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Neighborhood Development

DICO-IAF in Germany Posts Big Local Win

Since 2017, SO! Mit Uns (The Community Organization in the Southeast of Berlin) has been fighting to rescue Ferry F11, which is the oldest public ferry line in Berlin. After a bridge was built half mile away in 2017, the Senate wanted to abolish the line. SO! Mit Uns's work over the past two years were able to extend the ferry service for one year. SO! Mit Uns kept fighting.  In Februrary, 2019 the Senate Department for Transport agreed to integrate the Ferry F11 into public transport plans, so that the ferry will drive until 2023.  The ferry transports more than 100.000 people and 30.000 bicycles a year.

AIM Celebrates Ribbon Cutting for Historic African American Community Center after Decades-Long Fight for Justice


Community Members of Good Hope Neighborhood | Photo by Brianna Rhodes
 
AIM celebrated the ribbon cutting for Good Hope Community Center, the last of four community centers in historically African American neighborhoods in Montgomery County. Montgomery County has a rich history of neighborhoods where people live on land their ancestors bought when they were freed from slavery. For most of this history, the neighborhoods were overlooked and neglected.
 
“Until the county renovated the Ross Boddy Community center two years ago, the school building had changed very little since I was a student there in the segregated 1950’s,” said Rev. Pearl Selby of Oak Grove AME Zion. “The renovations of Ross Boddy, Good Hope, Scotland and Plum Gar finally gave these centers the dignity they deserve.”
 
Starting in the 1990’s, neighborhood leaders could not get even basic repairs in the community centers in Historic African-American neighborhoods, while beautiful new centers were being built in other parts of the county. These centers played a unique role as gathering places for communities that had dispersed over time. Flooding, windows that would not open, burnt out light bulbs that were never replaced, and concrete floors that hurt the joints of seniors in exercise classes were all common.
 
Starting in 2005, leaders gathered together as part of Action In Montgomery, and realized this was happening not just in their individual neighborhood center, but across the county. AIM brought together its broader network of congregations to support the issue.
 
In 2006 County Council and County Executive Candidates promised AIM leaders they would include $29 Million in funding to renovate these centers in the budget, but by early 2007 that promise looked like it might end up being like all of the previous promises to these communities—empty.
 
To move the issue, AIM held a series of actions at the centers, inviting councilmembers to see for themselves the terrible disrepair that had been allowed to fester, culminating in an action in April 2007 with over 1000 Montgomery County citizens—white, black, and Latino. African-American leaders taught the history of segregation in Montgomery County from their own personal experiences. This included African-American students not being offered 12th grade education, denying them a high school degree and students having to pay to ride the bus for dozens of miles to attend the only high school for African-Americans until 1958. At the action AIM secured the commitments of a majority of the Council to support full funding for the centers’ renovation.
 
The ribbon cutting at Good Hope marks the end of the rebuilding and renovating of these four centers. 
 
Links to all four of the recreation centers. 
 
 
 
 
 

ReBUILD Metro Secures $1.5 Million from Weinberg Foundation to Revitalize Johnston Square Neighborhood


Aerial perspective of Greenmount and Chase in Johnston Square neighborhood
 
ReBUILD Metro, a third-party developer that works with Metro IAF affiliate, BUILD, to revitalize neighborhoods, secured $1.5 million from the Weinberg Foundation to fill the gap of a 60 unit LIHTC building in Johnston Square in Baltimore. Fourteen homes have already been rehabbed, and this building is the turn-key development needed to truly launch BUILD's rebuilding work in Johnston Square, which will be the 4th neighborhood BUILD is rebuilding in East Baltimore.
 

Jersey City Together's push for affordability gathers steam, Mayor signs on to 50% affordability


Mayor Fulup & Rev. Dr. Alonzo Perry Sr.

In January, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop sent a letter to Honeywell to demand an increase in affordability on a 95-acre site from 5% to 50%. This comes after Jersey City Together spoke to thousands of people across Jersey City and secured commitments from the majority of the city council in support of this change. The Interfaith Community Organization, a previous IAF affiliate, successfully sued Honeywell to force remediation of chromium contamination on the site decades ago. Article in the Jersey Journal here.


Rev. Laurie Wurm, a former leader with Interfaith Community Organization, and the city council candidates just before the election.

GBIO Wins $6 Million from High-Rise Developer for Historic Preservation and Creation of Citywide Affordable Homeownership Fund


At Boston Planning & Development Agency meeting, more than 80 GBIO leaders show support to Boston Properties for making $6 million deal for preservation and affordable housing.

