In the News

In the News


Housing, NYCHA, safety, Health District

Metro IAF: New York's Public Housing Isn't Getting Better

Wednesday, July 31, 2019
New York Times

On July 30th, The New York Times published an Editorial laying out the ongoing problems in New York City's public housing. This was informed by interviews with several Metro IAF NY tenant leaders, including Bernard Smith from South Bronx Churches who is quoted in the editorial.

The editorial also focused on:

  • A report by the Federal Government’s Monitor detailing the multiple ways in which the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) has not moved fast enough to make reforms. The monitor was appointed as a result of Metro IAF leaders pushing the US Attorney to investigate corruption and neglect at NYCHA.
  • How much more work NYCHA must do to properly remediate mold in order to be in compliance with Metro IAF’s Baez V. NYCHA Federal Court Consent Decree, and 
  • An audit by Metro IAF ally, Comptroller Scott Stringer on how NYCHA continues to cause leaks and mold, as well as waste money, through improper roof repair.

Metro IAF is continuing to work to ensure the public officials do not merely expose NYCHA’s wrong doing, but actually hold them accountable, and that the Federal Court fully implements the independent oversight contained in our revised mold consent decree, which could force NYCHA to actually improve living conditions for all of its tenants. 


Housing

"Stark! Cologne" Goes After Gyms that Discriminate and Empty City Apartments

Monday, July 29, 2019
Metro-IAF

Shortly before the summer holidays began, leaders from the north of Cologne kicked off public campaigns on two new issues that have been in the works for several months. Following up on stories heard in their mosque communities a team of young leaders did a systematic check of discriminatory practices by a local chain of fitness studios. Women with head scarves were forbidden to exercise and men who “looked foreign” were put on a waiting list, while their “German” counterparts were welcomed into membership. The firm refused to react to a hand delivered letter asking for a meeting and so at an assembly on July 5th the leaders launched a social media campaign to shame the owners into talking. (Link to instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/BzlIYh3INK1/ )


Housing

Summer Action of the Berlin Community Organizations: Important Victories, Challenge to the Politicians to Build Housing in Berlin

Tuesday, June 18, 2019
Metro-IAF

Five hundred Leaders from the four community organizations in Berlin (SO! Mit uns, Wir sind da!, Wir in Neukölln and Wir bewegen Spandau) gathered on June 18th on the 74 acre former industrial  site in Grünau where we proposed building some 3,000 units of affordable housing. Both borough and state officials were invited to justify their continued vociferous opposition to the plan. They failed to attend, and were called to task by the leadership. The fact remains that Berlin needs a minimum of 20,000 new units a year to accommodate its growing population. Current production is significantly below this number. We will keep up the fight both in Grünau and elsewhere in the city!


Housing

Anne Arundel Connecting Together Acts on Housing and Gun Safety

Thursday, June 13, 2019
Capital Gazette

ACT currently has 27 member and friend organizations including diverse faith groups, the local NAACP chapter, and Lighthouse (a homeless prevention support center). In the prior months, ACT led county-wide door-knocking campaigns, relational meetings, listening sessions, trainings, and education. ACT leaders met with county officials in advance of the action.

As a result of listening sessions and door-knocking, ACT leaders organized around the poor living conditions and mismanagement at subsidized apartment complex Woodside Gardens. At the June 13 action, ACT leaders living at Woodside Gardens spoke of the unlivable state of their apartments and the inadequate response of management. Invited before them was a representative of the managing company, Fairstead Affordable. After some wavering, the representative committed to address the issues raised by residents. These residents have subsequently met with management.


Housing

GCC Walks Neighborhood to Identify Blighted Properties

Saturday, June 8, 2019
Cleveland.com

On Saturday, June 8, 58 volunteers from 12 Greater Cleveland Congregations member congregations from across Cuyahoga County assembled at Noble Road Presbyterian Church in Cleveland Heights to participate in a half-hour training on how to identify deteriorating houses and then disperse in teams of two volunteers to walk the entire Noble Neighborhood in Cleveland Heights. The teams were tasked with identifying houses in seriously deteriorated condition so the GCC Cleveland Heights Housing Team can work to get these homes repaired.


Affordable Housing, Tenants Rights, Homelessness, Eviction, Rent, Immigration

MOC Wins Renters Protections in San Rafael, California

Thursday, June 6, 2019
Marin Independent Journal

Responding to dual threats of deportation and homelessness faced by low-income immigrants, Marin Organizing Committee (MOC) launched a careful campaign to explore how to protect tenants.  The campaign culminated in a major victory this week, with leaders persuading the San Rafael City Council to not only mandate mediation between tenants and landlords when rent increases exceed 5% per year, but also to implement 'just cause' for eviction standards.  San Rafael is the county seat of Marin County, one of the most expensive places to live in California, and home to 70% of Marin County renters....


