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Current Issues

In April 2011 we launched the Foreclosure & Subprime Lending Accountability Campaign because the Prince William area had the highest number of foreclosures in Virginia – more than 16,000 - and had the 26th highest percentage of underwater mortgages in the country with 47.4% of  homes underwater.

Over the last 2 years VOICE has organized an unprecedented base of homeowners and faith community members to target financial institutions General Electric, Bank of America, and JP Morgan Chase through direct action organizing. 

So far we have $30 million in commitments for VOICE's Prince William Restoration Fund from BofA, GE, & VA Housing Development Authority (VHDA). The fund will support a pilot to rehab 100 abandoned / blighted and develop 1,500 new units of rental housing over the next 15 years in NoVA.  Read the summary of VOICE's Foreclosure Campaign Victories.

So far JPMorgan has refused to contribute to the Restoration Fund.  In 2014 VOICE is organizing to hold them accountable for their role in the Foreclosure Crisis.

In the 2011-2012 school year VOICE started training leaders from area faith communities, schools, sports teams and communities centers to organize "house meetings", small group listening sessions, to put a face on the urgent need for more afterschool activities and better recreation facilities for Route One/Mt Vernon youth. 

So far our organizing has:

  • Increased the number of youth from Audubon Mobile Home Park, a heavily-immigrant community, involved in soccer & secured a commitment from the manager to build a mini-soccer field on the property, and
     
  • Won $3 million from Fairfax County & FCPS to renovate the athletic fields at West Potomac & Mount Vernon high schools to synthetic turf.

In 2014 we plan to work with more talented parents, school staff, and youth on this type of organizing.

Early on, VOICE gained a reputation for organizing tenants to address housing code violations and improve their living conditions. Now we want to build broad constituencies of organizations (churches and other community organizations) strong enough to preserve and build affordable and permanent supportive housing in key areas.

  • Arlington - In March 2012 VOICE launched the Arlington Affordable Housing Campaign focused on identifying county land that can be redeveloped and winning dedicated revenue for affordable housing.
     
  • Alexandria - VOICE Alexandria leaders are conducting a relational meeting campaign doing in congregations, apartment complexes, and other institutions across the city to put a face on the affordable housing crisis and build toward an affordable housing campaign.
     
  • Central Fairfax - VOICE congregations in Fairfax City and Braddock District have launched an organizing drive to determine what it would take to deliver 250 units of affordable housing — including housing for chronically homeless individuals and families, transitional / workforce housing and apartments for seniors ― in Central Fairfax.

In June 2012 VOICE launched a seniors campaign in McLean Falls Church honoring the religious imperative in Psalm 71, “Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone.”  VOICE's organizing of a broad group of religious and civic institutions in the area won funding for a seniors programming staff person at the McLean Community Center, and  additional classes and lectures for those over 55 starting in January of 2013.  Now we are working to see if we can broaden our constituency and work on ohter issues inclduing efficient transportation options for seniors.