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Mon Apr 14, 2008

Coaltion Seeks Solutions -Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Common Ground rally inaugurates effort to make region a better place to live More than 2,300 people from the four-county area gathered Sunday to launch a major new effort to build a diverse, nonpartisan political organization to tackle the social issues facing Milwaukee and the surrounding area. The founding convention of the Southeastern Wisconsin Common Ground at the Midwest Airlines Center resembled a revival and civic pep rally with a history lesson and civics 101 class tossed in as speaker after speaker committed to working for change to build a better region...

Sun Dec 9, 2007

Renewal planned for area -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."...
 

Sat Jun 23, 2007

Putting Faith in Affordable Housing -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...

Sun Jun 17, 2007

An Advocate Lends a Hand as Social Justice Goals Unify Faiths -New York Times

CHICAGO

Lina Jamoul stood amid the London multitudes that day in February 2003, and in the masses of antiwar marchers in Hyde Park she imagined she saw her political future. There were Socialists and fashion models, dentists and nuns, the sort of coalition that an idealistic graduate student like Ms. Jamoul could envision not only stopping the impending invasion of Iraq, but also making social change at home.

Then the weeks passed and the throngs dissipated and the war began and the whole enterprise, at least in Ms. Jamoul’s eyes, dwindled to rote slogans and camp followers...

Thu Dec 7, 2006

After Council Balks, Bronx Schools Project Is Withdrawn -New York Times

It is the single biggest project in the biggest school construction plan in the history of New York City: a $235 million campus of four schools, with a football field and basketball courts, to be built on old railyards in the South Bronx. Local groups that pushed for the plan cheered wildly when Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg endorsed it two years ago.

But yesterday, the project, intended as a hallmark of the mayor’s effort to improve education in neighborhoods with historically lower-performing schools, was stalled by City Council members who said they wanted to force Mr. Bloomberg to give them a greater say in school admissions rules, especially for the dozens of small high schools he has created in recent years...

Tue Apr 11, 2006

Cheers for the end of poverty pay -The Guardian

Cleaners will get a pay rise as Queen Mary College becomes the first living-wage campus in the UK.

They are an essential part of every university. They start work when everyone else leaves, and finish before most others get there in the morning. They are poorly paid, receive no holiday or sick pay and often take on two or three jobs to make ends meet. Contracted cleaners, security guards and caterers are academia's dirty secret. But last Thursday, Queen Mary, part of the University of London, voted to abolish "poverty pay" on campus...

Thu Mar 16, 2006

Important faces in the AIM crowd -Washington Post

Action in Montgomery, a coalition of religious congregations considered by some to be the county's most powerful grass-roots organization, announced its 2006 agenda at a rousing meeting at Woodside United Methodist Church in Silver Spring last week, and the politicians turned out to hear it. The event drew 708 religious leaders and congregants...

Sun Feb 5, 2006

Finding the bottom of a polluted field -New York Times

Just past the old municipal incinerator, near the car lots, strip malls and fast-food joints heaped on this city's far west side, a long fence juts into the shoulder of busy Route 440. Most drivers whiz by without knowing that on the other side of the fence lies one of the nation's biggest hazardous waste sites, one that spurred an environmental battle so contentious that it has dragged on for a generation.

The forlorn stretch of fallow land -- an area the size of 34 football fields -- is a casualty of Jersey City's industrial past, poisoned by a half-century's worth of residues from the processing of chromium, the versatile substance used in paints, stainless steel and automobile bumpers. In its most dangerous form -- called hexavalent chromium -- the wastes can cause cancer and other health problems...

Thu Dec 29, 2005

Interfaith leaders invoke morality in healthcare debate -Boston Globe

Let the politicians and lobbyists argue about copayments and premiums. The Rev. Hurmon Hamilton and Rabbi Jonah Pesner are waging their fight to expand healthcare coverage on a different, higher plane...

Wed Dec 1, 2004

Nurturing small schools without hurting big ones -New York Times

VIRGINIA GONZALEZ marched through the dismal drizzle of a late November morning in the South Bronx. She made her way past the bodegas, video stores and housing projects of Mott Haven, crossed over a tangle of railroad tracks, and descended into several acres of urban underbrush. Weeds stood shoulder-high. Chunks of concrete and drainpipe lay in heaps. A car chassis rusted beside chain-link fence.
    
"The promised land," Ms. Gonzalez announced to several companions, and she spoke with not a trace of irony...

Wed Nov 10, 2004

East End to Strike Gold -London Evening Standard

Leaders of London's Olympic bid have pledged that the capital's residents will share the benefits of hosting the 2012 Games.

They have signed up to an "ethical contract", promising a "living wage" for workers, affordable new homes, skills training and better health care for communities around the proposed Olympic village in Stratford.

Mayor Ken Livingstone and bid chairman Lord Coe hope the commitment will boost London's chances as its battle to host the 2012 Games enters the final lap...

