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As hurricane season begins, pressure builds on Congress to pass Gulf Coast Civic Works Act

June 8, 2009

Members of All Souls Unitarian Church in Washington, D.C., write letters to Congress urging passage of the Gulf Coast Civic Works Act. Many have also volunteered on rebuilding projects in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward and know first hand the desperate need.
Members of All Souls Unitarian Church in Washington, D.C., write letters to Congress urging passage of the Gulf Coast Civic Works Act. Many have also volunteered on rebuilding projects in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward and know first hand the desperate need.
Washington, D.C. – To mark the beginning of hurricane season, a group of students and Gulf Coast citizens have come to the nation’s capitol to visit over 100 Congressional offices asking them to co-sponsor the Gulf Coast Civic Works Act, HR 2269.

HR 2269, which is co-sponsored by 16 Congress members and supported by 165 regional and national organizations, funds “green” resident-led recovery projects to help meet the overwhelming unmet needs of the individuals, families and communities devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

HR 2269 would create a minimum of 100,000 prevailing wage jobs and training opportunities for local and displaced workers on projects reinvesting in infrastructure and restoring the coastal environment utilizing emerging green building techniques and technologies.

To support the passage of HR 2269, Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif.; Charlie Melancon, D-La.; Joseph Cao, R-La.; Rodney Alexander, R-La.; and Gene Taylor, D-Miss., sent a joint letter (attached) to each member of Congress asking them to mark the beginning of hurricane season by co-sponsoring the bi-partisan Gulf Coast Civic Works Act to rebuild and sustain the Gulf Coast region.

They said, “It is the responsibility of every Member of Congress to ensure that the federal government responds to the needs of all Americans. The Gulf Coast Civic Works Act (HR 4048 in the 110th) ensures that real progress is made toward rebuilding and sustaining the Gulf Coast region.

The Gulf Coast Civic Works Campaign is a diverse national partnership of community, faith-based, environmental, student and human rights organizations. For more information on HR 2269, see below or visit
http://gccwc.wordpress.com.

Gulf Coast Civic Works Campaign partner organizations

1Sky
232-HELP/Louisiana 211
ACORN
ACT All Congregations Together
Advocates for Environmental Human Rights
AFL-CIO Investment Trust Program
African American Environmentalist Association
Alabama Appleseed Center for Law & Justice, Inc.
Alabama Arise
Alliance for Affordable Energy
Appleseed
Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America
Bay Area Women Coalition, Inc.
Bayou Grace Community Services
Biloxi NAACP
BISCO Bayou Interfaith Shared Community Organizing
Black Workers for Justice
Brethren Disaster Ministries
Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good
CDC 58:12, inc.
Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal
Central City Partnership
Churches Supporting Churches
Clergy Strategic Alliances, LLC
ColorofChange.org
Commission on Stewardship of the Environment, Louisiana Interchurch Conference
Common Ground Health Clinic
Common Ground Relief, Inc.
Community Church Unitarian Universalist
Community of Christ
COPE Congregations Organizing People for Equality
Dando la Mano / Extending a Hand
Desire Street Ministries NOLA
Disciples Justice Action Network (Disciples of Christ)
Environmental Support Center
Episcopal Network for Economic Justice
Equity and Inclusion Campaign
Finding Our Folk
First Pilgrims Baptist JEDC-HDM
First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans, Social Justice Team
For the Bayou
Franciscan Action Network
Friends Committee on National Legislation
FUEL Faith United for Empowerment and Leadership
Gamaliel Foundation
Gert Town Revival Initiative, Inc.
Global Green USA
Global Mission Partnerships, Church of the Brethren
Good Work Network
Gulf Coast Civic Works Project
Gulf Restoration Network
Hip Hop Caucus
Holy Cross International Justice Office
Holy Cross Neighborhood Association
Hope Center, Inc.
Hope Community Development Agency
Hope Haven of Hancock County Inc.
Institute for Human Rights and Responsibilities Inc.
Institute Justice Team, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
Institute of Women & Ethnic Studies
Interfaith Alliance
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Jewish Reconstructionist Federation
JustFaith Ministries
Katrina Solidarity Network
Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State
Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Louisiana Appleseed
Louisiana Community Reinvestment Coalition
Louisiana Conference of The UMC Disaster Reponses, Inc
Louisiana Environmental Action Network
Louisiana Housing Alliance
Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper
Lower Ninth Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development
Maria Iñamagua Campaign for Justice
May Day New Orleans
Mennonite Central Committee U.S.
Mennonite Central Committee-New Orleans
MICAH Project
Mid-South Peace and Justice Center
Minnesota Tenants Union
Minnesota-New Orleans Solidarity Committee
Mississippi Center for Justice
Mississippi Coast Interfaith Disaster Task Force
Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance
Mississippi Low Income Child Care Initiative
Moore Community House
Moravian Church in North America, Board of World Mission
Moravian Church, Southern Province
MPOWER, Mississippi Poultry Workers for Equality and Respect
MQVN Community Development Corporation
National Congress of Black Women, Inc.
National Council of Churches
National Council of Jewish Women
National Economic and Social Rights Initiative
National Employment Law Project
National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
National Jobs for All Coalition
National Lawyers Guild – Minnesota Chapter
National Low Income Housing Coalition
National Policy and Advocacy Council on Homelessness
NETWORK, a National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
New Orleans East Cooperative Parish
New Orleans Institute
New Orleans Neighborhood Development Collaborative
New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice
New Voices, Academy for Educational Development
North Gulfport Community Land Trust
Northside Neighbors for Justice
Oak Park Civic Association
Ouachita Riverkeeper
Oxfam America
Pax Christi USA
PICO Louisiana
Plenty International
PolicyLink
Praxis Project
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Washington Office
Prince Garrett Ministries
Providence Community Housing
Puentes New Orleans, Inc.
Renaissance Neighborhood Development Corporation
Retired Senior Volunteer Program
Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights
Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference
San Francisco Bay View newspaper
Saving Ourselves Coalition
Shiloh Baptist Church
Sierra Club, Delta Chapter
Sisters of the Holy Cross Justice Office
Soria City Civic Organization
Sound Vision Foundation
South Bay Community Alliance
Southern Echo
Southern Poverty Law Center
Special Commission on the Just Rebuilding of the Gulf Coast, National Council of Churches
Squandered Heritage
St. Bernard Project
STEPS Coalition
Student Hurricane Network
Survivors Village New Orleans
Tennessee Alliance for Progress
Terrebonne Readiness and Assistance Coalition
Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services
The Episcopal Church
The Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana Office of Disaster Response
The Latino Leadership Circle
The Presbytery of South Louisiana Recovery
The Quest for Social Justice
The Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association
The Sisters of the Good Shepherd
TruthSpeaks Consulting
Turkey Creek Community Initiatives
Union of Black Episcopalians
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations
United Church of Christ, Justice & Witness Ministries
United Hearts Community Action Agency, Inc.
UNITY of Greater New Orleans with Common Ground Institute
Universalist Unitarian Service Committee
Women Donors Network

