Unions, Activists Align on Affordable Housing

August 19, 2014 - A group of New York City construction unions have forged a coalition with affordable housing activists to ratchet up pressure on Mayor Bill de Blasio to require organized labor in the building of 80,000 lower-cost apartment units over the next decade.

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7/23: Webinar on Climate Change

Webinar: Wednesday, July 23, 2014, Noon-1:00 PM EDT



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Announcing Victor Quintana's Retirement and Open Position at the UU Veatch Program

Victor Quintana, who has worked with the Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock since 1998, will retire as the Senior Program Officer/Assistant Director at the end of August 2014.

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Rise of the Renter Nation: Activists continue protest over housing access

By Jacqueline Tempera, Globe Correspondent - The Boston Globe, June 11, 2014. A coalition of community groups protested outside a foreclosed Dorchester home Tuesday and called for more affordable housing in Boston.

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Work and Place - Where you live may be hazardous to your health

Two reports show “place matters”. Elizabeth Grossman - June 4, 2014.

Where you live may be hazardous to your health. This is the conclusion of several recent reports and studies, among them a supplement to the most recent examination of health disparities by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and an analysis by the Environmental Justice and Health Alliance for Chemical Reform of those who live in communities most vulnerable to hazardous chemical exposures. Together the two paint a disturbing picture of how the neighborhoods in which Americans live and work play a significant role in determining their residents’ health. There should be no doubt about the prevalence of the health threat. Read the full article.


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Dark Money, Dirty War: The Corporate Crusade Against Low-Wage Workers

Public Research Associates has released a groundbreaking report, Dark Money, Dirty War: The Corporate Crusade Against Low-Wage Workers, and an accompanying timeline.

Corporate interests have taken credit for reducing private-sector unions to a fraction of their former strength, and for eroding public-sector collective bargaining, especially since the  2010 “Tea Party midterms.” A resurgence in low-wage worker organizing, sparked by growing inequality in the United States, promises to help defend the rights—and paychecks—of vulnerable workers. But corporations and their paid shills aim to snuff out the movement before it catches fire.

During an April 16 event at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Joe Kefauver—a lobbyist and PR man for the National Restaurant Association and the Convenience Store Association—warned the audience of business leaders about an emerging challenge to their corporate dominance. The threat comes, he said, from groups that “have the ability to leverage infrastructure to bring a multi-pronged attack, and force internal corporate changes [that] they wouldn’t have been able to get through [union] collective bargaining.”Though the organizing efforts the Chamber warns about take many forms, corporate PR lumps them together under the label “worker centers.”

Read more here.


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Report Released: Development Without Displacement - Resisting Gentrification in the Bay Area

On April 7, 2014, Causa Justa :: Just Cause released a new report that examines the effects of gentrification and displacement in San Francisco and Oakland neighborhoods, calling for urgent housing policy changes. The culmination of a year-long collaboration between Causa Justa::Just Cause (CJJC), a community-based organization, and the Alameda County Public Health Department, this report is a first of its kind combining neighborhood analysis using a quantifiable “gentrification typology,” with interviews of affected populations and public health research to present a comprehensive definition of gentrification in the Bay Area.

Gentrification is the process of social, cultural, and economic transformation that is taking place in many centrally located urban neighborhoods which have experienced historic disinvestment. It involves significant increases in rental and for-sale housing costs, the in-migration of higher-income, white, and college- educated residents and the out-migration of longtime residents, many of whom may be renters, low-income residents, and people of color.

As tenants in both San Francisco and Oakland reel under the highest rents in the nation, new development and investment is causing tremendous market pressures destabilizing everything from housing to health to political power.

Key Findings:

  • Rental housing costs in gentrifying neighborhoods surpass those of historically affluent neighborhoods in the city. In Oakland, neighborhoods in the latest stages of gentrification had higher median rents in 2011 than historically affluent neighborhoods such as Rockridge and the Oakland Hills.
  • There has been substantial and disproportionate displacement of African Americans in gentrifying neighborhoods, as well as a loss in African American homeownership. Between 1990 and 2011, the proportion of African Americans in all Oakland neighborhoods decreased by nearly 40%. Furthermore, African Americans dropped from being 50% to 25% of all homeowners in Oakland, and within the African American community, homeownership decreased while the share of renting households grew. During this same period of time, the number of white households in North Oakland increased by over 1,000 while the number of African Americans decreased by more than 2,000.
  • Gentrification affects housing quality and health and exacerbates inequities. Oakland neighborhoods in the latest stages of gentrification have the greatest disparity between African American and white mortality rates. San Francisco neighborhoods between early and late stages of gentrification saw rates of housing overcrowding increase in relation to the progression of gentrification.

