By Jim Hurdis, ONE Wake Ministry Team
This month, UUFR got a chance to see what a difference we can make when we pool our efforts with other like-minded congregations across Wake County. UUFR members joined a chorus of people of all races and backgrounds asking our leaders for affordable housing, equitable education, and justice for the countys most vulnerable residents.
Im talking about the ONE Wake Founding Assembly on October 13. ONE Wakes 42 member congregations and non-profit organizations committed 2,567 of their members would attend. UUFR-Yavneh committed to 200 members attending. On Friday, ONE Wake announced that 3,168 people attended!
With numbers like that, Wake County leaders had no choice but to pay attention. Some of those who attended were:
- Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin and Kane Realty CEO John Kane, who committed to address ONE Wakes concerns about Kane Realtys Downtown South Project, a multibillion dollar, 55-acre development. ONE Wake is bringing forward community concerns including flooding downstream communities, inadequate community outreach, gentrification and displacement in the adjacent historically Black neighborhoods and other underserved communities.
- Seven of eleven candidates for Wake County commissioners, who committed to championing affordable housing development on six properties owned by Wake County.
- NC Attorney General Josh Stein, who agreed to address predatory lending practices impacting 200 families who live in a Cary mobile home park.
And since the meeting, there has been another important indicator of ONE Wakes impact. The Director of the NC State Property Office has agreed to meet to discuss how state-owned land in Wake County could also be used for affordable housing development.
As a co-chair of the affordable housing team, I can tell you ONE Wake is committed to helping solve the affordable housing problem. We used information from a 2017 survey of the 200+ properties owned by the county to identify the properties most suitable for affordable housing development.
Our team has had several meetings with the leads of the Wake County Department of Housing Affordability and Community Revitalization, along with the Planning and Land Use departments. Negotiations are in progress with one community on developing 20 acres of county owned land. Up to 120 housing units for senior citizens are to be included in the plans. Our work is making a concrete difference.
ONE Wake is an example of how UUFR can make the impact of its efforts greater by collaborating with like minded organizations. Many of our social justice ministry teams are working with other organizations to support our mission to transform lives and empower people to serve the world.
Thanks to all of you who came to the Founding Assembly. Our collective voice spoke volumes.
Read the News and Observer story about the assembly here.
Full video of the launch available here.
Here are some photos that ONE Wake shared from the assembly: