Friday, December 15, 2006

[New Orleans] Solidarity not Charity
Eviction imminent

Over 100 Woodlands Families Need Your Help

Solidarity, not charity
It has been more than a year since hurricane Katrina hit and the lower 9th ward is like a refugee camp: the water isn't drinkable, the electricity isn't stable, the dust is toxic, and most people have no place to live; their lives and their homes literally reduced to rubble.

Money has been pouring into New Orleans but most of the money has gone to private contractors who have rebuilt the tourist areas, whilst leaving thousands of others homeless. Neither the government nor the corporations seem either inclined or capable of helping the residents of the lower 9th.

But there is another model: a people’s model. Activists of all over of the world – anarchists, black panthers, faith groups, and students are putting aside their differences and working side by side under the slogan ‘solidarity not charity’.

Eviction imminent

The recent sale of the Woodlands apartment complex on October 31, 2006 to Johnson Properties Group, LLC brought with it highly controversial eviction notices for over 100 families.

* Due to public pressure, an agreement was reached on Tuesday, November 28 between the tenants of the Woodlands apartment complex and Johnson Properties Group, LLC. Residents will be able to remain in their homes until January 4th. This is only a brief reprieve as the tenants will be able to spend the holidays at home, but will still be worried about where they will be living in the New Year.

* Woodlands residents have less than three weeks to find new affordable housing before the holiday season makes finding an affordable apartment even more difficult -less than three weeks in a market where housing is in major crisis and rents have increased by a minimum of 70% since Katrina.

About Common Ground Collective
Common Ground Collective feeds people and is rebuilding their homes and has rebuilt more houses that any other NGO by bringing in activists from around the world.

* Provided direct and indirect services, supported by 9 distribution centers, to approximately 450,000 people in seven Louisiana parishes.

* Operates three free health clinics, the first established just nine days post-Katrina, serving over 15,000 residents, workers and volunteers.

* Cleaned and gutted over 750 homes, 12 churches, 4 daycare centers, 12 schools and numerous offices, businesses, parks and streets.

* Operates several media centers with free phone, fax and Internet access, and that serve as information clearing houses.

* Runs a Kids & Community Project that provides after school programs, teen activities, childcare, summer camp, and a free breakfast program.

* Established green environmental programs including microorganism-based mold removal, wetlands restoration, soil bioremediation, and community garden restoration.

Whilst there have been some grants from corporations, monies have mostly been raised by student solidarity networks by fundraising events held at Universities around the USA.

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