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Manhattan Together and South Bronx Churches Victorious in Negotiating New Consent Decree with NYCHA to Address Toxic Mold in Public Housing

NYCHA resident stands by a living room wall that is leaking water and has ruined the plaster at the Jackson Houses in the Bronx. | Photo by Richard Harbus, NY Daily News
In addition to forcing the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to make hundreds more repairs in apartments, Manhattan Together and South Bronx Churches successfully negotiated a newly revised consent decree with NYCHA. This settlement establishes even tougher standards for properly fixing mold and leaks in all 186,000 units of public housing in New York, and a program by which the repairs can be made. Even more importantly, it creates independent oversight entities that will ensure NYCHA is acting effectively and honestly in accordance with the agreement. Those entities can force NYCHA to make proper repairs, or hire outside contractors to do it when they will not.
Photo Credit - Getty Images, Drew Angerer

Lake County United Celebrates Construction on $30 Million 185-Bed Affordable Nursing Home

Groundbreaking for 185-Bed Affordable Housing Nursing Home in Lake County, IL
Eleven years ago, Lake County was positioning to close Winchester House, which would have left over 200 low-income seniors without an affordable place to live. On December 4th, at the official groundbreaking of a 185-unit affordable nursing home, County Board Chair Steve Carlson began his remarks with “This all began with a conversation with Lake County United.”
Over the years, Lake County United (LCU) continued to press to keep the nursing home open and affordable. Of the 185 beds, 65% are Medicaid and will include long-term nursing, memory care and short-term rehab services. The building of the facility is expected to be completed by mid-year in 2020. The old building will be torn down and made into a potential land site for more affordable housing. 

Durham CAN Wins 277 Units of Affordable Housing in Downtown Durham

Durham CAN leaders attending Durham County Commissioners meeting as they vote on affordable housing.
After three years of organizing and persistent public pressure, Durham CAN won 277 new apartments in downtown Durham near three of its anchor congregations. Voting unanimously for the plan, Durham County Commissioners kept their commitment to Durham CAN and agreed to put affordable and market-rate apartments on county land on the 300 and 500 blocks of East Main Street. The land was originally slated for luxury housing in a deal that was not public. Leaders pressured Durham City Council to prioritize affordable housing on over four acres of city-owned land that led to the Mayor presenting a proposal reflecting Durham CAN’s top priority and included all demands: a minimum of 80 units of affordable housing for families under 60% AMI, including a commitment for a developer to work with the Durham Housing Authority to accept residents with vouchers.

Greater Cleveland Congregations Pushes City Council to Unanimously Pass Legislation Requiring Foreclosure Bonds for Residential Properties

Organizing efforts of GCC's Housing Taskforce resulted in Cleveland Heights City Council unanimously passing legislation requiring foreclosure bonds for vacant residential properties. The legislation requires that $15,000 cash bonds be set aside once a property has been vacant for 60 days.  A $1,500 administrative fee will also be deducted annually to manage the program. Vice Mayor Melissa Yasinow cited the strong advocacy from local GCC institutions, which sponsored a bus tour of 19 distressed properties in Cleveland Heights’ Noble neighborhood this summer. Advocates had tried to get this legislation passed five years ago with no luck. With their persistence and organizing skills, the GCC Housing Taskforce overcame the obstacles and made passing the legislation a reality.

Jersey City Together wins final authorization for $170 million in bonding for 95-acre Bayfront site

Rendering of future Bayfront site where as many as 2,800 affordable units could be created
A year and a half ago, Jersey City Together launched a campaign to change the way a 95-acre site would be developed so that it would include real affordable housing as part of it. On October, the Jersey City Council approved the final ordinance to authorize $170 million worth of municipal bonds for the site's purchase and for investing in its infrastructure. The city now hopes 35+ percent of the site's units can be affordable (potentially 2,800 units). The site was cleaned up after organizing & a lawsuit by a previous IAF-affiliate in Jersey City called the Interfaith Community Organization. 

