2007 Nehemiah Action Results


IMPACT’s first Nehemiah Action was held March 15, 2007. It was a great event on many levels: the amount of participation exceeded the capacity of the MLK Performing Arts Center (over 1600 sign-ups), the coming together of so many different faith communities unified in addressing social justice issues in the community, and the participation by many public officials. While the concept of grassroots, interfaith organizations addressing social justice issues is not new in this country, it is certainly new to Charlottesville and Albemarle County. We were very pleased with this first annual event.

Highlights:
– Enthusiastic, capacity crowd that did a great job of expressing respect and gratitude toward our public officials (this was the largest, first Nehemiah Action meeting in the history of DART).

– IMPACT’s 25th congregation, Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church, signed the Covenant Agreement.

– The City Councilors agreed to call this a public meeting and City Councilors Norris, Taliaferro & Lynch and Mayor Brown participated and responded to IMPACT’s proposals.

– Albemarle County Board of Supervisors (BOS) did not call this a public meeting. Five BOS attended and Supervisors Slutzky and Boyd responded to IMPACT’s proposals.

Public Transportation Solutions & Results:
1. Establish Sunday daytime bus service on the two most heavily traveled CTS routes, the free trolley and route #7, with buses every 30 minutes.
* Councilors Norris & Taliaferro agreed to support this solution.
* Post Action Update: City Council has approved a budget with this service and it will start this summer.

2. Establish daytime bus service to Southwood and 5th St. Extended County Office Building.
* Supervisor Slutzky agreed to support this solution.
* Post Action update: This service has started!

3. Add 5 hours of night service to route #5, with buses every 45 minutes.
* Supervisor Slutzky agreed to support this solution.
* Post Action update: Albemarle County allocated an additional $250K to expand public transport. Our request for night service on route 5 is a strong possibility for use of these monies.

Affordable Housing Solutions & Results:
1. Support the city’s adoption of the Charlottesville Affordable Housing Investment Program (CAHIP) proposal with the original funding of $500K for Special Needs Housing and $500K for Public housing, the two categories of CAHIP serving people who make $20,000 or less.
* Councilors Norris & Taliaferro agreed to support this solution.
* Post Action update: City Council has approved a budget with CAHIP.

2. Secure an additional $420K or 1 cent set aside of the property tax dollar, allocated toward the creation of new affordable units for 0-30% AMI.
* Councilors Norris & Taliaferro agreed to support this solution.
* Post Action update: With this proposal we were asking the City to expand their housing proposal from $1 million to $1.42 million dollars per year. City Council has approved a budget that allocates $1.75 million dollars this year and a commitment to a total investment of at least $5 million over the next 5 years!

3. Creation of a Regional Affordable Housing Task Force comprised of decision makers from Charlottesville and Albemarle County to (1) develop a plan to create at least 150 additional housing units over the next 5 years for those earning less than $20,000 (0-30% AMI) and (2) keep these units affordable to this income category for at least 15 years. The Task Force will come up with an implementation schedule and funding plan. This plan will be presented to IMPACT congregations at the Oct 15 Assembly.
* Councilors Norris & Taliaferro agreed to support this solution.
* Supervisor Slutzky agreed to support this solution.
* Leonard Sandridge, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of UVA, agreed to provide a University representative to this task force.
* Post Action update: We are currently following up with public officials.

Next Steps:
– Continue to observe and participate in City and County budget work sessions and meetings.
– Continue building Justice Ministry Networks within congregations.
– Support IMPACT financially through Member Support Drive during May and June.

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