The report offers concrete and powerful ways we can reverse the tide of displacement sweeping our neighborhoods. It asserts that gentrification is not the inevitable result of economic growth but the result of fundamentally unjust economic development policies and the widespread public disinvestment from historically marginalized communities.

“The impacts of this process then include things like loss of social, cultural and community cohesion, displacement, loss of housing security, environmental degradation, commodification and appropriation of culture and other affects,” said Dawn Phillips of CJJC, one of the report’s lead authors.

Dr. Muntu Davis, director of the Alameda County Public Health Department, said: “Gentrification’s impacts on public health are not often included in the public debate or understood, but it has serious public health consequences for longtime residents who stay, those forced to leave, and our broader society. For public health practitioners, preventing displacement may be the single greatest challenge and the most important task in our efforts to create healthy communities for all.”

Key Recommendations:

  • Community organizing and resident outreach in order for policies to be developed and implemented for maximum positive impact on populations who need them most.
  • Enforcement of existing protections against tenant harassment and habitability standards in rental properties.
  • Protections for vulnerable residents including just compensation and relocation assistance, right to return, and eviction protection.
  • Affordable housing policies and programs that serve the needs of people in the same neighborhood.
  • Policies must be advanced to address the specific stage of gentrification a neighborhood is experiencing.

Calendario Melendez, CJJC member and Mission district resident, wrote in the forward: “This report describes some of the important policies that can help deal with the negative effects of gentrification. It is urgent that we push for as many of these as possible. We need to realize our shared strength and vision. We need to take action together. It’s not easy to go up against rich and powerful people, and I hope our report will inspire communities in the Bay Area and around the country to do that.”


For more information, contact:

Adam Gold, adam@cjjc.org

Sherri Willis, sherri.willis@acgov.org

For a full copy of the report, visit Causa Justa::Just Cause online.

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Job Opening: Program Manager for NFG's Working Group on Labor and Community Partnerships


The NFG Working Group on Labor and Community Partnerships seeks an experienced manager with strong program development and organizing skills to shepherd its programming, leadership development, and membership expansion. The ideal candidate has 7+ years of experience in social justice work and/or philanthropy, as well as a demonstrated commitment to labor, economic and racial justice, strong experience organizing and group support skills, an easy rapport with a wide variety of people, and an excellent sense of humor.

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RFP from Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance

Request for Proposals: Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance

Raise the Floor: Improving the Quality of Low-Wage Work for Workers, for Businesses and for Communities

Release Date: April 25, 2014      Due Date: June 20, 2014

The Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance collaborates with employers and other workforce stakeholders to increase employment and earnings for underprepared workers in the Chicago region. The work of the Funder Alliance is built upon the recognition that a skilled workforce creates competitive advantages for regional economic and community development. This recognition has led the Funder Alliance to identify five strategic priorities, which are:

  1. Support for new and existing workforce partnerships in high-priority industry sectors that lead to higher earnings, credential attainment and career advancement for underprepared Chicago-area residents;
  2. Aligning workforce development and economic development activities;
  3. Policy and systems reform that facilitates access to and delivery of effective education and training;
  4. Improvements to data collection, analysis and use leading to more efficient service delivery, high-quality services and better consumer information; and
  5. Workforce innovation.

Questions and Responses to: Matthew Bruce, Executive Director mbruce@cct.org / 312-565-2161 

Full RFP available here.


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NFG Blog: Voices from Our Members

Check out NFG's member blog, featuring a post from Kevin Ryan, Program Director, New York Foundation: On April 2 and 3, Neighborhood Funders Group hosted From Boston to New York: Is a More Just City Possible?, a two-day learning tour that focused on the promise of both cities’ new mayoral administrations to be more transparent and accountable, and to develop strategies that bridge the income gap between the wealthy and the poor. Read the full post here.

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