Faith-based group tackles affordable housing in Charleston region

CAJM is an interfaith organization of 27 Christian, Jewish and Muslim congregations throughout the Charleston community. Their yearly Nehemiah Action starts at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 30, 2018 at the Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, 7396 Rivers Avenue, North Charleston, SC 29406.

“Nehemiah gathered a great assembly, and not just he, but all of the people, demanded that their leaders act fairly, and return land, children, and interest to their rightful place and owners. Nehemiah’s vision of doing justice, is our guiding vision.” Rabbi Stephanie Alexander, of Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim, wrote in a statement about the event.

More than 2,000 people of faith are expected to attend the meeting.

This year’s Action is focused on providing solutions for the regional housing crisis. Members of CAJM spent six months researching the problem of the lack of affordable housing. From their study, they reported 40% of owners and 57% of renters in Charleston County spend more than 30% of their monthly income on housing cost. High housing cost forces many out of cities and into areas far from where they work, according to the organization.

The organization wants elected leaders to create a regional plan and an annually funded trust to address the problem.

Currently those who have committed to attend the Nehemiah Action include Charleston County Council Chair Vic Rawl, Charleston City Council members Dudley Gregorie, Keith Waring, James Lewis and Carol Jackson, North Charleston Council member Mike Brown and Mount Pleasant Council member Guang Ming Whitley.

In the years since its 2011 inception, CAJM’s advocacy has won 280 additional slots for Charleston County School District’s early childhood development program; engaged local law enforcement agencies to reduce the incarceration of non-violent juvenile offenders; pressed the School District to enact evidence-based programs to reduce suspensions; and convinced Charleston City Council to issue a Request for Proposal to hire a police auditor to audit their police department for racial bias, according to the organization’s press release.

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