Hear Our Voices: CVH March 2014 Update

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Community Voices Heard

Public Housing Committee Releases Report and Wins Victory

Community Voices Heard (CVH) is excited to announce the release of our latest report, Weathering the Storm: Rebuilding a More Resilient New York City Housing Authority Post-Sandy.  It was a collaborative effort with a group of organizing group partners and the support of the Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center and the Alliance for a Just Rebuilding.

The report, which was released on Wednesday, March 12th at a press conference on the steps of City Hall, is based on almost 600 surveys of NYCHA residents and reveals that public housing tenants in the areas most affected by Superstorm Sandy are still suffering from mold, inadequate heat, slow repairs, and a lack of job opportunities almost 17 months after the storm.

Our efforts were backed by a number of Council Members including Ritchie Torres, Chair of the Public Housing Committee, and Mark Treyger, Chair of the Recovery and Resiliency Committee.  The report release garnered extensive media coverage from the Wall Street JournalNY Daily NewsNY1City Limits, and The Epoch Times

NYCHA released a statement commending the report and committing to work with the organizations that produced the report to ensure that NYCHA residents are well prepared for future storms.  On March 23rd, the first victory came with an announcement by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Senator Chuck Schumer that the federal government will invest $100 million to replace Sandy- destroyed boilers in NYCHA Buildings.

Contact Sondra@CVHaction.org about the report or Mo@CVHaction.org for general public housing committee work.  A briefing and work session will be held on Wednesday, March 26th from 1pm - 3pm at the Community Service Socity of New York (105 E 22nd St at Park Ave, 4th Floor Conference Room) - RSVP to pconvey@urbanjustice.org.

Over 50 Groups Sign On In Support of Legislation Being Advanced by CVH Power

Community Voices Heard's Welfare & Workforce Committee is continuing to work with our sister organization, CVH Power, to advance legislation in Albany that would expand opportunities for welfare recipients (A7119aS5120a).  At the organization's recent statewide leadership retreat, CVH member-leaders were led through a "welfare skit", an exercise to understand the different elements of a campaign, and a lesson in the various Albany power players that are necessary to interact with in order to move legislation.

The Welfare and Workforce Committee held an ally briefing at the Transport Workers Union Local 100's offices in Brooklyn and over 50 organizations have signed on to a statement in support of the legislation.  On April 2nd, CVH Power will be heading up to Albany to speak directly to legislators about the importance of the legislation. 

If you'd like to join us on the trip to Albany, contact Jennifer@CVHpower.org.

Anti-Poverty Meetings Draw Large Crowds in Westchester County

In an exciting time of growth, CVH has continued to expand throughout Westchester County over the past four months.  CVH member-leaders, organizational collaborators and local activists have worked together with CVH organizers to hold anti-poverty meetings in the villages of Port Chester and Ossining.  Their efforts build upon the anti-poverty meetings that have already been held in Yonkers and White Plains, and the meetings that will be held in Mount Vernon, New Rochelle and Peekskill. 

So far, over 300 community members have come together to build power through these meetings. Alongside these community members are over 15 organizational collaborators, including St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Ossining, Parent Leadership/ Proyecto A.L.C.A.N.C.E., Ossining Parents Advocating Collectively for Our Children (OPACC), Ossining Public Library, Ossining Communities that Care, The Port Chester Latino Network & Council of Community Services, The Carver Center, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Port Chester, Don Bosco Workers, Inc., Human Development Services of Westchester, Port Chester Public Schools and the NAACP - Port Chester/Rye Chapter. These local meetings will lead to a county-wide anti-poverty summit, which will serve as a launching point for county-wide anti-poverty campaigns to address problems such as housing and jobs.

For more information or to get involved in Westchester County, contact Juanita@CVHaction.orgor Julia@CVHaction.org.

Team of CVH Leaders Participate in Statewide Leadership Retreat

In mid-February, a group of nearly 30 CVH leaders from all four CVH Chapters (NYC, Westchester, Orange and Dutchess) spent a weekend at Hidden Valley Camp in Fishkill, New York to hone their leadership skills and prepare for the organizing work ahead.

Leaders participated in and helped lead a variety of workshops including ones on: Power, One-to-Ones/ Relational Organizing, House Meetings, Political Power Players, Fundraising, and more.

Contact Stephen@CVHaction for more information about CVH's Leadership Development Program.

