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Issues & Victories

Housing



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.



Washington Interfaith Network (WIN) members fight to make DC a city that works for ALL its residents

WIN leaders packed local community meetings and a board of zoning hearing to support the construction of 3 “short term housing” facilities (a more dignified term than shelter).  DC with its high cost of living has some of the highest rates of homelessness in the nation especially for families with children.  This brings WIN one step closer to success in a 4-year campaign to close and replace the dilapidated DC General Family Shelter with smaller and safer facilities spread throughout the district.

Listen to the testimony of Mrs. Barnett who lives at DC General shelter with her husband and three young children.

Mrs. Barnett Testimony about Short Term Family Housing

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In the News


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...


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...


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