Blog

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Small Business Action Team members ask Governor Hogan to release $2 million in funding

Members of the PLCC Small Business Action Team have sent a letter to Governor Larry Hogan asking him to release $2 million in funding allocated by the state legislature to help businesses impacted by Purple Line construction.

A prolonged construction schedule, caused by multiple delays, is hurting small businesses in the corridor who were already suffering from the effects of the pandemic.

“The undersigned businesses and small business-serving organizations respectfully call upon your administration to release these funds without any further delay.”

—from the letter to Governor Hogan

The letter-writing effort is being spearheaded by the Latino Economic Development Center and CASA de Maryland, co-chairs of PLCC’s Small Business Action Team. PLCC’s Small Business Action Team works to support small and family-owned businesses along the corridor. 

Read the full text of the letter here.

Members of the PLCC Small Business Action Team invite members of the community to sign-on to the letter by completing this form.

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PLCC Welcomes Vonnette Harris as New Housing Development Coordinator

The Purple Line Corridor Coalition is excited to announce the newest addition to our team, Vonnette Harris, who joins as Housing Development Coordinator.

Vonnette will be responsible for identifying properties for affordable housing development and working with coalition partners to move those properties through the pipeline. “I look forward to assisting the HAAT in helping to push housing projects forward that benefit Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties’ most vulnerable populations,” she writes.

Vonnette has worked in the development of affordable housing for more than sixteen years. With experience in site selection and acquisition, feasibility, market analysis, financing, project and construction management, community engagement, and more, Vonnette will be a major asset to the PLCC in its mission to ensure no net loss in affordable housing along the corridor. Her work has included the creation of a new large scattered-site development, the construction of mid-rise developments for seniors and families, and the adaptive reuse of several historic structures into multifamily housing.

In addition to her skill and expertise, Vonnette brings personal commitment and dedication to the role of Housing Development Coordinator.

“Addressing housing inequality is one of my passions,” writes Vonnette. “I firmly believe that quality housing should be a fundamental right in this country and not a privilege.” 

The Housing Development Coordinator position is made possible by the generous support of the Center for Community Investment and Kaiser Permanente through Accelerating Investments in Healthy Communities.

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PLCC 2020 Annual Meeting Recap

PLCC held a successful annual meeting on November 17, 2020, with over 130 people in attendance. We heard from elected officials, local residents and business owners, nonprofit service providers and more about how we can continue working together to make the Purple Line a place of equity and opportunity after an incredibly challenging year.

We left the meeting energized and optimistic about what we can make happen in 2021.

In case you missed it, feel free to check out slides and watch segments of the meeting below

And please be sure to check out PLCC’s 2020 progress report, which includes much more detail about coalition work along the corridor!

WATCH the full meeting here. Time marks below:

  • 00:00:12 – Welcome remarks from Maryland State Delegate Jheanelle Wilkins
  • 00:03:15 — Welcome remarks from Prince George’s County Councilmember Deni Taveras
  • 00:07:18 – Purple Line: Where are we? Where are we headed? Gerrit Knaap, Director, National Center for Smart Growth and Co-chair, PLCC Steering Committee; Sheila Somashekhar, PLCC Director
  • 00:22:37 – Remarks from Isaías Portillo, Resident of the corridor and grassroots activist
  • 00:26:52 – Panel: Forging ahead in challenging times: action along the corridor. Panelists included:

– Marla Bilonick, Executive Director and CEO, Latino Economic Development Corporation

– Jorge Benitez-Perez, Organizer, CASA

– Pat Parker, Executive Director, Central Kenilworth Revitalization Corporation

– Lisa Butler McDougal, President, Sowing Empowerment & Economic Development, Inc. (SEED)

– Moderator: David Bowers, Vice President and Mid-Atlantic Market Leader, Enterprise Community Partners

  • 01:09:45 – Remarks, Lene Tsegaye, owner of Kefa Café
  • 1:19 – Key Elements of National Center for Smart Growth’s FTA/MTA grant and breakout discussion takeaways
  • 1:38 – Closing remarks from Prince George’s County Council Member Dannielle Glaros
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PLCC Partners Step Up to Provide COVID Support

The Purple Line Corridor Coalition formed to help businesses and residents deal with the disruption caused by the Purple Line. But the pandemic has turned just about everything upside down this year, and that includes the work of PLCC partners, who are using their expertise to help homeowners, renters, and entrepreneurs struggling from the economic consequences of the pandemic. 

Some of the COVID-19 support being offered by PLCC partners:

LEDC has offered trainings and pro bono legal services to businesses and is providing support to underrepresented entrepreneurs in the hospitality and food industries through its Food Venture Initiative. LEDC has also helped tenants apply for rental assistance and supported rent strikes when necessary.

CASA has also been helping renters organize rent strikes. Organizers, like Jorge Benitez-Perez, have also helped tenants negotiate with landlords to secure rent relief. 

Housing Initiative Partnership’s housing counseling program is helping homeowners and renters avoid eviction and foreclosure. HIP helps homeowners negotiate with lenders to prevent default, and provides guidance and advice on refinancing. 

Enterprise Community Partners has created a toolkit for organizations managing affordable housing, who themselves have been hit economically during the pandemic.

National Housing Trust and others have advocated for an extension to the CDC’s eviction moratorium. 

Northern Gateway CDC has delivered groceries to people in need in University Park and Langley Park.

Kaiser Permanente and CKAR have collaborated to support the Greater Riverdale community, including the creation of a refrigerated food distribution site using two tractor trailers that got a full makeover.

These efforts don’t go nearly far enough to address all of the needs in the Purple Line Corridor, but they are providing support to many. If you or someone you know needs support, please reach out to our partners–they may be able to help! 

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