A stocked kitchen is so important for a family’s
stability. Nothing hinders a child’s physical, emotional, and mental
development more than hunger. Your support now can ensure that, even when
a crisis arises, kids like Gabriel and Jessica can always rely on a
foundation of steady, nourishing meals.
P.S. Our Missing Meals report reveals that San Francisco
and Marin families like Remedios’ are typically unable to afford 14% of
their meals, even after government and nonprofit assistance. Help us
make sure that no child faces hunger »
*Names changed for privacy.
Food Bank SF:
900 Pennsylvania Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94107 |
(415) 282‑1900 Marin:
75 Digital Drive, Novato, CA 94949 | (415) 883‑1302
Second deadly fire in months brings renewed attention to housing issues
by Rick Jones | Presbyterian News Service
Damage to an apartment building in Oakland, California that left four people dead and more than 100 people displaced. (Photo by Mike Bullard)
LOUISVILLE – Members of the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance National Response Team recently returned from Oakland, California, responding to the latest apartment fire that left four people dead and more than 100 residents displaced. The four-alarm blaze broke out in the three-story, 43-unit building on March 27.
Witnesses say as many as 15 people had to be rescued as the smoke and flames grew. Bed sheets could be seen hanging from some windows as people found ways to escape the blaze. The fire is believed to have started on the second floor and authorities say the 122-year-old building had been the subject of a number of code enforcement complaints.
“It’s an acute manifestation of a larger problem which is often the case with disasters. There is a housing shortage and now there are over 100 people in need of housing in the midst of a community with a severe housing problem,” said Mike Bullard, who visited the community as part of the PDA response team. “The gentrification in the community has added to the cost of housing so that large communities of homeless people are living in tents or on the streets under bypasses and awnings.”
Every urban community will have homeless, says Bullard, but many of these people are employed and can’t pay the $3,000 a month rent on a simple apartment.
“You have to have the first and last month’s rent and a deposit which adds up close to $10,000 for a basic apartment,” he said. “You have employed, hardworking people who would be fine in any other community, but they live there and are stuck. Add the disabled to that and you have a huge homeless population.”
The exact number of displaced residents isn’t known. Authorities say a number of people who were living in the building were “the friend of a friend.”
Bullard credits faith leaders for the work they have been doing for residents in the area, even before the fire.
“We were just taken to school by the incredible leadership in the community and among the pastors,” he said. “We had a good learning experience, watching faith leaders work through this difficult situation and we were blessed and inspired by what we saw from them.”
The Red Cross set up a shelter immediately after the fire and many of the churches provided supplies. The Rev. Debra Avery is pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Oakland, which served as shelter for many of the displaced residents on the day of the fire.
“They’re frustrated and sad. These are people who are the marginalized of the marginalized,” she said. “This was a homeless transitional property and many of the residents are doing their best to make it under trying conditions. The resources they had were slim and the little they had was completely lost in the fire.”
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance has provided a $7,500 grant to the Presbytery of San Francisco to be used in its ministry efforts for the area.
Avery is involved with community-based organizing and says they’re trying to pull together a housing consortium among the faith-based groups.
“It’s a very complicated situation and there are multiple issues at play including generational poverty, racism, disabled and senior citizens, everything,” said Avery.
Bullard says it’s too early to say what the long-term commitment may be but does see possible areas of collaboration around compassion fatigue.
“We need to be a ministry of presence and show that as Presbyterians, we care,” said Bullard. “We walk beside the people, we don’t take over their burden but pass on the knowledge of others that have been through similar disasters and help them that way.”
“I feel pretty resilient, but I’m worried about some of the pastors involved in relief efforts because most of us have limited staff,” said Avery. “We all have small congregations and so many of these pastors serve part-time, holding down full-time jobs elsewhere. This is a big job and it’s the small churches that are taking the lead on this.”
The recent fire comes four months after the Ghost Ship fire in Oakland left 36 people dead. That fire broke out after a dance party at the warehouse that had been converted into living and community space.
“Many of the same people who responded to the Ghost Ship fire have once again responded to the needs of survivors in this fire,” said Jim Kirk, PDA’s associate for national disaster response. “The impact of trauma and stress is cumulative and part of what PDA can offer is a ministry of presence to those who are responding.”
For more information, go to the web site of the Presbytery of San Francisco: http://www.presbyteryofsf.org/
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is able to respond quickly to emergencies thanks to your gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing.
Ecumenical Advocacy Days, April 21-24, 2017, is just a
week and a half away, and it is shaping up to be a record year for
attendance and participation in our Congressional Advocacy Day! We
look forward to a great event focused on the theme "
Chaos, Forging Community - Challenging Racism, Materialism and
For those who cannot come to Washington, join EAD's
new FaceBook Live Streaming, download the new EAD APP, and plan to
join participants in Washington in prayer,
and call-in to Congress with EAD's Congressional Ask.
An action alert with a 1-800 number will be sent next week.
Download the APP by clicking the button below for all needed
resources, or go to AdvocacyDyas.org.