Affordable Housing, Senior Housing, Mayor de Blasio

NYT Editorial: Mayor de Blasio, Keep Your Promise on Senior Housing

Thursday, May 9, 2019
New York Times

"Last June, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council speaker, Corey Johnson, stood before scores of older New Yorkers outside City Hall to celebrate the news that this year’s capital budget would include $500 million to build new housing for low-income seniors.

Yet, nearly a year later, it turns out that the money wasn’t in the budget, the plan wasn’t new and the senior housing envisioned hasn’t been built or financed....

Tawana Myers, a community activist from Brooklyn who lobbied the mayor for senior housing for years with the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation, said the city should simply honor its promise.

'We fought for this money,' she told The Times, recalling years of rallies. 'We came out in the rain, in wheelchairs.'"


Immigration, Job Training, Displacement

COPS/Metro Wins Pledges on Displacement Prevention, Job Training, Immigration & More

Friday, April 12, 2019
San Antonio Heron

One month in advance of mayoral and city council elections in San Antonio, almost 600 COPS/Metro leaders assembled at St. Patrick Catholic Church for a raucous assembly that began with a procession of matachines and culminated with a lineup of over 20 local incumbents and challengers pledging to support leaders' demands around property tax relief, housing affordability, job training, and supports for low-income immigrants....


Housing

New IAF Organization Launched In Anne Arundel County, MD: 1,100+ Leaders Unite, Pledge to Make the County a Better Place

Monday, November 19, 2018
ACT

 After two years of listening to communities, congregations and individuals, including 2,800 one-on-one conversations, over 1,100 leaders from Anne Arundel County packed First Christian Community Church for an inaugural action to commit to working together to make Anne Arundel a better place for everyone to live.

Key issues identified as priorities for the newest IAF organization, Anne Arundel Connecting Together (ACT) were: Affordable Housing, Safe and Effective Schools, Efficient and Useful Public Transportation, Freedom from Addiction and Mental Health Challenges, Just and Fair Immigration Policies and Gun Violence Reduction and Safety in the Community. ACT asked candidates for county council, state’s attorney and county executive in attendance if they would pledge to work with and meet regularly with ACT, and all but one agreed.


Housing

Jersey City Together Wins Final Authorization for $170 million in Bonding for 95-Acre Bayfront Site

Monday, November 19, 2018
Jersey City Together

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. On October 10th, 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 City and State of New Jersey required Honeywell to clean up the site after organizing pressure and a lawsuit by a previous IAF-affiliate in Jersey City called the Interfaith Community Organization. 


Housing

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

Monday, November 19, 2018
BUILD

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.


Affordable Housing, Downtown Durham

Durham CAN Pressures City Council to Prioritize Affordable Housing

Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Metro IAF

Over 100 leaders pressured Durham City Council to prioritize affordable housing on over 4 acres of city-owned land in the heart of Downtown Durham. As a result, the mayor presented a proposal that reflected Durham CAN's top priority and included all of their 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. CAN won strong press coverage, including a front page story in the local newspaper.


Community organizing in Virginia, accountability assembly

VOICE Secures Mayoral Candidate Pledges on Affordable Housing

Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Metro IAF
VOICE (link is external) and ARHA Resident Association Leaders presented the VOICE Issue Agenda in the context of the racial history of Old Town Alexandria. Following the presentation of 1,400+ voter pledge cards, VOICE received commitments from both mayoral candidates to work with VOICE on the following:
  • Working to enforce the affordable housing parameters set in the Housing Master Plan
  • Strengthening Resolution 830 to ensure preservation of public housing in the city
  • Ensuring a culture in public housing that encourages resident participation in the decision making of public housing
  • Increasing equity in public schools around suspension rates
  • Researching city contractors and sub-contractors to ensure that all people who work in the city can live in the city....

Affordable Housing, NYCHA, Black Mold, Asthma

NYCHA Nightmare: Creeping Black Mold Throughout Public Housing Apt.

Thursday, July 5, 2018
New York Daily News

When police entered the ninth-floor public housing apartment of 83-year-old Mary Ellison last winter in the Haber Houses in Coney Island, they beheld a gothic nightmare: thick black mold covering the walls and ceiling throughout the apartment.

EMTs were summoned and Ellison was immediately removed from the Brooklyn apartment and transported to nearby Coney Island Hospital....

 


WIN, Affordable Housing, Immigration Reform

WIN Organizes for Immigrant Legal Services, Affordable Housing

Monday, May 21, 2018
Metro IAF

On April 25th Washington Interfaith Network (link is external) (WIN) packed the basement of Sacred Heart Catholic Church with 304 leaders and 6 candidates vying for Council Member of Ward 1 in D.C. Sacred Heart is the largest immigrant church in DC and the turnout reflected that diversity. The action was WIN’s first attempt at doing an action in both English and Spanish, using 300 interpretation headsets. Demands were made for $2.5 million to expand legal assistance for immigrants, to build affordable housing on a piece of land owned by the National Parks Service, and to take on a slum landlord in the neighborhood.....


