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SDOP grants more than $ 150,000 to 9 U.S. self-help projects

DETROIT – The Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People
has approved grants totaling $ 150,430 to 9 self-help projects in the
United States.

The money comes from the One Great Hour of Sharing
offering. The grants were approved at SDOP’s national committee
meeting here May 20-21.

Projects range from a transitional housing and mentoring project of
and for men in addiction recovery to a worker-owned cooperative of
Latino immigrants seeking to gain economic security and empowerment
through cleaning services.

SDOP enables members and non-members of the Presbyterian Church
(U.S.A.) to form partnerships with economically poor, oppressed and
disadvantaged people in order to help them achieve self-sufficiency.
The projects and grants:

* The Kurdish Youth of America, Fargo, N.D.: $ 20,000 to assist this 50-family
member group ranging in age from 15-65 seeking to address the challenges Kurdish
immigrants face in the following areas: legal status, higher education, business
training and housing.
* Association of Street Vendors, Chicago: $ 17,000 to enable a group
of 60 Chicago street vendors to organize a campaign to establish a
policy for selling prepared food on the streets. Currently the only
license available is for peddlers and doesn’t cover selling prepared
food, so the vendors are ticketed and harassed.
* Oakland Avenue Community Garden and Greenhouse Cooperative,
Detroit: $ 15,300 to assist a gardening/urban farming cooperative with
providing healthy food to their families and community and generating
income for its members by selling harvest at farmers’ markets and
local restaurants.
* The Alumni Group (TAG), Upland, Pa.: $ 20,000 to a transitional housing and
mentoring project of and for men in recovery from addictions. The men have realized

that mentoring is a vital part of their recovery from addictions and is
something that is missing from the general recovery process. The
recidivism rate of active TAG members (who are at the same time
mentors and mentees) is much lower than that of non-TAG members. The
transitional housing helps TAG members transition successfully from
the structured environment of rehab programs to working, serving and
living in the community.
* Worcester Homeless Action Committee, Worcester, Mass.: $ 10,000 to a
coalition of current and former homeless persons who have advocated for change in
how Worcester handles the release of those with mental illness and substance abuse.
The group will use the grant to help create affordable housing for
extremely low-income persons in Worcester.
* Movement for Justice in El Barrio, New York: $ 20,000 to this group
of low-income, mostly Hispanic immigrant, people of color who live in
the Upper Manhattan/East Harlem area of New York City known as “El
Barrio” or Spanish Harlem. They have come together to tackle issues
with landlords, such as ignoring basic necessary repairs and not
providing heat and hot water. The tenants are developing their
leadership skills and educating residents of their tenant rights.
* Heroes Today, Chester, Pa.: $ 13,130 to this group of mainly veterans who
reach out to, work with and organize other veterans who are emotionally and
physically distressed. The group works with veterans who are
discharged from the military with problems such as depression,
adjustment disorder, severe anxiety and alcohol and drug addictions.
* Home Cleaning Professionals, Asheville, N.C.: $ 15,000 to a
worker-owned cooperative of Latino immigrants seeking to gain economic
security and empowerment by offering high-quality cleaning services.
The project provides immediate income for the families and helps to
build financial stability.
* Serve the People, Inc., Miami, Fla.: $ 20,000 to this group is
mainly composed of single mothers and grandmothers who are at risk of
losing their homes. They are learning to confront local officials and
policy makers concerning low-income housing policy. The project’s goal
is to get those directly impacted by the housing crisis into
decision-making positions on boards where policy is decided.

During the national committee meeting, Michael Fagans of Bakersfield, Calif., was
elected chairman of the SDOP committee and Karen Finney of Santa Fe., N.M., was
elected vice-chairwoman.