As Christians, we are about to embark this evening for
Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter prayers,
worship, reflection, public and family celebration and for some,
fasting. EAD 2017 will continue those traditions the following weekend
as we continue our Easter Time witness to the Good News of
Christ! At EAD, we have planned two new and special Prayer
Vigil opportunities for participants to engage and deepen and
strengthen our personal and public witness:
EAD Prayer Vigil at the Pentagon
Sunday, April 23, 5:30 pm
Join a solemn walk and prayer vigil at the Pentagon Sunday
night. Participants will gather in the foyer
of Lincoln Hall at the DoubleTree Hotel just following
the closing plenary at 5:30pm. Join us as we lift up prayers
for a shift in U.S. policy away from unrestrained militarism.
Prayer Vigil, Walk and Public Witness
Monday, April 24, Noon
United Methodist Building, Capital Hill
Join EAD participants, faith leaders and other
advocates for a prayer vigil in front of the United Methodist
Building (First St. and Maryland Avenue NE, next to The Supreme
Court) followed by a faith walk to and a public witness in the atrium
of the Senate Hart Building (Constitution Avenue, across the street
from the United Methodist Building). We will pray and read
scripture at both locations. For those who are able and feel
called, EAD participants are invited to fast from Sunrise to Sundown
during Monday's Lobby Day. Some are planning on direct
action at The Hart Building. No one is obligated to engage in
direct action and our collective witness will not be as
such. If any participant feels called to join in direct
action, s/he must attend a meeting on Sunday evening
at 8:00 pm at the DoubleTree Hotel. Meeting room will be
announced at EAD.
Blessings to All on the
Beginning of this Holy Weekend.
See you next weekend!
Click above or scan the QR code
below to download the #EAD2017 Free Event App.
Fifteenth National Gathering in our nation’s capital to focus on the challenges of, and solutions to, racism, materialism and militarism
APRIL 21-24, 2017
DOUBLETREE HOTEL CRYSTAL CITY, 300 ARMY NAVY DRIVE, ARLINGTON, VA
When Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. posed the question, “Where do we go from here: Chaos or Community?” in his book of the same title 50 years ago, no one could have imagined that we would still be wrestling with this question today. In that same year on April 4, 1967, a year to the day before Dr. King was assassinated, he spoke at Riverside Church in New York addressing the intersectionality of “the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism” as the principal challenges of the time. Five decades later, Dr. King’s prophetic insights and challenges – and the stark choice between chaos and community — are incredibly current.
Sadly, we have witnessed chaos in many of our communities, challenging us as people of faith to speak and act boldly and courageously to end racism, materialism and militarism.
Over the past year, our nation has experienced a divisive election in which racism, xenophobia, and religious bigotry were a constant. We still find racism an open wound in our nation, resulting in the disproportionate killing of black and brown bodies and stunting their lives through unjust economic and social structures. The militarization of our police is a reflection not only of broken communal values, but also a lopsided foreign policy that spends drastically more on defense than diplomacy or development. Militarism continues to be the United States’ overriding approach to resolving conflict, despite studies that show the effectiveness of peacebuilding and the power of non-violence. Extreme materialism threatens our souls and our very planet, as prosperity narratives and unchecked capitalism spreads despite overwhelming scientific evidence that our current path is unstainable. As in Dr. King’s time, we teeter precariously between chaos and community.
A new time calls for new strategies. The dynamic movement of people of faith and conscience today to challenge these “giant triplets” of chaos is taking different forms from those of the civil rights era. But the same courage and commitment to bring about national and social transformation animates the new generation of activists. This year’s EAD gathering will address racism/white privilege, economic injustice and militarization at home and abroad.
Click above to download and share our 2017 theme leaflet.
Join us in Washington for “Confronting Chaos, Forging Community“ from April 21-24, 2017 to grapple with the intersectionality of racism, materialism, and militarism, and learn more about the impact they have around the world, in our communities, and in our own lives. Through prayer, worship, advocacy training, and networking with other Christians, we will face the current manifestations of these ‘triplets’ and together advocate for change in public policy that better reflects the Beloved Community about which Dr. King spoke. After a weekend filled with education and training, Ecumenical Advocacy Days will culminate with a Lobby Day on Monday, April 24, 2017, where participants will converge on Capitol Hill to meet with their members of Congress. We seek to renew this revolutionary spirit as we affirm the vision of a day when ‘Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.’” (Isa: 40:3)
Ecumenical Advocacy Days is pleased to announce that this year’s National Gathering will be enhanced by our new EAD 2017 event app. The free app is now available for download in the iTunes and Google Play stores. Visit AdvocacyDays.org/app for download links or scan the QR code below. The new EAD 2017 app provides solid information for those preparing to… Read More
WASHINGTON — November 21, 2016 — Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global Peace with Justice (EAD) is pleased to announce that the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, newly elected Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), will serve as the keynote preacher for EAD 2017’s Interdenominational Worship service on Sunday, April 23, 2017. The Sunday worship service… Read More