PEACE to tackle affordable housing issues in Polk, still advocating for crisis mental health care

WINTER HAVEN — About 400 people from 22 churches gathered Monday evening for PEACE’s 18th annual Community Problems Assembly.

The organization, Polk Ecumenical Action Council for Empowerment, selected the social justice issue it will concentrate its efforts on in the coming year — affordable housing and homelessness. And it reported on the past year’s continuing efforts to improve mental-health services for those cycling in and out of emergency care and on earlier efforts to reduce juvenile arrests.

“During 36 house meetings, more than 250 people gathered to discuss issues they are facing,” said Pastor Eddie Lake, pastor of New Bethel AME Church in Lakeland and the co-president of PEACE. Among 13 issues raised in the house meetings, three were selected for the assembly to vote on to decide the coming year’s focus: affordable housing and homelessness, crime and adult criminal records/re-entry to society.

Drug court judge seeks emergency fund for participants in treatment program

July 13, 2017. Insider Louisville.

District Court Judge Stephanie Pearce Burke says her speciality drug court in Jefferson County designed to steer criminal defendants toward addiction treatment instead of jail is producing good results, but it’s only at half-capacity and in need of discretionary funds to help participants in crisis pay for housing, medication and food to increase their odds of completing the program.

Earlier this week, Burke participated in the inaugural criminal justice roundtable of city leaders created by Citizens of Louisville Organized and United Together (CLOUT), a faith-based social justice group.

Religious Communities Advocate For Change

May 8, 2017. Tristate homepage.com.

More than a thousand people packed the Old National Events Plaza to tell local officials what they want done to better the area.

Congregations Acting for Justice and Empowerment (CAJE) is an organization that works to fight for justice in the Tri-State Area.

Each year the group researches different aspects of the community that they believe need attention and host an event to tell local government leaders.

This year, they asked for more funding to the affordable housing trust fund, for more officers to be equipped with Narcan and for more programs to be in place to assist the mentally ill.

“When you have 14 hundred people asking you to do something” said CAJE Treasurer Julie Dougan “and these are people that elected you to office and might re-elect you to office they tend to listen.”

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Interfaith group wants Lexington to contract with anti-violence organization

April 25, 2017. Lexington Herald Leader.

A Lexington interfaith coalition is asking city leaders to contract with a national organization to try to reduce violent crime in the city.

At its annual Nehemiah Action Assembly Tuesday night, BUILD was prepared to ask that a city representative attend a conference of and advocate for a contract with the National Network for Safe Communities.

JUMP Topeka ‘Night of Justice’ sees official commit to tackle mental health, housing and transportation issues

April 25, 2017. The Topeka Capital-Journal.

A boisterous crowd in downtown Topeka’s Grace Episcopal Cathedral gave booming cheers as Topeka and Shawnee County officials agreed to tackle mental health, affordable housing and transportation — issues affecting many disenfranchised Topekans.

Topeka Justice Unity Ministry Project, more commonly called JUMP, brought members of 20 Shawnee County churches together for a “Night of Justice,” where officials, including Mayor Larry Wolgast, agreed to explore: