The Social Justice Vision at Stephen S. Wise Temple

Our congregation will see Social Justice as a calling that derives from our sense of God and the imperative of Jewish Tradition. The Stephen S. Wise Temple community will use our influence, power and compassion to be a force for positive, meaningful and effective change in the quality of life on behalf of all the citizens of Los Angeles and the world.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Solving LA's Housing Crisis One Meeting at a Time!

Posted by Ron Stern

On Thursday, March 19th I joined a group of clergy, community activists and others for a meeting in Councilman Herb Wesson's office. Herb (as he invited all of us to call him) represents the 10th City Council District; see his web site here. He is chair of the Housing Committee of the City Council. As I have mentioned, there is a groundswell of activism for workforce affordable housing throughout the city and a large number of organizations are mobilizing their forces to pressure city hall for meaningful legislation. Many cities in California and across the country have such legislation on their books including San Francisco, Sacramento and West Hollywood.

Advocates are lobbying for a 25% affordable housing mandate either through actual units or in-lieu of payments for every housing unit built in Los Angeles. That is a significant request that may or may not make it through the legislative process. However, it is painful to hear about the tremendous challenges that confront nearly 75% of our citywide workforce that earns less than $50,000 per year for a family of four to find housing. You'll see that most of those people are full time workers employed in jobs such as teachers, receptionists, secretaries, social workers and even some nurses. These are people who work for and with many of us, certainly not anyone who we might look upon as "poor." The workforce housing intiative is not targeted for Section 8 (low income) housing either. The lack of affordable housing causes many workers to live in substandard units or at a great distance from their jobs adding to congestion and pollution when they commute to work. As citizens of this city and recognizing the Jewish imperative to care for the poor we as a synagogue must be part of the solution.

Fortunately, there are many real estate developers who are committed to doing their best to advocate for those solutions. Many of the most influential are members of Stephen S. Wise Temple. We have convened a committee of Real Estate professionals to provide a meaningful proposal to the ciy council that developers will support. In addition, some of our real estate professionals as well as representatives from the housing advocacy groups as well as the city are going to address the next meeting of the Southern California Board of Rabbis to raise this issue higher on the priorities of our city's rabbis. You should have seen Herb Wesson's eyes light up when he heard that members of the Stephen S. Wise community are actively seeking solutions for the crisis. He said: "If we are going to succeed, we need the Jewish community and other well-established members of Los Angeles to get involved."

If you have more questions or would like to participate in upcoming meetings for Workforce Housing, please let me know. Click here.

If no documents are visible below. Click here to view the documents.

Notice the symbol in the upper right window below to toggle to full screen for easier viewing. A note: "AMI" = adjusted median income: Affordable Housing Documents

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