Jersey City Together

Jersey City Together Demands Action on Rent Control, Code Enforcement

Thursday, May 17, 2018
Hudson County View

Advocacy group Jersey City Together, along with Mayor Steven Fulop and other officials, announced aggressive rent control enforcement actions for tenants and landlords, during Tuesday’s open forum at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.....


Affordable Housing, Linkage Fee, Mayor Garcetti, economic homelessness

One LA Partners with Mayor on $100M Affordable Housing Fund

Sunday, February 11, 2018
West / Southwest IAF

500 One LA-IAF leaders assembled with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to discuss implementation of the recently passed linkage fee for affordable housing at St. Agnes Catholic Church, and to report on what is happening in their neighborhoods.  Representing the first community organization with which the Mayor met, leaders challenged him to more deeply collaborate with the organization in the next few months.

Leaders told poignant stories about illegal evictions (and threats of eviction) from garage apartment conversions in Pacoima, families with children hiding their homelessness in West LA, and youth and senior citizens battling despair in the face of daunting odds while “living rough” near La Placita Catholic Church downtown...


Affordable Housing, Urban Matters, Providence Place

WIN, UrbanMatters Advance 100 Units of Affordable Housing in DC

Sunday, January 28, 2018
Metro IAF

UrbanMatters, an affordable housing developer established in part by Washington Interfaith Network (WIN), is celebrating forward movement on a 100 unit housing development in Ward 7 of Washington, DC. Providence Place, which will be built on land of the Progressive National Baptist Convention Headquarters, received zoning approval from the DC Zoning Commission and finalized a Community Benefits Agreement. The project is expected to break ground by November of 2018.


Mayor Steven Fulop, Honewell, Toxic Waste Cleanup

Jersey City Together Persuades Mayor to Pledge 50% Affordability on Site

Monday, January 15, 2018
Jersey Journal

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.


http://www.swiaf.org/news/moc-wins-significant-step-on-renter-protection/

MOC Wins Significant Step for Renters Protection in Marin County

Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Marin Independent Journal

Less than a year after kicking off an organizing effort to address eviction threats in Marin County, the Marin Organizing Committee (MOC) won a significant victory.

On December 12, in response to pressure from MOC leaders, the Marin Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to support a mandatory mediation program for renters. The ordinance will require mediation when requested by a tenant or landlord for rent increases exceeding 5% per year. The ordinance would apply to unincorporated areas of Marin County which include approximately 8,300 renter-occupied units.  About 1 in 4 of those renters pay more than 50% of household income on rent...


Disaster Recovery, Hurricane Harvey, Texas IAF, organizing in Texas

For Renters, Harvey was the First Blow, Followed by Orders to Move

Friday, September 8, 2017
New York Times
"Members of The Metropolitan Organization, a group of Houston religious congregations, urged Houston’s City Council on Wednesday to establish a grace period for late September rent payments. The poor and undocumented were especially vulnerable, clergy members said.
 
“Many of them have not worked nine or 10 days now because their businesses have been blown away,” said the Rev. Edward Gomez, an Episcopal priest...."

affordable housing in Alexandria, Virginia IAF

Faith-Based Group Leans on Alexandria Council for Affordable Housing

Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Washington Post
An increasingly powerful coalition of faith-based activists won a commitment from a majority of the Alexandria City Council on Tuesday to increase support for public housing and affordable housing in the city.
 
About 200 supporters and members of Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE) jammed St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Alexandria to call for stronger commitments and more money to house lower-income residents who increasingly find themselves priced out of areas once affordable to them...

Fox River Valley Initiative, Dupage United, mixed-income housing

FRVI Pressures Batavia City Council to Accept Mixed Income Housing

Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Metro IAF & Kane County Chronicle

The Fox River Valley Initiative is fighting diligently to secure 8 YES votes for 80 units of mixed income housing in the city of Batavia, IL. 64 of the units would be affordable and 8 used for people with disabilities. At a recent housing forum, 140 people attended, with only 15 voices against the new development. 


San Fernando Valley, granny flats, economic homelessness in LAUSD

One LA Fights for Affordable Housing in the San Fernando Valley

Wednesday, June 7, 2017
One LA

As a way to act on the extraordinary pressures they experience around housing, San Fernando Elementary school leaders (including twenty parents and their Principal, Maria Awakian) and One LA’s education team testified before the San Fernando City Council.

Publicly speaking for the very first time, three parents shared how 1 of 8 children in San Fernando area schools experience some degree of homelessness, often resulting in disruptions of academic progress and difficulties in staying awake for class....


Affordable Housing, Durham City Council, Durham Housing Authority

Durham CAN Wins $4M for Affordable Housing

Tuesday, June 6, 2017
IndyWeek
The Durham City Council on Monday night approved a $4.162 million grant that will allow the Durham Housing Authority to buy back twenty acres of vacant land known as Fayette Place.
 
The money will come from the city’s general fund and can only be used to acquire the land and maintain it until it is sold or developed.
 
Development Ventures Incorporated, a real estate development company controlled by the Housing Authority, and Campus Apartments, which currently owns the land, have agreed to close on the deal no later than June 16.... 

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