Stand in the Gap for a Neighbor is a campaign to provide much-needed funding to folks in Southeast Raleigh who stand in immediate danger of losing their housing.
The racial disparity of economic resources between Black and economically-advantaged communities has made it impossible for Raleigh’s grassroots leaders to stand-alone in the gap between housing and homelessness for their people. Their resulting appeal to folks in the predominantly white faith community with whom they have relationships has led to a collaborative fundraising effort. The concern we share is that families who have a home need to keep their homes to stay safe in a pandemic.
Many have lost their jobs because of the pandemic and will owe three months’ rent on June 1. Parents are panicked at the thought that their families could be evicted or lose their homes to foreclosure in less than two weeks, and will have to find affordable housing in a market with increasingly fewer options.
Your donations will stand in the gap between housing and evictions. Helping people keep their homes to stay at home will prevent the spread of Coronavirus in the Black community as we work together to contain the pandemic crisis. Our goal is to raise $30,000 by June 10 (extended until June 18 with the recent freeze on evictions until June 21, Emergency Directive 17-19).
Everyone on our team is actively involved in advocating for the issue of housing and homelessness. We now need to focus on all of the local government structures to prevent housing loss while being in the state of a national pandemic. Even if we see State or County mandated changes to the June 1st date, we know that rent and mortgage payments will not stop, and will simply accrue during this time. We must step up now, and as needed, to help.
This is but one step in securing funds and advocating as individuals for the magnitude of assistance needed from Wake County Commissioners and members of Raleigh City Council.
We are needed to Stand in the Gap between housing and evictions in Southeast Raleigh. This is our moment to be directly involved in the care of our neighbors, the survival of the Black community in Southeast Raleigh, and respond to those directly impacted by this unprecedented emergency.
Neighbors Together vs COVID-19 includes mothers and grassroots leaders who will make this campaign’s funding available to those directly impacted in Raleigh, with a focus on Southeast Raleigh. We also come from faith and advocacy communities that recognize we are each other’s neighbors and make up the tapestry of Raleigh together. We are reminded by this COVID-19 emergency that we are an interdependent people and believe that what happens to one, affects the whole. We know we are not alone in our commitment to make a difference. Will you join us?
The team’s Black Grassroots Leaders who Stand in the Gap with the people in their communities every day include:
- Attorney Dawn Blagrove is Executive Director of the Carolina Justice Policy Center and Emancipate NC. She is a recent recipient of two awards: The 2020 King Leader Award from the Triangle Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee, and the 2020 Woman to Watch from Women AdvaNCe.
- Ms. Wanda Gilbert-Coker, a divorced single mother with previous experience with homelessness and housing insecurity, is a frontline community organizer and housing advocate with Wake County Housing Justice Coalition. She currently serves on the Raleigh Fair Housing Hearing Board, with a long career that includes working for environmental and racial justice.
- Ms. Wanda Hunter, a single mother of three living in downtown Raleigh, ran for Raleigh City Council District C in 2019. Her platform was to address the gentrification of Raleigh and to tackle the housing needs of the poor and underserved minority populations in Raleigh.
- Ms. Deidre McCullers is a member of the Raleigh Equity and Social Justice Action Team for Social & Economic Vitality. She later served as one of the founding members of Raleigh Organizing Against Racism.
- Dr. Kimberly Muktarian, President of Save Our Sons, Inc., is a seasoned advocate known for her creativity, strategic judgment, and prowess in courtrooms. Her advocacy extends both locally and nationwide.
Women who have joined in setting up this effort from the predominantly white faith community in Raleigh include:
- Rev. Barbara Smalley-McMahan, ordained in the American Baptist Church for the Ministry of Pastoral Counseling in 1985; retired in 2015 to learn and join in solidarity with grassroots groups seeking racial equity and justice in Raleigh and Wake County.
- Rev. Chalice Overy, Associate Pastor at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church.
- Ms. Carol Majors, a member of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, worked in publishing for local public policy organizations. As a neighborhood advocate since 2007, she has spent a lot of time at city hall trying to keep affordable housing out of the landfill.
DISTRIBUTION OF FUNDS:
Funds to keep people in their homes will be collected by the Justice Love Foundation in Raleigh on behalf of Neighbors Together vs COVID-19. JLF will send checks directly to landlords and lending agencies on behalf of families and individuals identified at risk. Assessments will be handled by Save Our Sons, Inc., a local nonprofit with a solid record of support in the community, by members of the team and the board of SOS. Each case will be assessed independently and all participants must be current prior to the initial shut down.
Neighbors Together vs COVID-19 is grateful for the compassion, collaboration, and expertise of all participating in this campaign.
- Tara Roamno
- Sean Evans
- Clare Byrnes