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Landlord Puts Families at Risk of Homelessness; Immigrant Tenants & MOC Fight Back Despite the Odds

Despite fear of eviction, forty tenants in San Rafael, CA worked with Marin Organizing Committee (MOC) and Marin Legal Aid to fight back against a 40% rent increase that puts most of their families at risk of homelessness or displacement. After a change in ownership, rent was increased by $700 a month with only 60 days notice.

Marin Organizing Committee called upon the landlord to negotiate with the tenants and called upon the City of San Rafael and the County of Marin to put stronger renter protections in place. San Rafael City Mayor Gary Phillips, Marin County Supervisor Dennis Rodoni, and San Rafael School Superintendent Mike Watenpaugh pledged support moving forward.

Having successfully advocated the passage of a Mandatory Mediation Ordinance in 2017, MOC is now pushing for passage of a Just Cause Eviction ordinance which would establish a set of criteria for eviction and provide stronger protections for tenants in a County with historically weak recourse for renters.

San Rafael Activists Decry Canal Rent Surge, Marin Independent Journal

Evening News Segment (Segment 7, Minute 21:38), KPFA 94.1

Video Clip

George Russell: Troubled Waters in San Rafael's Canal, Marin Independent Journal 


DAI Parish ID Effort Featured in HBO Special

In response to undocumented families expressing fear about reporting crimes -- even when they themselves are victims -- because of an inability demonstrate who they are, Dallas Area Interfaith and the Dallas Catholic Diocese worked together to create a solution. 

Last year, 1,500 leaders stood with Bishop Edward Burns to invite three police department chiefs to allow their officers to accept parish identification cards, in order to help build trust between the community and the police.  Police department chiefs from Carrollton, Farmers Branch and Dallas agreed.

This year, parishes in the Dallas Catholic Diocese have issued tens of thousands of parish identification cards to parishioners, who now feel more confident in relating to the police.  HBO covers this story in a special segment: 

Catholic Church is Now Issuing Undocumented Immigrants ID Cards, HBO


TMO Gets Out The Vote for Harris Co. Bond Election

TMO leaders organized seven civic academies across Harris County to educate voters about an upcoming County Bond election.  Guests, including Bayou City Initiative’s Jim Blackburn, Harris County Flood District Representatives, and Commissioner Ellis’ staff, joined the meetings.

TMO leaders then organized follow up phone banks to reach thousands of voters during the early voting period. 


Valley Interfaith Fights for Flood Relief for McAllen Colonias

Valley Interfaith leaders from South McAllen colonias -- specifically from Balboa, Hermosa and Idela -- organized a press conference calling on the City to allocate funding for neighborhoods most in need of flood assistance.  With over $50 million to be invested in flooding infrastructure over the next five years, Valley Interfaith says that neighborhoods on the Southside are getting shortchanged. 

Said Pastor Alejandro Flores of San Juan Diego Catholic Church, "I know McAllen is a large area, but we want the response to be proportionate to the need where ever it may be."  Flores says the city itself has admitted that the southwest was one of the hardest hit areas during the floods.

[Photo Credit: Joel Martinez, The Monitor]

Frustrated South McAllen Residents Plead for Relief from June Rains, The Monitor [pdf]

Hardest Hit Flood Areas Say Not Enough Projects Being Proposed, KVEO [pdf]


COPS/Metro Leverages $15 Per Hour Living Wage in San Antonio Draft Budget

[Excerpt below]

For the first time in city history, the lowest-paid municipal workers are set to begin earning $15 an hour — a major victory for COPS/Metro Alliance, which has been advocating for a living wage for several years.

Scully to Present $2.8 Billion Budget with Flat Tax Rate, San Antonio Express-News [pdf]


COPS / Metro Says, "Let the Children Play"

Early this year, 200 COPS/Metro leaders assembled to fight for the future of Beacon Hill Dual Language Academy.  One issue raised by leaders was the restriction of children from access to a playground that had been fenced off because debris from a vacant, crumbling building could potentially hit children.  Though the SAISD building had lain vacant for 20 years, with no plans in place for renovation or replacement, COPS / Metro leaders accepted a commitment from a sitting Council Member to identify funding for its renovation. 

With a new school year approaching, and no money in sight, leaders are insisting that the building must be removed so that children can be granted access to their playground.  The San Antonio Express News agrees, stating:

The desire to preserve what once was is commendable, but in this case it obscures the present...

It’s time to move forward, and let the kids play.

[Photo Credit: Josh Brodesky, Express News]

City Should Let SAISD Tear Down School, San Antonio Express-News [pdf]


TMO Leverages Commitment of First City in Texas for 'Do Not Stand Idly By' Strategy

At a gathering of 100 clergy and leaders from diverse faith communities at Congregation Beth Israel, TMO succeeded in leveraging the support of Houston Chief of Police Art Acevedo, making Houston the first city in Texas to support the 'Do Not Stand Idly By' campaign for gun safety. 

The ceremonial signing was preceded by remarks by Rabbi Joel Mosbacher (Metro IAF), Mr. Ernesto Cortes Jr. (West / Southwest IAF), and Houston Chief of Police Art Acevedo about the pressing need for an effective strategy.  Rabbi Mosbacher described the 'Do Not Stand Idly By' campaign as a market-based approach to entice gun manufacturers to develop safe(r) gun technologies that make it more difficult for stolen guns to  be used and / or sold on the black market.  Cortes described the importance of building lasting power through relationships and community organizing.  Chief Acevedo expressed his support for the strategy, and agreed to sign on.

This win makes Houston the second major US city to sign on to the campaign, Los Angeles being the first due to efforts by One LA.

HPD Joins Do Not Stand Idly By Campaign, Which Aims to Bring Down Gun Violence by Upping Gun Industry Standards, CW39 Houston

Houston Might Join Campaign for Gun Safety Focusing on Manufacturer, Houston Public Media

Lanzan Una Campaña Enfocada en Prevenir la Violencia con Armas de Fuego en Houston, Univisión


EPISO, Border Interfaith Call for Humane Immigration Policy

[Excerpt below]

"In light of ...sacred traditions and in light of our immigrant story as a nation, EPISO and Border Interfaith call upon the federal government to negotiate a fair and humane immigration reform policy that serves the common good of both our country and those who seek a better life here, fleeing from fear and violence in their countries..."

Read Statement below:

EPISO, Border Interfaith Call for Human Immigration Policy, El Paso Times [pdf]

[Photo Credit: Mark Lambie, El Paso Times]


COPS/Metro Says City Should Fulfill Promise of 'New Money' for Housing Repairs, San Antonio Express News Agrees

[Excerpts below]

It was celebrated as millions in new funding for housing renovation.

Last August, at a time when federal funds for home repairs and renovations for low-income homeowners appeared to be dwindling, the city had “found” $4.7 million to bolster those efforts, tapping unspent federal housing grants. This would be in addition to $1.8 million in new funding. Together, the $6.5 million would repair 81 homes.

But it turns out much of that $4.7 million was already allocated to home repair projects. It might not have been spent, but it also wasn’t available.

“The money was not there,” said Maria Tijerina of COPS/Metro Alliance. “It wasn’t new money. It was old money.”

....“This wasn’t some misunderstanding,” said Walker Moore, interim lead organizer for COPS/Metro.

To the degree possible, the city should apply new funds to home repairs for the upcoming budget — funds that can be spent and honor what COPS/Metro and others thought was happening in August.

[Photo Credit: Carolyn Van Houten / San Antonio Express News]

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