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Interfaith Community

Long Beach Interfaith Community Organization (ICO)?

Greater Long Beach ICO

Why is the UU Church of Long Beach a member?

ico-occco-reflectionThe Interfaith Community Organization (ICO) is composed of a number of congregations from across Long Beach that have come together in pursuit of justice for all residents of our community, something our church is deeply committed to. Through leadership training and congregation-based organizing, ICO works to revitalize democracy by engaging, educating and organizing people to act on their faith values.

Our congregation, a founding member of ICO, which was established in 1999 as an affiliate of the PICO National Network (People Improving Communities through Organizing). Individual member congregations have worked on a variety of issues of local concern, including traffic problems, street lighting, crime, sanitation and youth activities. Congregations have also worked together on issues of shared concern including air quality, access to health care, shelter for the homeless and the need for affordable housing. Our congregation has taken important leadership in these last two areas

Each congregation has its own Local Organizing Committee (LOC), which identifies key issues within the congregation and then works toward solutions. In 2001, through a series of one-to-one interviews, members of our congregation’s LOC determined that the issues of greatest importance to our church community were related to Homelessness and Affordable Housing. One-to-ones conducted again in 2007 reaffirmed those concerns.

As a result, our congregation has been and continues to be heavily involved in the following efforts:

  • The City’s first year-round homeless shelter, Project Achieve, which opened Thanksgiving Day 2005. In addition to advocating for it, we supported this project through the Unitarian Universalist Assocition. At its 2004 General Assembly meeting in Long Beach, $71,000 was raised for ICO’s Homeless Shelter Start-Up Fund, including a large donation from our congregation’s Opportunity Fund.

  • The Long Beach Housing Trust Fund, which was approved by the City Council with funding identified from hotel bed taxes, thanks to research conducted by ICO.

  • A motel re-use initiative, intended to develop permanent single-room-occupancy housing in the City.

  • Inclusionary zoning statutes, intended to require developers to include affordable units in every residential development.

Right now, our LOC is heavily engaged in efforts to implement the City’s Ten-Year Plan To End Homelessness by inspiring congregations in all nine Council districts to support at least one initiative suggested by that Plan.

South Coast Interfaith Council (SCIC)

The SCIC is the oldest and largest interfaith council in Southern California. In 1953 the council was first established as an ecumenical council – meaning that it was an organization comprised of only churches representing the various denominations of the Christian faith. But in 2004, with a historical vote made by the community, the council changed from ecumenical one to an interfaith council. The SCIC now has an association of more than 140 faith communities and organizations, encompassing over 35 cities and serving approximately 1.8 million people. 

Sometimes UUCLB Joins in their activities.  Check out their web site for more info.

http://www.scinterfaith.org/

 


Links:


PICO National Network
Long Beach Area Coalition for the Homeless

Congregation Based Community Organizing
(UUA site)