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Thu Jun 17, 2010

Legislation gives mobile-home owners protection if land is sold -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...

Wed May 5, 2010

Old-Fashioned Bulwark in a Tide of Foreclosures -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...

Mon May 3, 2010

Gordon Brown triumphs in unofficial fourth TV leadership debate -The Guardian

Prime minister puts in extraordinary performance when the three party leaders addressed community groups.

Gordon Brown today put in one of the most extraordinary performances of his tenure as prime minister when the three party leaders took part in an unofficial fourth debate – addressing community groups in the largest live audience of the election campaign.

As the Labour party battles to avoid coming third on Thursday, Brown appeared to find an emotional range and vocabulary previously unheard from him. Prompting repeated standing ovations, he told the audience: "As you fight for fairness, you will always find in me a friend, a partner and a brother." The speech, before 2,500 voters in a large church hall, may end up having been the most electrifying event of the campaign. Critics of the prime minister described it as one of the best speeches they have seen by a politician...

Mon May 3, 2010

'Major retailers' would pay employees city living wage under proposal -Baltimore Sun

Major retailers in Baltimore would be forced to pay employees the city's designated 'living wage' -- currently slightly more than $10 per hour -- under a measure introduced by Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke at Monday's council meeting. Retailers that are part of a chain that grosses more than $10 million annually would be required to pay employees the living wage rate under Clarke's proposal...

Sun Apr 11, 2010

DuPage board flushes taxpayer money -Sun-Times

Who says government isn't as riveting as reality TV? Not me.

Not when I can attend a meeting of the DuPage County Water Commission, as I did Thursday night to see for myself how mismanagment, incompetence, and a lack of concern for tax payers' money plagues every corner of Illinois...

Thu Mar 11, 2010

Interfaith group rallies in Richmond -Arlington Connection

More than 200 individuals from VOICE — Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement — traveled to Richmond on Tuesday, March 2, to urge the budget conferees to adopt the Senate’s bi-partisan budget that restores and protects the dental health safety net.

They met with senators and delegates individually and then gathered with 17 Northern Virginia legislative leaders, including three of the budget conferees at a meeting in the Capitol...

Wed Jan 27, 2010

Officials show support for Common Ground fight against foreclosure -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...

Thu Oct 22, 2009

Low-Cost Brooklyn Housing Sees Few Foreclosures -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...

Fri Sep 4, 2009

Delay in Muslim's Cases Spur Interfaith Call to Action -New York Times

FALLS CHURCH, Va. — Early one morning last June, fully two hours before his appointment, Mustafa Salih arrived at a federal office here in the Washington suburbs. He wore the new suit he had bought for the occasion. A friend, accompanying him, carried a camera to record the event. Mr. Salih had not slept the previous night.

High emotion was not supposed to be the province of a middle-aged accountant, which was exactly what Mr. Salih was. But on that particular morning, he was scheduled to be sworn in as an American citizen, the culmination of a process that had begun when he immigrated from Sudan in 1991...

Sat May 23, 2009

Battling Foreclosure's Blight -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...

Tue May 19, 2009

Leaders urge Quinn to re-imagine Illinois at North Shore synagogue -Chicago Tribune

A group of Chicago-area religious and civic leaders met with Gov. Pat Quinn at a North Shore synagogue aiming to send him back to Springfield with a mission: clean up Illinois politics.

“We need to take stock of the immense challenges facing the state,” Ibrahim Mohamed said as he explained the purpose of the meeting. “Cronyism and corruption seem to touch all parts of the state...”

Sat May 9, 2009

Clergy members push for education reforms -Columbus Dispatch

Clergy members from three Ohio cities urged the governor and lawmakers today to fix the school-funding system, saying they have a moral obligation to ensure that students in poor communities have the same opportunities as those in wealthier areas. "Our overreliance on property taxes has left too many students - especially in urban and rural districts - with an inadequate education," said Sam Gresham, co-chairman of Faith Vote Columbus, a coalition of churches, neighborhood organizations and labor unions...

Mon Apr 6, 2009

Fairfax tenement restores alarms, extinguishers -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...

Mon Feb 9, 2009

Battling to save financial souls -Boston Globe

For 11 years, Lea Jerome of Charlestown was a spending fiend. She attends Boston Missionary Baptist Church in Roxbury every Sunday and likes to look good when she goes there. So she'd buy pants and long dresses that she loved to pair together or shop at DSW for shoes. Sometimes she'd never even wear her purchases...

