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Housing

Anne Arundel Connecting Together Acts on Housing and Gun Safety

On June 13, over 550 members and affiliates of Anne Arundel Connecting Together packed into Asbury United Methodist Church in downtown Annapolis, Maryland. Front row was Mayor of Annapolis Gavin Buckley, County Executive Steuart Pittman, members of the county council, and other county officials. ACT organized around the issues of gun safety and affordable housing and demanded action.
 

Woodside Gardens resident Barbara Poston reads demands on the behalf of her neighbors to Fairstead Vice President Bobby Byrd. Fairstead owns Woodside Gardens. (Danielle Ohl / Capital Gazette)
 
ACT currently has 27 member and friend organizations including diverse faith groups, the local NAACP chapter, and Lighthouse (a homeless prevention support center). In the prior months, ACT led county-wide door-knocking campaigns, relational meetings, listening sessions, trainings, and education. ACT leaders met with county officials in advance of the action.
 
As a result of listening sessions and door-knocking, ACT leaders organized around the poor living conditions and mismanagement at subsidized apartment complex Woodside Gardens. At the June 13 action, ACT leaders living at Woodside Gardens spoke of the unlivable state of their apartments and the inadequate response of management. Invited before them was a representative of the managing company, Fairstead Affordable. After some wavering, the representative committed to address the issues raised by residents. These residents have subsequently met with management.
 
In May, ACT hosted an education event on Metro IAF’s Do Not Stand Idly By, a plan of action for promoting gun safety. In attendance were the County Executive, chief of police, and a representative of the state’s attorney office. Rabbi Joel Mosbacher spoke about the campaign and members of ACT committed support. On June 13, county officials agreed to support Do Not Stand Idly By. Following the action, on the eve of the Capital-Gazette shooting, the County Executive and Mayor signed onto the campaign.
 
At the June action, county officials agreed to work with ACT on affordable housing in Anne Arundel County. ACT declared its support of a fair housing law, building workforce housing, zoning regulations, and an affordable housing trust fund. Two weeks later, over 40 ACT leaders showed up to a county council meeting where the council voted in support of a bill to build workforce housing. ACT leaders continue to work with county leaders as they work on legislation.
 
ACT’s June 13 ACTion was ushered in by the local Unitarian Universalist Church praise band and out with a unifying prayer by a local imam. It was a celebration, as the action accomplished many wins.
 
Read about it HERE.

 

Metro IL Reclaiming Communities with $215 million in housing for Chicago & throughout state


United Power for Action and Justice, Lake County United, DuPage United, and the Fox River Valley Initiative fought hard for inclusion of substantial money for affordable housing and for specific allocation of funds for what we call “Reclaiming Communities” in two Chicago neighborhoods: Southwest Chicago and Lawndale. In a three month period, leaders held nineteen relational actions with key state legislative leaders and the Governor’s staff resulting in a win on all three fronts: $12 million for Reclaiming Southwest Chicago to move from 35 to 135 renovated homes, $3 million to initiate the Reclaiming Lawndale Initiative —starting with 2 key vacant corner buildings that will provide 50 affordable homes and an initiative to restore traditional greystone homes throughout the community and $200 million for the creation of affordable housing throughout the state.  These dollars can be used to end homelessness, to provide housing for families, seniors, or individuals with physical or mental disabilities, or to reclaim more communities.

WIN Celebrates Affordable Housing Grand Opening


WIN leaders from all across the city came out to celebrate this affordable housing and organizing win at Parkway Overlook. 
 
Washington Interfaith Network (WIN) leaders have been organizing around Parkway Overlook in DC's Ward 8 for years. Since the 266-unit building was closed down by HUD in 2008 due to its crumbling conditions, it has been one of DC's largest abandominiums. The Parkway Overlook Tenant Association and three WIN member congregations—Brighter Day UMC, National UMC, and New Life Ministries—vigorously organized to get Parkway Overlook renovated and reopened. The grand opening took place April 2019. Learn more about the story HERE.
  
 
 

Fox River Valley Initiative Wins $19M to build Affordable Housing for Families and people with Mental or Developmental Disabilities

Leaders from the Fox River Valley Initiative organized over the past eight months building power within the Elgin, IL community by going door-to-door and having conversations with over 200 residents, meeting with the city council members and finally delivering 200 people to the Planning & Zoning Meeting to push the recommendation for the council through.
 
The Elgin council unanimously voted for the $19M dollar Affordable Housing Project, which will build 48 units of affordable housing for families (2/3 bdrms) with 10 studio units for people with a mental or developmental disability and an onsite case manager. Overall this project will create permanent supportive affordable housing for 100 men, women, children and people with disabilities. 
 
Detailed Timeline of Campaign HERE.
 

East Brooklyn Congregations, Metro NY, Seniors, Students & Residents Demand that Mayor de Blasio end delays and begin development for thousands of affordable housing units for low-income senior citizens

Over 250 EBC, Metro NY IAF leaders, seniors, students, NYCHA residents and pastors rallied at Redwood Senior Living this past December calling on Mayor de Blasio to end delays of the historic $500 million investment in new low-income senior housing Metro NY won this past summer.  The unprecedented affordable housing investment was immediately supported by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s announcement of a special tax incentive for developers who would build 100% affordable units for seniors. 
 
At the action a new report was released calling on the mayor to launch development of thousands of housing units for low-income senior citizens. The report, “A Home for All New Yorkers: Low-Income Senior Housing as a Model for Citywide Affordable Development,” offers a proposal in stark contrast with the mayor's NYCHA “rescue” plans, which involve 99-year leases of NYCHA land for private developers to build luxury apartments.
 
 
The leaders were joined by Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Attorney General-elect Tish James, Council members Laurie Cumbo and Rafael Espinal, and Assembly member Latrice Walker.  
 
Afterwards the attendees toured Redwood Senior Living and visited 6 apartments to meet the residents whose lives have been changed by the opportunity to live in a 100% affordable, clean and safe community.  
 
Metro NY continues to push the mayor and local officials to develop a real plan with a goal of building at least 150 developments across the city; as well as repair neglected NYCHA apartment units; create affordable housing for young families; protect homeowners; and hold slumlords accountable.  
 
MORE PRESS
 
 
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WIN Celebrates Grand Opening of 99 Affordable Housing Units

For over 10 years, WIN member Emory UMC and Emory Beacon of Light, in partnership with The Community Builders, worked for over a decade to build 99 units of affordable housing on church land. WIN supported the effort throughout the process, including getting the zoning through the Historic Review Board after the site was declared too historic to alter. The project broke ground in 2016, and this March, we finally celebrated the grand opening!

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