Interfaith group BREAD seeks more focus on housing crisis

May 6, 2019. The Columbus Dispatch.

Ali Miller is an AmeriCorps VISTA worker who spends half of her paycheck on housing here in Columbus.

The job doesn’t pay much, she said — about $12,000 a year. That gives her no money for a car, or alcohol. She gets no money from her parents.

And a local social justice group says there are thousands more like Miller who can’t pay the escalating rents in a growing Columbus and central Ohio.

“We want affordable housing too,” said Miller, not new places with $1,000-a-month rents with granite countertops and fancy exercise rooms.

Editorial: Faith-based advocates take on challenge of affordable housing

January 11, 2019. The Columbus Dispatch.

It’s a good indicator that an issue is worthy of some attention when the local faith communities that join forces as B.R.E.A.D. identify it as their focus for the year.

For 2019, we agree with the interfaith group that a lack of affordable housing in Columbus and Franklin County is deserving of more effort from multiple quarters, public and private alike, to narrow the unconscionable and growing lack of safe housing for low-income families.

Lack of safe, affordable housing for low-income people in Columbus focus of Nehemiah Action event

May 7, 2018. The Columbus Dispatch.

To afford safe, modest housing in Franklin County, a young mother earning minimum wage would need to work about 84 hours a week.

A local religious coalition says that’s a crisis jeopardizing children’s futures.

For Latrice Rutland, 31, a mother of three children under age 10, it’s a challenge she confronts every day while juggling jobs. Her $475 monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment is already 60 percent of her income.

Soon, that payment is set to increase to $725.

Offenders told they still have a chance to change as part of plan to end killings

November 11, 2017. The Columbus Dispatch.

“You’ve got to pay attention to this. You’ve got to be awake for this,” Fred Benton, a defense attorney, told them. “The law is looking for you.”

A group of 16 people saw the Franklin County Common Pleas courtroom from a unique vantage point Thursday.

Each is on probation for violent or gun-related crimes. About half have affiliations to criminal street gangs. Many knew someone who had been shot and, in some cases, killed.

The two women and 14 men of varying age and race and from various parts of the city sat in the jury box with a different fate to weigh — their own. Each still has a chance.

Editorial: BREAD plan offers hope

September 9, 2017. The Columbus Dispatch.

It’s hard to grasp the carnage in Columbus this year. As of midweek, the city had suffered 91 homicides; last year at this time, there were 65. Just three years ago, there were 91 homicides for the entire year.

Police are baffled. They say they don’t know why. Columbus City Councilman Mitchell J. Brown, a former Columbus safety director, is also frustrated, noting that a disproportionate number of the victims are black males; they accounted for at least 58 of this year’s homicides, he said. And homicide isn’t claiming just those who make themselves vulnerable to violence by participating in gangs or the drug trade; innocents have become collateral damage.

Clearly, we’ve got to find a better way. The faith-based, social-justice group BREAD thinks it has one.