AFFORDABLE HOUSING VICTORIES
Common Ground Demands Hedge Fund-Milwaukee Bucks Owner Fix Foreclosed Properties. In January, over 100 Common Ground leaders, students, and neighbors braved the cold and held a press conference in front of a crumbling duplex on North 44th St. No one is paying taxes on the vacant building, and it has 23 code violations. It is only one of 300 foreclosed properties controlled by Nationstar Mortgage. Wesley Edens owns the majority of the stock and is Chairman of the Board of Nationstar Mortgage Company. According to a plan Wisconsin Governor Walker announced, Edens will receive $220 million in Wisconsin taxpayer dollars to help him build an arena for another of his properties, the Milwaukee Bucks. During the spring and summer, Common Ground fought hard to prevent a taxpayer subsidy for a new arena without a significant investment in neighborhoods. Common Ground leaders supported by IAF-sister organization Dallas Area Interfaith, went to the Nationstar Annual Shareholders Meeting to demand Edens meet with Common Ground to talk about his crumbling properties and how they are undermining the city of Milwaukee. As a result, Nationstar CEO Jay Bray agreed to meet with Common Ground leaders to address the blighted properties.
Washington Interfaith Network (WIN) leaders break ground on 140-unit tenant led affordable housing project in the Brightwood neighborhood with DC Mayor Muriel Bowser.
WIN Helps Secure $150 Million for Affordable Housing in DC, including $100 million for the Housing Production Trust Fund; $40 million for the building of more humane, smaller family shelters in DC to close the dilapidated DC General shelter and a 35% increase in funding for homeless services--all in the FY 2016 budget. WIN also started construction on new affordable housing: 140-unit Brightwood tenant purchase and renovation and Eastbrooke Apartments, 39 affordable family rental units. Washington Interfaith Network (WIN) also celebrated groundbreaking on North Capitol Commons, 124 units of affordable housing with 60 units of Permanent Supportive Housing for formerly homeless veterans where WIN organized to deliver the land and crucial subsidies for the project.
150 VOICE in Northern Virginia leaders and Senator Mark Warner listen as Georgetown South homeowners tell about the resurrection of their community after the foreclosure crisis.
VOICE in Northern Virginia Celebrates Major Victories in VA Bank and Foreclosure Accountability Campaign: On May 31, 2015, 150 VOICE in N. VA leaders gathered with Senator Mark Warner and other officials to 1) celebrate 3 years of VOICE’s organizing that secured 1,000+ loan modifications, $250+ million in principal reduction, and $1 million for housing counseling, that helped many Prince William families stay in their homes in response to the predatory loan and resulting foreclosure crisis; 2) announce securing $3.5 million for the Metro IAF/VOICE Equity Restoration Fund ($1.5 million from Bank of America; $1 million from JP Morgan; and $1 million from GE), which will help leverage $7-$10 million from religious and other social investors for the Fund that will finance 100-150 homeownership and 1,000 affordable rental housing units over the next 15 years for Prince William & NOVA families; and 3) bless a renovated Georgetown South house that was once abandoned due to foreclosure. Prince William County had 27,000 foreclosures, the most in Virginia.
Hundreds of NYC Public Housing residents and Metro IAF Leaders challenge DeBlasio administration officials to repair their mold-infested apartments.
Metro IAF NY Leaders Demand Mayor DeBlasio Fire NYC Public Housing Director & Comply with Metro IAF won Federal Court Order to Fix Thousands of Housing Code Violations
METRO IAF NY FIGHTS NYC MAYOR DEBLASIO FOR REPAIRS IN PUBLIC HOUSING: Last year, East Brooklyn Congregations (ECB), Manhattan Together (MT), South Bronx Churches (SBC) won a court mandated clean-up of thousands of mold ridden NY public housing apartments. Because NYCHA, the public housing authority, has failed to deal with mold, and many other problems in public housing, hundreds of MT, EBC, and SBC leaders took part in two actions, to demand action by the DeBlasio administration. In March, Metro IAF NY and hundreds of tenants demanded the NYCHA Chairwoman Shola Olatoye commit to making hundreds of necessary repairs in public housing apartments throughout the City. (See press) The needed repairs didn’t happen so, on June 25th, 250+ Metro IAF NYC leaders gathered on the steps of City Hall to call on the Chairwoman to step down and Mayor DeBlasio to step up and take real leadership. (New York Daily News Article)
AIM wins $44 million for Affordable housing in Montgomery County, MD: Action In Montgomery (AIM) and partners in the Montgomery Housing Alliance protected funding for affordable housing in the county's budget, winning $44 million for housing amid widespread budget reductions in other areas of the county. This housing allocation will produce and preserve over 600 housing units for the county's most vulnerable residents in the next year. Since organizing 10 years ago to win the first dedicated fund in Metro DC, AIM has secured $494 million for the Affordable Housing Initiatives Fund, producing/preserving 7,265 affordable housing units.
EBC Nehemiah Homeowners Launch Organizing Drive: On June 29, East Brooklyn Congregations (EBC) organized 500 homeowners for an assembly to re-found the Nehemiah Homeowners Association. EBC’s reorganizing campaign included dozens of housing meetings and nearly 30 block inspections. Homeowners committed to focus on organizing money through paying their dues, and won commitments from city agencies to make important improvements to their neighborhoods, including removing overgrown trees, repairing cracked sidewalks, fixing bad lighting, and requiring police to relate to residents through face-to-face meetings. Over the last 30 years, EBC has built more than 3,500 Nehemiah homes for first time owners, transforming once blighted East New York into a vibrant community.
METRO IAF CHICAGO WINS SUPPORTIVE HOUSING & IMPROVEMENTS FOR TENANTS: In July, with pressure from Lake County United, the Mundelein Village Council voted to support the construction of a 40 unit affordable and supportive housing development, including 12 apartments that will be devoted to people with physical and mental disabilities. Construction will begin in mid August. On May 17th, 20 DuPage United leaders from mosques, churches and synagogues walked door to door in Willowbrook, IL at an isolated apartment complex of over 1500 residents in Chicago’s western suburbs and met their neighbors living in low-income housing. DuPage United leaders knocked on over 330 doors, had over 120 conversations and identified key concerns such as access to healthy food, transportation and strained relationships with local police. After building a strong relationship with a property owner supportive of resident concerns, Villagebrook Apartment resident leaders successfully documented the discriminatory practices of the apartment manager which resulted in her termination and a establishment of new “house rules,” and new parking arrangements that prevented residents from having family and friends over or supporting loved ones in a crisis, regular meetings with the new property manager and the established parent council.