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VOICE in the News

  • Sun, 03/25/2012 : Arlington Sun Gazette

    Advocates for increasing the county government’s commitment to affordable-housing initiatives are basing their efforts on real-world stories from those impacted by the decline in Arlington housing options.

    Among them: Ingrid Dale Chavez, a teacher at St. Charles School who grew up in Northern Virginia but is among a cadre of young professionals living with their parents because of the high cost of housing.

  • Sun, 03/11/2012 : Washington Post

    In October, several Northern Virginia religious congregations gathered at Freedom High School in Woodbridge to discuss housing issues in Prince William County and demand action...Representatives from Bank of America and J.P. Morgan Chase promised support for the county in various ways. But there is another corporate player Prince William's religious leaders would like to join them at the table: General Electric. Leaders say, however, that they have been rebuffed by GE as they have looked for ways to work with the company.

  • Tue, 03/06/2012 : iWatch News

    A crowd of Northern Virginia residents and clergy members marched to General Electric's offices in Washington DC today, demanding that the company's CEO, Jeffrey Immelt, take responsibility for helping homeowners who received subprime loans from the company's now-closed mortgage arm, WMC Mortgage Corp.

  • Tue, 02/07/2012 : Reston Connection

    Organization has raised $150,000, needs another $50,000 to provide free dental care. As a dentist practicing for 11 year, Kristin Donohue says she has seen plenty of lives that have been transformed by access to dental care. As a volunteer at a dental clinic that offers free care in Bailey’s Crossroads she has also seen her fair share of people who don’t have that access.

  • Fri, 02/03/2012 : Fairfax Times

    The Rev. Rebecca Messman became an activist in support of low-cost dental care after she heard the story of a man in her community who extracted four of his own molars because he was in pain and had no money to pay for professional dental services.

    “That, for me, really made this such a personal issue, and it’s a thing that a lot of people would assume would never happen in our country,” said Messman, associate pastor at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Herndon.

    Messman was one of more than 350 people representing five faith communities that gathered Sunday at St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Reston to show their support for affordable dental care in Northern Virginia.

    About 63 percent of adults in the region with incomes less than $40,000 have not seen a dentist in the past two years, according to a Northern Virginia Health Foundation survey released in September. This compares to 9 percent of higher-income adults.

    Cost of care was cited as the biggest barrier to seeking dental care, according to the survey.

    Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement is trying to help make more low-cost dental care available by spearheading a fundraising effort to hire a full-time dentist to serve low-income, uninsured patients at the Northern Virginia Dental Clinic in Sterling.

  • Mon, 01/30/2012 : Herndon Patch

    County leaders announce donations, group vows to seek more, at meeting in Reston.

    Faith community members and local leaders met at St. John Neumann Church in Reston on Sunday in support of expanding dental care for low-income adults in the area.

    More than 350 members of faith communities and civic organizations in the Reston-Herndon gathered under the banner of V.O.I.C.E. (Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement). Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova and Virginia Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston), along with other elected leaders, voiced their support for the V.O.I.C.E. effort to put a full-time dentist dedicated to serving Fairfax residents at the Sterling location of the Northern VA Dental Clinic.

  • Wed, 01/25/2012 : Reston Patch

    Nearly 200 people from five faith communities in the Reston-Herndon area will meet with Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston) and Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova to build support for a concrete strategy to address the lack of access to dental care in western Fairfax County.

  • Wed, 01/18/2012 : News & Messenger

    MANASSAS, Va. -- There may be some children in Georgetown South who want to go to the Boys and Girls Club after school, but can’t because they didn’t have a way to get there.

    Now they do.

  • Thu, 12/08/2011 : Dale City Patch

    One of the first things you notice upon entering Holy Family Catholic Church off Ferndale Road is a large bin for food donations to supply the parish’s food pantry.

  • Fri, 11/04/2011 : News Channel 8

    In our second half hour, we spoke with Rev. Keith Savage, and Rev. Clyde Ellis of VOICE. The organization is helping victims of the foreclosure crisis in Prince William County, and making sure big banks are being held accountable for their role.

  • Thu, 11/03/2011 : NPR

    President Obama's new plan to help millions of people stay in their homes by refinancing their mortgages at low rates raised hopes of easing the housing crisis.

    But federal budget cuts have sharply reduced the number of housing counselors who can help distressed homeowners in the nation's hardest hit communities. Banks that own the properties are slow to pick up the tab.

  • Mon, 10/31/2011 : WAMU 88.5

    The foreclosure crisis is striking Prince William County, Va. particularly hard and homeowners there are demanding banks work with the community to stem the tide.

    Homeowners in Woodbridge are furious with big banks. Many families report that banks have lost their payment information or their mortgage papers, yet the financial institutions still proceed with foreclosures anyway. On top of that, 6,000 families are behind on their mortgage payments, even though interest rates are at historic lows.

  • Mon, 10/31/2011 : Washington Post

    Members from more than 40 religious institutions across Northern Virginia are asking some of the country’s largest banks to commit to helping rebuild neighborhoods that have been devastated by housing foreclosures.

  • Mon, 10/31/2011 :

    Prince William County area activists continue to work with financial institutions on solving the area's foreclosure crisis. At an event Sunday, Bank of America pledged money to pay for three HUD-certified housing counselors.

  • Wed, 09/21/2011 : WAMU 88.5

    Prince William County has the highest rate of foreclosures in Virginia, and residents of one neighborhood who blame the foreclosure rate on the practice of 'robo-signing,' are demanding accountability from the banks and an investigation by state officials. At the height of the foreclosure crunch, approximately 25 percent of homes in the Georgetown South development in Manassas were foreclosed and vacant.

  • Tue, 09/20/2011 : Channel 8 News

    Over the summer of 2011, a team of more than 30 VOICE citizen investigators conducted research into how the “robo-signing scandal” – a national news story profiled on 60 Minutes, in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and more – affected Prince William County, Manassas, & Manassas Park. In the jurisdiction with the most foreclosures in the state of Virginia (more than 16,000) and the 26th highest percentage of underwater properties in the United States (47.4%), these investigators uncovered clear patterns. Many of the documents filed with the Prince William Clerk of Court appeared to have been produced without proper oversight, to have been hurriedly signed and completed, and to be potentially fraudulent. VOICE found obviously mis-matched signatures from bank officials and notary publics; they also found that at least 45% of the documents they analyzed were produced at sites under federal, state, or national media investigation for robo-signing.

  • Tue, 09/20/2011 :

    The Georgetown South Community was built in the mid 1960s and was considered a standout neighborhood at the time. It was the first of its kind—row houses built in the likeness of Georgetown on the Potomac River.

    Fast forward several years; past the real estate crash and foreclosure crisis and that same neighborhood of 860 units has 75 vacant properties.

  • Tue, 09/20/2011 : Washington Post

    Lenders may have foreclosed on hundreds of homeowners in Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park using unreliable, “robo-signed” documents, according to a report by the group Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement.

  • Mon, 08/22/2011 : Sun Gazette

    What started out as an effort to get a local bus route extended has turned into a growing sense of civic engagement.
    That was the view of the roughly 250 people who turned out at Greenbrier Baptist Church on Aug. 20, celebrating the upgraded service on Arlington Transit (ART) Route 45.

  • Sat, 08/20/2011 : News & Messenger

    Luis Lemus is more than just a college student and activist for Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement.

    He is also the spokesperson for families in Prince William County staring down the barrel of foreclosure thanks to potentially fraudulent practices associated with robo-signing.