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Issues & Victories

Housing



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


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...


Banks vow cooperation on foreclosures

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Banks say they'll work with community advocates, agree to maintain vacant properties. Representatives of five of the nation's leading banks told a crowd of 1,100 Sunday that they would work with the advocacy group Common Ground to deal with Milwaukee's foreclosure crisis, including maintaining vacant land and boarded-up properties. The banks' response was much different a year ago, when Common Ground, then a new community organization, launched an initiative to hold major banks accountable for the mounting foreclosure crisis that has helped to depress Milwaukee's housing market...


When a Bank is Too Big to Hide

Huffington Post

After months of trying, David confronts Goliath tomorrow in Frankfurt, Germany, at the annual shareholders meeting of the world's second largest bank. David is otherwise known as Common Ground, an upstart, feisty, two-year old community organizing endeavor spanning four counties in southeast Wisconsin, including Milwaukee. Goliath is Deutsche Bank (Assets: $3.23 trillion), founded in 1870, about the same time that thousands of German immigrants were streaming into Milwaukee and turning it into a prosperous beer-making and manufacturing center...


A working and middle class community is rising in East Brooklyn

NY Daily News

New York is pushing toward construction of a working- and middle-class community with solid, affordable houses, parkland and easy access to shopping. Just what this city needs. The project is located in East New York, Brooklyn, out by the Belt Parkway and not far from Starrett City. It's a complex undertaking involving a developer, the city and the dedicated folks of the Nehemiah housing program...


No home for the holidays

Washington Post

Martha Holmes's small, frail body often bumps into things in her new apartment, which seems like a maze to the 87-year-old woman with Alzheimer's disease. In the last month, she has been hospitalized twice, and police have found her wandering the streets, attempting to walk back to the public housing apartment in Alexandria that she called home for more than 40 years.

Now living in Ladrey, a public senior-housing building five blocks away, Holmes is among those at the center of a dispute between James Bland public housing residents who say they are being disregarded and housing authorities who say the residents are uncooperative and antagonistic to development plans...


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