Fighting for the Soul of New York City, Metro IAF NY Wins 1,000 New Affordable Units for NYCHA Seniors

Before more than 1,200+ East Brooklyn Congregations and Metro IAF leaders, the Governor Cuomo said, “Redwood shows how to provide senior housing. We just have to do more of it. And I pledge today the state of New York will help finance over 1,000 units over 11 projects on 11 NYCHA sites. Let’s get the seniors out of NYCHA and lets open the page on a new day. Thank you for leading the way. Metro IAF, you led the way. David Brawley, led the way. Shaun Lee, led the way. Everyone here led the way.”
A successful action at Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church yielded recognition, respect and results. Acting as Metro Industrial Areas Foundation with great representation and participation from leaders from Manhattan Together, South Bronx Churches, Long Island CAN, and a re-emerging organization in Queens, leaders won an agreement from the Governor to keep working with Metro IAF NY on Long Island to develop a comprehensive plan to treat opioid addiction. 
Since October 2017, Metro IAF NY has won $500 million to build senior housing; helped bring about a $2.2 billion settlement agreement for NYCHA repairs; built public relationships with the most powerful elected leaders and public officials in the city and state (governor, mayor, state and city commissioners, city council speaker and half the council members); and made the affordable housing crisis the number one story in our city.
Last month, a council person told us indignantly, "after we gave the $500 million, we thought you'd be happy and back off a little bit." Rev. Andre Palmer’s response summarizes what's at stake and why we are so persistent and determined.
"Councilman," Rev. Palmer said, "our people have a boot on their neck. When you have a boot on your neck, you don't want it off a little bit; you want it off all the way." And that's just what we're going to do.
The mayor remains the target. We're organizing council members to choose NYCHA lots suited for senior housing. Then we'll go with them to the mayor to demand he let us start building right away.
Press & Photos:
Photos from EBC-Metro IAF w/Gov. Andrew Cuomo at Mt. Lebanon Assembly (08-26-18)
Photo credit: Paul Hanely @3ilanphotog2
Governor Cuomo Announces 1,000 Affordable Homes Targeted To NYCHA Seniors In Central Brooklyn – NY State
NYCHA land in 4 Brooklyn neighborhoods will give way to senior housing - Curbed
Cuomo touts housing initiative, chides Trump in Brooklyn - Politico
Gov. Cuomo, Cynthia Nixon talk affordable housing ahead of Wednesday debate | WPIX 11 New York
1,000 new affordable units for NYCHA seniors on the way, says Gov. Cuomo | am New York

WIN Affordable Housing Site Secures $7 Million for Development

The current Old Hebrew Home property, which has been vacant since 2009. 

This June, the Old Hebrew Home property in Washington, DC, received $7 million dollars in funding. WIN has been organizing around the property since 2009, and in August 2017, they successfully pushed for 80% of the units to be affordable. Groundbreaking is set to take place later this year or in 2019. WIN also celebrated the groundbreaking of Parkway Overlook this March. The $82.2 million rehabilitation of the complex will be for households making up to 50% of the area median income.

GCC Successfully Pushes Cleveland Heights City Council to Move Forward Legislation Requiring Foreclosure Bonds to Provide for Upkeep and Possible Demolition of Abandoned and Neglected Properties

Greater Cleveland Congregations Leader Diana Woodbridge speaking to other GCC leaders.
The extraordinary organizing efforts of GCC’s Housing Taskforce, led by Diana Woodbridge, have resulted in Cleveland Heights City Council moving forward with legislation that would require foreclosure bonds to provide for upkeep and possible demolition of abandoned and neglected properties as they fall into disrepair.
Diana and her team got the entire City Council, along with the City Manager, the Chief of Police, the Judge of the Municipal Court and others with status and power regarding the city’s infrastructure to go on a tour last month of 19 foreclosed and distressed properties in the Noble neighborhood.
The GCC team exhibited clear focus, solid research and a well-planned strategy. For example, GCC leader and Cleveland Heights resident Melody Hart provided Councilman Mike Ungar with a spreadsheet listing seven of the properties that Council toured and how foreclosure bonds could have helped with their current blight. Ungar said that he found the GCC tour “on certain levels inspiring” in what neighbors are doing to keep their properties up, and “on other levels, horrible – especially when they (GCC) tracked how bond money could have been used on these eyesores.”
Cleveland Heights officials are considering a $15,000 foreclosure bond, as well as a $1,500 administrative fee, that would subsidize efforts to manage foreclosed properties. The proposed legislation should make it to a City Council meeting agenda this fall.
Advocates tried to get this legislation passed five years ago with no luck. With their persistence and organizing skills, Diana and her team overcame the obstacles and made it happen!

Durham CAN Pressures City Council to Prioritize Affordable Housing in Downtown Durham

Faith leaders, housing advocates, and public housing residents in Durham gather to remind city council leaders to use public land to build affordable housing so we can have a downtown for all.