Webinar Recap - Stabilizing Communities: Advancing Housing Justice Organizing and Policy Strategies in This Political Moment

Across the country, resident-led institutions and their allies continue to build organizing strategies that address housing, displacement, and gentrification at the local, regional, and state level. Strategies and solutions to gentrification and displacement like rent control measures, passing local ballot initiatives for renter protections, developing community land trusts, and financing affordable housing has had some success, but the demographics of many communities are still rapidly changing.

At the center of these shifts, philanthropy continues to play a critical role investing in expanding the power of low-income communities to build local decision-making. How will federal level changes exacerbate challenges at the city-level? How are community groups connecting to other local challenges? What are some of the strategies emerging in 2017 that teams are working on to address the housing crisis? 

Participants in this webinar heard from funders and field leaders building community-led power to combat displacement and disinvestment in local neighborhoods.

Speakers:

For more information, please contact Nile Malloy, Senior Program Manager of the Democratizing Development Program, at nile@nfg.org.

Speaker Bios:

  • Dawn Phillips has been an organizer engaged in a range of social, economic and environmental justice organizations and fights in the Bay Area and nationally for almost 25 years. He is currently the Co-Director of Programs at Causa Justa :: Just Cause, a Bay Area membership organization focused on community development, housing and immigrant justice issues. CJJC builds grassroots power and community leadership through rights-based services, policy campaigns, civic engagement, direct action and movement building. CJJC strives to improve conditions both in the neighborhoods we organize in and regionally, as well as to contribute to building the larger multi-racial, multi-generational movement needed for fundamental change.

Dawn leads the local, regional and national policy campaign work for the organization and was lead author on CJJC’s report “Development Without Displacement: Resisting Gentrification in the Bay Area”. This was a study on the impacts of gentrification and displacement on working class communities of color, which included policy recommendations for addressing these issues. Dawn has also authored several articles on topics ranging from equitable development, to organizing and movement building.

Dawn is also Executive Director of the Right to the City Alliance, a formation of over 55 community organizations based in 33 cities and 18 states around the country. The alliance is dedicated to building a strong housing and urban justice movement nationally and internationally through an urban human rights framework. The Alliance anchors “Homes For All” a national housing justice campaign fighting to improve housing affordability and access, strengthen tenants rights, increase the availability of healthy, sustainable housing and promote community ownership and control of housing. Causa Justa :: Just Cause is a founding member of the Right to the City Alliance and prior to coming on as Executive Director, Dawn served as Board Chair for the Alliance.

  • Sasha Hauswald: Prior to serving as Director of State and Local Policy at Grounded Solutions Network, Sasha was Senior Program Officer at Cornerstone Partnership, where she led Cornerstone’s inclusionary housing engagements and activities. Before that, Sasha worked in at the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development where she oversaw legislative affairs, strategic planning, and program evaluation projects as Public Policy manager.

Sasha received her BA from Wesleyan University and her Master of Public Policy Degree from the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. Before working in housing policy, Sasha was a caseworker with foster youth in New York City. Family reunification was a near impossibility for parents without stable housing, and she saw many children trapped in foster care while their parents struggled to find adequate homes for their families. She came to fully appreciate that having a home is a prerequisite for nearly any type of personal achievement. Whether it’s overcoming addiction, career advancement, improving health, or simply bonding with children, decent and affordable housing provides an essential foundation.

  • Felicia Griffin is the Executive Director for FRESC: Good Jobs, Strong Communities. She joined FRESC in 2013 after working as the Operations Director for the Colorado Center on Law and Policy. Felicia started her work in social and economic justice in 2002 and has worked as a research associate, deputy director, consultant, interim director, president and program manager since then. Felicia has worked on economic security policy on the state and national level (in partnership with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities) and has worked on statewide organizing campaigns to increase Medicaid enrollment for children in poverty. She also has led a campaign funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation called “Race Matters: Policy through a Racial Lens” that focused on reducing disparities for communities of color in housing, employment, health and education. She represents FRESC on the board of the Partnership for Working Families, the national network to which FRESC belongs. Felicia is also the current Chair of the Aurora Human Relations Commission.

Felicia grew up in Aurora, Colorado and was raised by a single mother. Felicia knows firsthand what a good job means to a struggling family. In her first job she was a member of UFCW Local 7 (King Soopers) and she became a union steward at 16 year old. She is committed to opening the doors of opportunity for all workers and their families. Felicia believes in FRESC and feels her experience and passion have led her to this awesome organization.

  • Ed Whitfield is a social critic, writer and community activist who has lived in Greensboro since 1970. He is co-Managing Director of the Fund for Democratic Communities.

    Originally from Little Rock, Arkansas, Ed’s political activism started with attending Little Rock Central High School and beginning to do anti-war work as a teenager. Ed retired after 30 years in industry before becoming involved with philanthropy. He now speaks and writes on issues of cooperatives and economic development while continuing to be interested in issues of war and peace, as well as education and social responses to racism. Ed serves on the boards of Carolina Common Enterprise and Highlander Research and Education Center.