamke figured she had found the stability she and her daughter had longed for...


Old-Fashioned Bulwark in a Tide of Foreclosures

Wednesday, May 5, 2010
New York Times

TO walk the streets of Brownsville and East New York, Brooklyn, is to see neighborhoods ravaged by foreclosure, homes boarded up and marshals’ notices taped to doors. Yet in the midst of this pain sit several swaths of well-tended homes, about 3,000 in all, each with a driveway and statuary and garden. Not one of their owners has lost a home.

Five miles away in Jamaica, Queens, another neighborhood hammered by foreclosures, there remain blocks where not one house has been put up for auction in the current crisis...


Officials show support for Common Ground fight against foreclosure

Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

As part of a campaign aimed at getting banks to do more about vacant and foreclosed homes, state Rep. Jon Richards (D-Milwaukee) said Tuesday that he has introduced a bill that would prohibit state agencies from contracting with financial institutions that own 100 or more foreclosed residential properties in the state. And Milwaukee Ald. Michael Murphy said he was researching what leverage the city might have in getting banks to take on more responsibility in the city's foreclosure crisis. The two gave their pledges of support Monday night before a fired-up crowd of more than 300 members of the new broad-based organization, Common Ground, which met to open a "faces of foreclosure" campaign...


Low-Cost Brooklyn Housing Sees Few Foreclosures

Thursday, October 22, 2009
NPR

Yvonne Ziegler had an apartment in a central Brooklyn housing project and a decent job in an office. But like a lot of New Yorkers, she figured she'd be renting forever. Owning a place seemed beyond the realm of possibility. Thanks to the Nehemiah project, a church-run affordable housing program, Ziegler now owns a trim, neatly maintained three-bedroom house, where she lives with her elderly mother in the Brooklyn neighborhood known as East New York. The program has built more than 4,000 houses in Brooklyn and the Bronx since the 1980s...


Battling Foreclosure's Blight

Saturday, May 23, 2009
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

When homes are boarded up and taken over by the bank, the neighbors know well the decay, crime and danger that can follow. Seven years ago the Greater New Birth Church built a new house of worship that's a bright and sturdy structure on the corner of N. 22nd and W. Center streets. The needs for food, jobs and counseling have remained the same for the church, which was designed to serve the low-income Amani neighborhood, youth pastor Willie Davis said. What has changed, he said, is the growing foreclosure crisis that's cast a shadow over the neighborhood. More and more homes have been boarded up and abandoned, left to decay and serve as magnets for crime, vandalism and growing fears for those who remain...


Fairfax tenement restores alarms, extinguishers

Monday, April 6, 2009
Washington Examiner

The squalid Vista Gardens apartment complex has corrected “over 80 percent” of the more than 700 fire code violations issued in a Fairfax County crackdown last month, including those for the widespread lack of fire alarms, a fire department spokesman said Monday.

The apartments, which sit in the Culmore community near Falls Church off Leesburg Pike, were the subject of an intense investigation by building code, health and fire officials after pressure from the community brought elected leaders into action...


Five new homes dedicated in Oliver

Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Baltimore Sun

First dwellings built there in half-century.

The first new homes to be built in a half-century in East Baltimore's Oliver neighborhood were dedicated yesterday, a sign of progress, officials said, in a blighted swath of the city once notorious for drug dealing.

As a result of a unique public-private partnership, vacant houses were demolished and land was assembled to build 75 homes for low- to moderate-income homebuyers. Another 47 homes will be rehabilitated, all within a six-square-block area just north of Johns Hopkins Hospital...


Boarded-up houses make way for roses

Saturday, July 12, 2008
Baltimore Sun

Drug dealers ousted, Oliver community plants gardens.

An urban oasis is rising from the rubble of vacant rowhouses in East Baltimore. Cherry trees and dogwoods have been staked into new dirt. Beds of sedum, rose, sage and yarrow have been planted. Wood-chip walkways wind through lots neighbors once feared to enter.