Sun Feb 8, 2009

Under mayor's control, the schoolkids are doing all right -NY Daily News

Contrary to both the prepackaged reports that some media outlets have produced and the myths created by the opponents of mayoral control, parents all across the city favor the mayor's role in leading the public schools. It is not news; this movement began nearly 20 years ago...

Sat Feb 7, 2009

Turn it around -Baltimore Sun

No matter how energetic he is, Andrés Alonso can't take street values out of the schools by himself. He needs the community to see that things can be better — and step up to achieve that. The day Andrés Alonso dreaded came the Friday before Thanksgiving. For his first year and a half as Baltimore schools chief, the system was showing unprecedented progress. Four decades of enrollment decline ended. Test scores were their best since the state started keeping track. The graduation rate? Up. Suspensions? Down...

Mon Jan 12, 2009

Religions have the power to bring a passion for social justice to politics -The Guardian

Liberal secularists who have so far overlooked Obama's belief should brace themselves for an even greater challenge.

At first I thought it just plain daft; why waste £150,000 putting a slogan on hundreds of London buses: "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life." It managed to combine so many dotty assumptions - belief in God as a source of worry or as a denial of enjoyment - that I couldn't see who it was supposed to convince. Besides, how can "probably" change someone's mind?

Then I thought about how it might look through the eyes of some of the people who travel on the buses I use from Hackney. The ones who look exhausted returning from a night shift of cleaning. Often they have a well-thumbed Bible or prayer book to read on their journey...

Wed Nov 12, 2008

An Ailing Factory Town Votes for Change -Village Voice

Lorain, Ohio—The kind of hope Barack Obama promised to deliver was nowhere craved more deeply on Election Day than in this battered old manufacturing city on the shores of Lake Erie.

Hope got scores of local residents up before dawn to bounce over rutted streets that haven't been repaved in decades. Hope had them standing all day outside of polling sites at schools forced to lay off 300 staff members last month for lack of funds. Hope sent them scurrying back and forth across town, picking up voters in need of a lift. It sent them past the mammoth, mile-long steel mills by the Black River, mills that once offered their own brand of hope, employing more than 13,000 workers at gritty but solid jobs with benefits and pensions. Barely a tenth that many jobs remain...

Tue Oct 28, 2008

In battleground Ohio, Community Building trumps cynicism -Huffington Post

I left my inside-the-Beltway home in suburban Washington on Friday and spent the penultimate weekend before the 2008 election in Columbus, Ohio to get a first-hand look at one of the most intriguing, hopeful and yet, in some circles, controversial voter participation experiments of 2008.

More than two years in the making, the nonpartisan Faith Vote Columbus and two related interfaith organizations in Dayton and Lorain launched by the Saul Alinsky-founded Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), are challenging the conventional wisdom among many progressive strategists and funders. That conventional wisdom holds that the only realistic way to register and mobilize apathetic voters in low-income communities on a large scale is to import an army of mercenaries--the polite term is "paid canvassers"--who scour supermarket parking lots and other territory where poor people are likely to be found...

Wed Oct 8, 2008

Thousands of church members meet near Dumfries -News and Messenger

The first gathering of Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement, or VOICE, drew 2,014 people from 40 congregations from Prince William, Arlington and Fairfax counties and the city of Alexandria.

Leaders from the congregations that represent 120,000 people met at First Mount Zion Baptist Church near Dumfries on Sunday afternoon and pledged $228,950 to the organization’s mission of providing more affordable housing, strengthening education for people who want to learn English and providing affordable dental care...

Tue Jul 29, 2008

Five new homes dedicated in Oliver -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...

Thu Jul 24, 2008

Wherever two or three thousand are gathered -U.S. Catholic

The 1,200 people who packed Olivet Baptist Church on Chicago's South Side on a chilly Monday evening last December were assured by the event's organizers that the meeting would begin on the dot at 7:30 and last one hour and 15 minutes. They delivered on both counts. This was but one in a series of assemblies sponsored by United Power for Action and Justice, a massive citizens' organization created in 1997. The gathering-a racial rainbow from city and suburbs-included white collar, blue collar, and no collar. They cheered and clapped appropriately as the agenda items were clicked off with almost military precision. The major issue on the table was the nearly 2 million people in the Chicago metropolitan area without health insurance...

Sat Jul 12, 2008

Boarded-up houses make way for roses -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...

Wed May 28, 2008

10 years of work to make lives better -Boston Globe

More than 1,700 people clapped their hands, sang "Amen," and vowed to keep pushing for measures to improve people's lives at the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization's 10th anniversary celebration last night...

Wed May 7, 2008

Seeds of renewal in Oliver -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...
 

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