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- 11-1-06 - JUFJ organizes in support of DC Living Wage
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Making the Purple Line Fair
The Purple Line promises to create positive change: commuting time will be drastically reduced, allowing workers to spend more time with their families and less time in cars, subways or buses. Thousands of cars will come off the road, benefiting the environment, and economic opportunities will increase.
But for many residents in Langley Park, a neighborhood on the border between Montgomery County and Prince George's County, the construction of the purple line could mean the loss of their homes or apartments, and the destruction of the communities they have called home for years.
The Langley Park community includes a large immigrant population and a vibrant local business scene. Construction of the purple line through this community would likely spur more development, but it is important that the people who currently live there get to enjoy the benefits of the purple line, instead of being priced out of their homes and businesses.
If their housing is not protected, the ethnically diverse community that currently lives in the neighborhood could no longer afford to do so. If local businesses are not protected, they could find their livelihoods threatened and leave as well, destroying the essential character of the community.
Having achieved much of what we set out to achieve, and given the significant impact of ongoing local and federal investigations into corruption in Prince George's County housing issues, we are downgrading the campaign to a less active status. Campaign members are maintaining their relationships with Langley Park activists and CASA de Maryland staff so we can respond quickly if needed to support future efforts to preserve affordable housing, prevent displacement, and make sure the Purple Line gets built in an equitable way.
Click here for more on affordable housing policy options.
Wins on the Fair Purple Line Campaign
June 2009: JUFJ organized 60 supporters to be visibly present and testify in favor of affordable housing at the initial public hearing on the Takoma/Langley Crossroads sector plan. We also organized letters of written testimony and an open letter from Prince George's County rabbis that appeared in several local papers. This resulted in significant revisions to the sector plan: elimination of plans to replace current affordable housing units with new roads, strengthened language about the need for affordable housing, and removed offensive language about affordable housing.
Summer/Fall 2009: JUFJ won two critical commitments from the Prince George’s planning board. After JUFJ and our allies organized to lobby the planning board to do so, it convened PG’s first-ever affordable housing working group. FPL members and JUFJ staff participated in working group meetings. JUFJ and our allies won an agreement from the planning board that no rezoning (i.e., no approval of the sectional map amendment) would occur before the creation and approval of a comprehensive affordable housing strategy for Langley Park. As far as we are aware, this agreement is still in force and there is no intention to rezone Langley Park at the moment.
2009-2010: JUFJ organized and convened an allied group of affected business owners, residents, social service providers, community organizing groups, area clergy, and local university students. Group met several times over the year and worked together on community outreach and education, including a big educational event at La Union mall.
March 2010: JUFJ successfully helped prevent Jack Johnson’s attempted ouster of Sam Parker, the planning board chair and a friend of affordable housing. We organized our membership to submit written and oral testimony in support of Chairman Parker. Rabbi Richman’s letter to the editor about this was chosen as the Washington Post’s “Community Voices” segment of the day and published on the same page as the editorials.
2009-2011: The campaign organized multiple important educational events to help JUFJ’s membership and our allies understand the issues at stake. We did panel discussions, presentations on how affordable housing works, tours of Langley Park for the working group and for 16 Jeremiah Fellows, etc.
2009-2011: Our educational and advocacy efforts resulted in excellent media coverage: several letters in the Washington Post, an article and several mentions in Greater Greater Washington, articles in the local Maryland papers, mentions on various blogs, etc. The collective media attention increased awareness about housing and displacement issues in Langley Park and would likely not have occurred without JUFJ’s work.
Spring/Summer 2011: Several non-profit housing developers read or heard about JUFJ’s work and contacted us to ask how they might be useful and get involved in Langley Park. The planning commission said getting such developers involved is one of the most important ways to help preserve the neighborhood.