NOTE: THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE FINDING THIS POST IN A SEARCH FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN BERKSHIRE COUNTY SHOULD LOOK AT THE MOST RECENT POST ON THIS BLOG FOR UP-TO-DATE NEWS OF AN AFFORDABLE HOUSING DISCUSSION AT THE OCT. 21, 2011 MEETING OF THE NORTHERN BERKSHIRE INTERFAITH ACTION INITIATIVE.
I have to say I am pleased that the Interfaith Action Initiative is holding a joint meeting with our friends at the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition to discuss affordable housing with a group of advocates from Boston.
The Friday, May 20, meeting of the Northern Berkshire Interfaith Action Initiative will feature a discussion on affordable housing with representatives of the Citizens Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA), from Boston. It will begin at 10 a.m. at the First Baptist Church of North Adams.
Check out CHAPA at www.chapa.org. This is one of 14 meetings CHAPA has been holding throughout the state. CHAPA’s “mission is to encourage the production and preservation of housing that is affordable to low and moderate income families and individuals and to foster diverse and sustainable communities through planning and community development.”
I’m also pleased that the Interfaith Action Initiative is discussing housing. It is a critical need. Just one consideration in running a food pantry as we do — the Friendship Center food pantry — is that many people today, even those with jobs, cannot afford both decent housing and food.
At a Communnity Coalition meeting earlier this year discussing homelessness, someone brought in a sheet of very interesting statistics. Here are some:
• 66 percent of people living in poverty in Berkshire County are “rent burdened”
• In Berkshire County, the income/wage needed to afford a one-bedroom apartment on an annual basis is $24,720 or an hourly wage of $13.35.
• The number of hours a household making minimum wage in Berkshire County needs to afford a one-bedroom apartment is 67, a two-bedroom apartment is 77.
• Berkshire County’s per capita income is 16 percent below the state average and Berkshire County’s median household income is 23 percent below the state average.
These statistics indicate what so many of our fellow citizens are up against.
So please come to the meeting and share your ideas on how affordable housing and community development should proceed in 2011 and beyond. Discussion points will include: What is happening in your community and your region? How can we advance affordable housing initiatives at the local level? How can we advance affordable housing policy at the state level?
As regulars know, our meetings begin with introductions, a time of silent prayer and faith sharing, followed by announcements. The housing discussion will take most of the meeting. However, one other major issue we may take a few minutes to dicuss afterward is formation of a planning committee for the food pantry.
Thanks and God Bless,
The meeting agenda will be as follows:
Northern Berkshire Interfaith Action Initiative
Meeting: May 20, 2011, 10 a.m. to Noon
First Baptist Church of North Adams
2). Moment of silent prayer.
3). Faith sharing.
4). Discussion on affordable housing with Aaron Gornstein, executive director, and Carol Marine, program manager, of the Citizens Housing and Planning Association.
5). Brief discussion of creating a planning committee to plan for the future of the food pantry. Topic 1: committee membership.
6). Next meeting: Friday, June 17, topic: emergency voucher program for Northern Berkshire.