Hard against the old stone wall of Green Mount Cemetery, two new gardens are part of a movement by Oliver residents to reclaim their neighborhood. They got police to clear drug dealers from a courtyard, and neighbors now gather there for lunch. They lobbied the city to tear down a dozen vacant houses to make way for the gardens, which were planted this week...


Seeds of renewal in Oliver

Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Baltimore Sun

With new houses, residents and activists aim to weed out dealers, pull in families.

A crowd gathered yesterday afternoon on the crumbling steps of a boarded-up rowhouse in East Baltimore. Their attention focused across the street, where construction workers using an 80-foot crane were assembling the first new houses in the Oliver neighborhood in half a century.

The people had never seen such a sight - not here, not in this blighted community where one survey puts the vacancy rate at 44 percent and where drugs and crime have chased out most of the middle class. Construction of new townhouses happens along the waterfront, these people said, not in Oliver...
 


Renewal planned for area

Sunday, December 9, 2007
Baltimore Sun

$10 million raised for rehab in E. Baltimore.

On Broadway, on the eastern edge of the Oliver community, a line of boarded-up homes stands testament to years of neglect. The exposed wood on one is charred, the remnants of a long-ago fire never cleaned up.

"These are such nice homes, and they've been left to rot," said Rob English, lead organizer for the social action group BUILD, which is targeting the East Baltimore neighborhood for a major renewal campaign. "The blight in Oliver has been created by 35 years of disinvestment."...
 


Putting Faith in Affordable Housing

Saturday, June 23, 2007
Washington Post

Nearly three decades after Washington area faith leaders founded a movement for affordable housing, there is a new push -- particularly in the District -- to revive the effort and get the clergy to see housing as an urgent mission field.

Longtime advocates say houses of worship should be obvious allies because of the desperate need in the city, and for another reason: their land. Churches in particular own tens of millions of dollars in vacant properties in Washington. Some lots were donated by congregants; others were purchased methodically, for investment or for developing housing, among other reasons...


South Bronx Churches Will Expand Affordable Housing

Thursday, December 4, 1997
New York Times

Although she owns a four-story building with a park view, Zoraida Burgos said she has not enjoyed looking out her window in the last 30 years. Too often, her view of St. Mary's Park is marred by prostitutes, gang members, drug dealers and abandoned buildings.

But things may soon change for the better for Ms. Burgos, who lives on Beach Terrace between Beekman and Crimmins Avenues. The South Bronx Churches, an alliance of neighborhood congregations, nonprofit local agencies and tenant and homeowner groups that has built 512 affordable homes and housing units in the neighborhood, announced yesterday that it plans to build 240 units of affordable housing on the 16 or so empty lots primarily south of the park by early next year...


Affordable dreams in the South Bronx

Thursday, December 4, 1997
NY Daily News

Mary Martinez' life has changed dramatically from four years ago, when she lived with broken elevators and urine-soaked hallways in the Mitchell Houses project in the South Bronx.
"My daughter and I are more at ease," said Martinez, who bought a single-family home on Eagle Ave. "Theresa can now jump rope or swim in a little pool in our backyard. If it wasn't for the Nehemiah Homes . . . [offering] a price that I can afford as a a single parent, I don't think I would be able to have a home."


The security and pride Martinez have are the goals of many other prospective homeowners, who gathered yesterday in a rock-and-rubble-strewn lot in Mott Haven...


Housing Pact Is Reached For Brooklyn

Tuesday, October 6, 1992
New York Times

The Dinkins administration and a group of churches and homeowners' associations in Brooklyn have reached an agreement in principle that will allow the group to build as many as 1,300 single-family houses for lower-middle-class families previously unable to buy their own homes. The agreement, which calls for the construction of 700 to 800 rowhouses west of Pennsylvania Avenue in East New York, was reached last week and will be formally announced later this week, city officials said yesterday. The area is now one of the most impoverished and crime-racked in the city. Another 500 houses are to be built about a mile away in the Spring Creek section...


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