Last month, Dr. Basha Jordan, Jr. and Hope Alive Outreach, paid December’s rent for five families living in Jordan Park to help them start the new year off right.
BY NICOLE SLAUGHTER GRAHAM, Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBURG — The 2020 holiday season was unique in many ways. November and December holidays followed an intense election season, and many celebrated the holidays in new ways because of the ongoing pandemic. For many, the tradition was put on hold in an effort to remain safe and protect loved ones.
For Basha Jordan and his organization Hope Alive Outreach, the ongoing pandemic meant he was unable to bring the joy of Santa to Jordan Park.
“For the past five years, Hope Alive Outreach has been doing a toy giveaway in Jordan Park. Santa and his helpers would gather by the playground and give out toys to the children in the neighborhood.”
This year though, the organization’s board deemed the annual Santa celebration too risky for Jordan and his host of volunteers.
Still, he wanted to find a way to give back to Jordan Park residents in an effort to keep his grandfather’s legacy alive. This year, he and Hope Alive Outreach decided to pay the rent for as many households as possible within the Jordan Park community.
Together with Housing Authority CEO Michael Lunde and Jordan Park resident manager Shaka Reed, Jordan identified five households with the greatest need.
Jordan, along with Hope Alive Outreach and several donors, paid more than $1,300 in rent payments for five Jordan Park residents.
“Myself and my wife, Pia Jordan, masked up and hand-delivered the rent payments to the five residents,” Jordan said. “We also handed out a few toys to the children of those families.”
Former slave turned entrepreneur Elder Jordan Sr., Jordan Park’s namesake and Basha Jordan’s grandfather, believed in fair and affordable housing for the Black community. Today, said Basha Jordan, especially in light of coronavirus, that mission is more important than ever.
“I was reading a report recently that said that women were losing more jobs than anyone else,” Jordan said. “In Jordan Park, all of the households we helped were run by women.”
In fact, CNN reported that 140,000 jobs were lost in December alone. All of them were held by women.
“Times have changed since my grandfather’s day,” Jordan said. “More and more, women are running households, and that’s especially true in the African-American community. These women deserve decent, affordable housing.”
Jordan said that at a time when families should be able to spend a little extra and children are looking forward to gifts, the last thing parents should have to do is worry about whether or not they can pay the rent.
He’s hoping that without rent to think about in December, these families might have a chance at a happier new year.