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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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PLCC releases 2020 Progress Report

The Purple Line Corridor Coalition’s 2020 Progress Report, released today, details the coalition’s efforts to build a more equitable corridor amid the challenges that this year has brought, from COVID to construction problems.

“So as we socially distance and prepare for the long game, we accelerate our work. We bring new and innovative ideas and opportunities to the table. With the knowledge that there is strength in numbers, we look to build our coalition, mobilizing people and organizations in new ways. The journey to build a just, vibrant and prosperous transit corridor takes time. We know the outcome will be worth it. “

Read the full report here.

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PLCC Forges Ahead as Purple Line Construction Hits Challenges

You’ve probably seen the recent headlines. As of October, 2020, after a judge’s ruling in an ongoing dispute between the state and the private partners building the Purple Line, construction has significantly slowed. In light of these new challenges, we have been asking ourselves – do we pause? Do we change course?

Our answer is no. The PLCC has always focused on the people and places just beyond the Purple Line tracks – so, in many respects, our work has not changed. The stakes remain high. 

Real estate pressures will continue driving up housing costs, threatening to displace the corridor’s low- and moderate-income residents of color. We can’t afford to lose momentum on our goal of preserving or developing 17,000 affordable units.

The halt of construction itself poses yet another challenge for many living or doing business along the line. The Purple Line, in its incomplete form, has significantly diminished quality of neighborhood life for many corridor residents. And since construction began, local business owners have endured closed parking lots and disrupted customer access — now with no end in sight. Completion of the Purple Line is a critical step on our path to vibrant neighborhoods and flourishing small businesses. 

As we work toward a thriving labor market along the corridor, we are reminded of why so many people in the community wanted the Purple Line in the first place. The line itself can be a potent tool for racial and economic equity – creating an unprecedented east-west connection between job seekers of color, education and training opportunities, and job centers.

Therefore, getting the project to the finish line becomes part of our work in the months ahead. We remain optimistic that there is enough work completed and public and private support to bring this project to completion, even if we don’t know when. This is not the first stumbling block in the decades of advocacy that brought the Purple Line project to this point. Many successful transit projects once faced hurdles that seemed insurmountable–WMATA’s Green Line and Denver’s RTD N-line being two. Together, supporters of transit can ensure that the Purple Line is completed.  

In short, we are accelerating our commitment to development along the Purple Line Corridor that centers on racial and economic equity. We continue to believe that transit can be an important driver of equitable and sustainable growth, and that the people along the corridor deserve the greatest promise of the Purple Line. The pace we set for ourselves now paves the way for that future.

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