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Housing

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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

On Monday, June 12th, about 50 Jersey City Together leaders launched a campaign to ensure the Bayfront Development (a 100-acre site owned by Honeywell International & the City of Jersey City on the west side) serves the real needs of the city, particularly local jobs & affordable housing.

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

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

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

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