Fri Nov 5, 2004

London 2012 Wins Local Seal of Approval -The Guardian

London's Olympic bid is to receive a massive boost with the signing of a "people's compact" which will guarantee jobs, training and homes for local residents.

The Guardian has learned that after weeks of negotiations, officials from the bid company, London 2012, the office of the mayor, Ken Livingstone, and the residents' pressure group, London Citizens, will sign a detailed agreement next week.

The breakthrough has been eagerly sought because it allows officials behind the bid to indicate a measure of support among grassroots communities...

Sun Jul 18, 2004

Using Threats, N.Y. Landlords Feed Immigrants' Fear -Washington Post

NEW YORK -- They sat there, three diminutive and worried Mexican women, in the shadows in the back pews of St. Jerome's Church in the Bronx. Father John O. Grange noticed and motioned them forward.

The women handed Grange a letter. They had asked for apartment repairs, and this letter contained what appeared to be the landlord's response.

Marielys Divanne, left, of South Bronx Churches works on behalf of tenants such as Sandra and Manuela, right. (Helayne Seidman For The Washington Post)

"Dear Tenants," the letter stated, "As you know the United States Government and specifically the Homeland Security Administration is investigating illegal aliens...

Mon Mar 8, 2004

Group speaks out on schools -Baltimore Sun

The sanctuary of a Northeast Baltimore church shook with applause yesterday as members from dozens of religious congregations demanded that children not be affected by the fiscal crisis in the city public schools, and that control of the system return to the city and its residents by 2006. "We demand that the children of Baltimore be held harmless," said the Rev. Stephen Tillette of Mount Zion United Methodist Church, one of several clergymen addressing the crowd of about 500 members of BUILD - Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development...

Sat May 17, 2003

Court Orders Honeywell To Clean Up 34-Acre Site -New York Times

A federal district judge in Newark ordered Honeywell International to clean up a 34-acre site along Jersey City's waterfront that was created more than 100 years ago as a dumping ground for chromium, a byproduct of manufacturing that has been found to cause cancer.

The cleanup, which would involve digging up about a million tons of contaminated waste and replacing it with clean soil, could cost the Morris Township-based company more than $400 million, experts testified. The company will also have to remove the contaminants from the Hackensack River near the dump...

Tue Nov 9, 1999

County Urged To Fund Health Care For Needy -Chicago Tribune

A grass-roots organization, founded by religious leaders, including the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, took its campaign to expand health care for the uninsured before a skeptical Cook County Board Monday.

Officials and supporters of United Power for Action and Justice, an amalgam of churches, labor unions and community groups, crowded into the County Board Room seeking a $20 million slice of the county's 2000 budget to provide primary care for 50,000 uninsured county residents...

Thu Dec 4, 1997

South Bronx Churches Will Expand Affordable Housing -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...

Thu Dec 4, 1997

Affordable dreams in the South Bronx -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...

Tue Oct 6, 1992

Housing Pact Is Reached For Brooklyn -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...

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...

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...

Interfaith coalition to rally for human services levy -Dayton Daily News

DAYTON — Lift Greater Dayton, a new regional advocacy coalition of 30 community organizations, will be launched in the Miami Valley on Sunday, Oct. 10.

Participants are primarily faith-based groups including churches, synagogues, and mosques; schools, unions and business associations are also involved. At Sunday’s kickoff event, slated for 3 p.m. at Temple Israel on Riverside Drive, hundreds are expected to rally for Issue 9, the Human Services Levy...

Massachusetts moving money out of 3 big banks to protest credit card rates -Washington Post

Massachusetts officials on Wednesday announced plans to move millions of dollars in state investments out of some of the nation's biggest banks to protest credit card interest rates.

State Treasurer Timothy Cahill said the state has removed Bank of America, Citi and Wells Fargo from a list of institutions approved for new state investments. Massachusetts, which is the only state to make such a move, is also beginning to divest $243 million in funds held at those banks, though the process could take up to six months...

House approves in-state tuition for illegal immigrants -Baltimore Sun

The House of Delegates voted Friday to extend in-state college tuition to illegal immigrants — the highest hurdle so far for a plan that has already passed the Senate and has the backing of Gov. Martin O'Malley. Undocumented students cheered the 74-66 vote and embraced supportive lawmakers as they streamed out of the House chamber after hours of spirited debate...

Counting begins to force referendum on immigrant tuition law -Washington Post

Opponents of a new Maryland law to give undocumented immigrants in-state college tuition breaks said they turned in more than twice as many signatures as needed on Thursday night to suspend the law and to force it to a statewide referendum. The Maryland State Board of Elections now has until July 22 to certify the signatures, but it is likely the opponents will know before then whether they have succeeded. Elections officials plan to begin daily updates on the board’s Web site with the tally as it progresses...

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