When Boston Properties announced plans for a new $1 billion development, Old South Church and Trinity Church – both members of the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization – opposed the project, citing the Massachusetts Historic Commission’s ruling that new shadows from the high-rise could damage their historic buildings. After leveraging these concerns in negotiations with the developer, the two churches have won $6 million from Boston Properties -- $3 million for the two churches for historic preservation, and another $3 million for a citywide fund for affordable homeownership programs. GBIO plans to keep pushing for more homeownership funding from big developments.

Victory for VOICE: Nearly 1,600 VOICE Leaders Pack Election Forum with Virginia Gubernatorial Candidates Mr. Gillespie (R) and Lt. Gov. Northam (D)

Sounding the Call for "We the People" 

On Sunday night, nearly 1,600 Metro IAF Virginians from 58 VOICE congregations and schools throughout northern Virginia secured commitments from Virginia Gubernatorial Candidates Mr. Ed Gillespie (R) and Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam (D) to raise Virginia's felony larceny level, increase support for public schools and the Housing Trust Fund, fix Washington's crumbling public transit, support DREAMers and convene law enforcement and educators to end hate crimes and bullying. Leaders and Clergy from all different faiths and ethnicities packed a Prince William County high school auditorium and reignited the call for "We the People," a building of the citizen power required to demand action on its statewide Election Agenda, to forge alliances across the political and economic spectrum to move on these issues, and to compromise where necessary to create change.

Gubernatorial Candidates Gillespie and Northam committed, if elected, to meet with VOICE at least twice a year, including before the state budget is formulated. Both candidates also pledged to attend listening sessions to hear issues faced by WMATA metro workers, teachers, DREAMers and others in the community. VOICE will have 400+ volunteer leaders on the ground doing non-partisan Get out The Vote (GOTV) work in four low-voting districts in Fairfax and Prince William Counties between now and Election Day to increase voter turnout by 5-10% in targeted precincts. All eyes are on Virginia. As a bellwether state, the outcome of this election will be pivotal for what is to come nationwide.

VOICE’S ISSUE AGENDA
 
Issue #1: Leading the Nation in Reducing Discrimination, Hate Acts & Bullying
1). Zero tolerance for discrimination, hate and bullying; 2). Strengthen reporting and increase training; 3). Implement the best of the 2018 recommendations from Governor's Commission on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
 
Issue #2: Restorative Criminal Justice
1). Increase the felony larceny level from $200 to at least $1,500 and change misdemeanor law for 1/2 ounce of marijuana; 2). Dismantle school to prison pipeline and invest in young people.
 
Issue #3: Public Education
1). Tackle achievement gap by creating a pilot specialized grant program for Title 1 schools; 2). Address teacher shortage crisis; 3). Increase access to Pre-K for low-income 4-year-olds.
 
Issue #4: Reliable Transit
1). Ensure our Washington Metropolitan Area Transit is an affordable, reliable, and equitable transit system; 2). Uphold Metro's middle-class jobs. We need more good jobs in our region, not fewer.
 
Issue #5: Housing That is Affordable for Workers & Families
1). Support building affordable housing on publicly owned land (local, state, and federal) and increase the VA Housing Trust Fund from the current two-year $8 million allocation.
 
Issue #6: Immigration
1). Support keeping families together! There are 74,000 kids who are US citizens in VA that have a parent who is undocumented; 2). Support DREAMers by convening Virginia US Delegates, Senators, VA CEO's who employ DREAMers, NOVA Superintendents, Educators, VA denominational leaders & DREAMers to hear first-hand why DACA is critical.
 
 
 

1,130+ Jersey City Together Leaders Press for Affordable Housing, Jobs Commitments on 200+ Acres of Formerly Contaminated Land


Rev. Dr. Joshua Rodriguez of Cityline Church with leaders and organizers from a previous
Metro IAF affiliate, Interfaith Community Organization, on stage behind him.

1,130+ leaders gathered for Jersey City Together's Fall action on Monday, October 2nd to discuss the future of Jersey City and - in particular - how 200 acres of vacant & underdeveloped land could be used to address the city's need for affordable housing and jobs. Interfaith Community Organization (ICO), a previous IAF affiliate, had forced Honeywell & PPG to spend $1 billion cleaning up hexavalent chromium contamination.

Now that these sites are clean, the work begins to ensure the sites are used for the benefit of the City. Both mayoral candidates committed to work with the organization if elected, and Mayor Steven Fulop agreed "100%" with Jersey City Together's vision for the sites and committed to "work hand in hand" with the organization to rewrite at least one of the two redevelopment plans for the sites to include more affordable housing and jobs. Jersey City Together will continue the fight to turn these commitments into action. Press coverage can be found hereherehere, and here.


Jersey City Together leaders discuss the future of 200 acres of vacant land.

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