Gearing Up for 3rd NYC Participatory Budgeting Vote Week

CVH has been busy across New York City supporting outreach and engagement efforts in 10 City Council districts ready to have residents vote on how to spend at least $1 million of their capital discretionary resources.  Participatory Budgeting NYC gives real power to people to allocate real money.  Citywide Steering Committee Member Group Arts & Democracy organized creative workshops wherein community members made Science Fair-like art displays of the ideas they had developed.  Then, across New York City during the month of March, Project Expos were put on allowing community residents to share the projects they have been working on and are ready to put on the early April ballots.

CVH has deployed an energetic team of Organizers and Canvassers to boost outreach efforts and focus on traditionally disengaged populations as a way to ensure that the voters represent the diversity of the communities.  If you'd like to help out in the home stretch, contactChristopher@CVHaction.org to find out about the district nearest you and when you might hit the doors or the phone!  Or, sign up on the PBNYC website here.  Vote week is set for March 29th to April 6th.  A promo video, sample ballots, and voting sites (dates/ times/ locations), can be accessed at PBNYC.org.

Building Momentum for Major Changes in Newburgh's Housing

The City of Newburgh and Greater Newburgh Partnership began the process of changing the codes in the city of Newburgh, which have not been updated for at least 100 years.  CVH was a sought after partner to work with in giving critical grassroots feedback on the current zoning code.  One of the biggest issues that CVH was interested in seeing change has to do with the residential zoning of the Historical District in Newburgh (Census tracts 4 & 5) which is where the highest concentration of poverty is.  By changing this area from Residential 1 (meaning, single family homes) to Multi-use (which would allow for Single Room Occupancy and Single Family homes to be broken up into several units more effectively).

The CVH Newburgh Chapter is excited for the change and is looking forward to working with the city as they conduct inspections of property to make sure they are safe and up to code.

For more information or to get involved in our housing organizing work, contactRae@CVHaction.org

Poughkeepsie Chapter Provides Leadership for Transit Equity Fight

CVH's Poughkeepsie Chapter has been busy this winter, defending the City of Poughkeepsie buses and pushing for service restoration elsewhere in the County.  In March, CVH met with the Dutchess County Executive Mark Molinaro and his top staff to find ways to improve both City and County systems. The Chapter then went on to meet with the Mayor of Poughkeepsie to see if we could find common ground on public transportation.

While it’s great that the Chapter now has this access, we did not yet get commitments to fund reasonable levels of public transportation and our fight will continue.  People from all over the County are stepping up to demand improvements to public transit and a restoration of crippled service in Dutchess County. 

Member meetings this spring are on the 3rd Thursday of each month at 6pm at the Family Partnership Center.  Join CVH in building power for low-income Dutchess County residents. 

For more information, contact Blairg@CVHaction.org.

Second Annual Pie Off a Success!

CVH held its 2nd Annual Pie Off Friend- and Fund-raiser this month.  Nearly 20 pies were entered into the competition and were judged by three celebrity judges:

  • Council Member Brad Lander of District 39 in Brooklyn
  • Nancy Puglisi - Chef/ Owner of Kresendo (an Italian restaurant in Brooklyn)
  • Francis Lam - Editor-at-Large of Clarkson Potter, the Culinary Imprint of Random House and a judge on Top Chef Masters.

Thanks to everyone who came to enter a pie or just to eat, and thanks to for being an event sponsor.

If you missed the event, but would still like to make a donation to CVH, please do!

CVH Supports One Day On Earth NYC Documentation Effort

On April 26th, 2014 hundreds of filmmakers, non-profit organizations, and inspired citizens will document stories and investigate 10 questions for the future of New York City as part of a city-wide, participatory media-creation event. The resulting media will be showcased in an interactive geo-tagged archive and a TV series on the future of the American city. In addition, local media partners will showcase the most powerful and inspiring videos created during the one-day filmmaking event.

Find out more on the One Day On Earth website: http://onedayinnyc.org/

Upcoming Events

  • Participatory Budgeting NYC Vote Week is fromMarch 29th to April 6th for the 10 districts voting this year.  Learn more about the PBNYC initiative, what projects are on the ballot, who can vote, and where & when to vote at PBNYC.org.

  • CVH Power, our sister organization, will be taking buses and vans of people up to Albany on April 2nd to talk to legislators about the importance of expanding opportunities for welfare recipients.  If you'd like to join us, contact Jennifer@CVHPower.org.






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