Gulf Coast Civic Works Act, HR 2269: Green jobs to rebuild America’s Gulf Coast communities

No region of the United States has a greater need for rebuilding its infrastructure and restoring its environment than America’s Gulf Coast. The Gulf Coast Civic Works Act – which is co-sponsored by 16 Congress members and supported by 165 regional and national organizations – funds “green” resident-led recovery projects, building on the success of community organizations in Gulf Coast recovery to help meet the overwhelming unmet needs of the individuals, families and communities devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

HR 2269 would be a pilot project administered by the Office of Gulf Coast Recovery and Rebuilding using a hybrid model to partner directly with communities in planning, overseeing and administering recovery projects to assist the survivors of these disasters, provide communities with tools to build resilience against the impact of future disasters and revitalize the region economically.

HR 2269 would create a minimum of 100,000 prevailing wage jobs and training opportunities for local and displaced workers on projects reinvesting in infrastructure and restoring the coastal environment utilizing emerging green building techniques and technologies.

Rebuilds vital public infrastructure and restores the environment

  • Rebuilds and repairs vital infrastructure including schools, police and fire stations, hospitals, parks, roads, water and sewer systems, workforce housing and cultural centers.
  • Builds equitable flood protection and restores natural flood protection such as barrier island, marshes and wetlands that defend the livelihood of coastal families and billions of dollars of Gulf Coast commerce, including a majority of our nation’s energy infrastructure.
  • Enhances energy efficiency and conservation to save on energy costs and eliminate carbon emissions to better protect vulnerable populations from the effects of climate change.
  • Serves as a national model for building on the strength of community action and engaging residents in disaster recovery and sustainable economic development.

Creates good ‘green’ jobs and provides job training

  • Creates 100,000 good wage jobs and training opportunities for Gulf Coast residents and encourages contractors to provide opportunities for apprenticeship and on-the-job training.
  • Encourages cutting edge green building techniques and technologies to minimize carbon emissions and energy needs, preparing workers and businesses for this growing industry.
  • Creates a Civic Conservation Corps for young workers to train a new generation to restore the coastline and provide much needed economic opportunities for area youth.

Spurs equitable and sustainable community development

  • Encourages equitable development engaging community leaders and local officials to determine projects based on community needs through innovative local advisory councils.
  • Focuses benefits locally through first source hiring provisions for locals and displaced.
  • Engages community organizations in federal development and recovery projects.
  • Strengthens workforce by providing jobs, much needed skills training and additional funding for community colleges and training facilities.
  • Creates contracting opportunities for local businesses.

Requires accountability and community oversight

  • Works with the Office of Gulf Coast Recovery and Rebuilding to provide oversight and transparency, give logistical and administrative assistance and allocate funding to the local communities through a resident-driven grant-making process.
  • Involves communities in overseeing contractors to avoid waste and fraud.

For more information about HR 2269, contact Scott Myers-Lipton, GCCW Campaign, at (510) 508-5382 or smlipton@sjsu.edu or Jeffrey Buchanan, RFK Center, (202) 463-7575, ext. 241, or buchanan@rfkmemorial.org.


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