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RISC will meet in April, call for job training and affordable housing

03/16/2014 6:15 AM by

RISC Nehemiah Action
April 7th 7 pm
Good Shepherd Baptist Church (1127 North 28th Street)

Over 1,200 representatives from Richmond’s faith communities will represent Richmonders Involved to Strengthen our Communities (RISC) on April 7, 2014 at Good Shepherd Baptist Church on 28th Street. Public officials and local leaders will be asked to make commitments to support the Affordable Housing Trust Fund in Richmond City and job training for the most distressed neighborhoods of Metro Richmond.

On April 7th, RISC will host the annual Nehemiah Action, a public meeting in which citizens ask our local leaders to support achievable solutions to the problems that face the community.

Job Training
There are over 31,000 unemployed residents in Greater Richmond. Less than 10% of the people in the most distressed neighborhoods in Metro Richmond have traditional full-time employment (35 hour work week). Over the next ten years more than 13,000 jobs will be available in the healthcare field. Most of the jobs in demand require entry level training lasting 2 years or less. More than 1/3 (471) of the available jobs will remain unfilled every year because of the lack of skills and training of Richmond’s current work force.

The proposal on April 7th seeks to fill the gap between those who need a job (but cannot afford training) and the employers who need a trained local workforce. Representatives from Bon Secours Health System will be asked to make commitments to fund a healthcare training program in order to bridge this gap by removing barriers to education. If they commit, this program will act as a ladder out of poverty for Metro Richmond residents.

Affordable Housing
There are more than 3,000 Richmond residents on Richmond Redevelopment Housing Authority’s waiting list for housing, without enough affordable housing to accommodate these citizens, they are at greater risk for homelessness. Almost a quarter of Richmond households pay more than 50% of their income for housing. According to the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, housing is considered “unaffordable” if it costs more than 30% of a family’s income.

A functioning Affordable Housing Trust Fund would address Richmond’s housing crisis by making money available for developers and organizations to build affordable housing; they benefit the city by leveraging millions of dollars from the private sector that not only provides affordable housing but employment opportunities and tax revenue for the city.

City Council members and the Mayor have been invited to make commitments to fund the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

RISC is an interfaith, interracial, multi-issue coalition of 17 member congregations in the greater Richmond area. We are different from other organizations because we do not engage in direct service programs, rather we press decision makers to implement policies that will ensure that all of our community members are treated with fairness and justice. We believe that it is not only our right, but our responsibility to hold our decision makers to that standard.


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