In Memoriam: Jon Kest

Jon Kest, director of New York Communities for Change, a founder of the Working Families Party, and former head organizer for the New York chapter of ACORN, died of cancer last Wednesday. He was 57.

The New York Times, in its obituary, describes how Kest was a major force behind the recent wave of organizing and strikes among New York's low wage workers, such as fast food workers and carwashers.

Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development called Kest a “crucial ally and often hidden force,” sentiments echoed by Brad Lander and Bob Masters.

While we at Shelterforce worked more directly with Jon's brother Steve, also an organizer and sometimes a writer for us, we certainly knew of and respected Jon's important work. We extend our condolences to his family, already mourning the recent loss of his daughter, Jessie Streich-Kest, who was killed during Hurricane Sandy, and to his organizing colleagues, who will undoubtedly carry on his work.

Shelterforce is the only independent, non-academic publication covering the worlds of community development, affordable housing, and neighborhood stabilization.


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