WHO: Hundreds of grassroots community leaders from over 25 diverse interfaith congregations from the Columbia area and city and county officials
WHAT: A community gathering to call for specific, measurable action to create more safe, affordable housing and address the gun violence plaguing our neighborhoods.
WHEN: Monday, April 4 at 6:30 PM
WHERE: Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center (1101 Lincoln St., Columbia, SC 29201)
WHY: To publicly ask for commitments from local officials on specific solutions to serious community problems and for the community to gain clarity on what their public officials are committed to do.
- Families cannot afford to live in Richland County: The City of Columbia currently ranks in the top ten for the nation’s highest evictions rate and more than 19 families are evicted from their homes every day in Richland County. This is because people cannot afford their rent:
- For a person making minimum wage in Richland County to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment at the average price, a person would have to work eighty-two hours a week.
- More than 16,000 households in Richland County pay more than half their income on rent and utilities
- Like air to breath and food to eat, housing is a basic human need. Housing Trust Funds are a proven strategy, used in more than 750 communities across the nation, to create housing affordable to those most vulnerable.
- Richland County is getting $80.63 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and that money must be spent on the greatest needs in our community for long-term sustainability and stability and the creation and rehabilitation of safe, affordable housing must be a core part of where the County invests these funds.
- Our neighborhoods are plagued by gun violence: Murders by gunfire doubled in Richland County in 2021 and with 32 deaths, the lives of the victim’s families, their communities and of those that perpetrated these shootings are forever changed. This problem persists in Columbia as well:
- In the City, there have been the same number of homicides (19) in the first three months of this year as the entirety of 2021, eleven of them due to gun violence.
- In March, one 20-year old woman died and four others were shot in a shooting at apartments near the University of South Carolina.
- Columbia and Richland County need a proven and proactive solution to address the root of gun violence to stop the violence and allow our neighborhoods to thrive. Group Violence Intervention (GVI) is proven to address this need and our local officials need to take the steps necessary to fully implement this strategy, stop the violence, and allow our neighborhoods to thrive.
For additional information, or to set up interviews with MORE Justice leadership, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call MORE Justice Vice President, Ms. Maryann Wright, at 732-672-2119. For more information on the work of MORE Justice, please visit www.morejusticecolumbia.org.