Margo Westley started checking out a homeless shelter because she thought that might be the only place she and her two sons can afford to live.

The home they live in has been condemned, she said. She has already been served an eviction notice. And despite having a voucher that "moves me to the top of the (subsidized) housing list," she hasn't been able to find anything she can afford.Affordable housing in Salt Lake City - or the lack of it - is one of the reasons Westley joined the newly formed Justice, Economic Dignity and Independence for Women. (They call themselves JEDI women.)

The group has 25 active members and another 80 on a mailing list. They meet bimonthly.

Recruiters for the group visit WIC clinics, welfare offices and emergency food pantries.

"We're a very mixed group," said Deeda Seed, founding member. "We have a lot of economic diversity. The majority are low income. Some are on public assistance, some aren't. Some are working at low-paying jobs. There are homeless women involved and some on the verge of home-less-ness."

Their issues are also diverse: They don't want to see Medicaid cut. The debate about health-care reform is intensely personal to some of them. They worry about access to quality affordable child care and how they can qualify for better-paying jobs. And they keep looking for decent places to live.

"We are a group of low-income women and their allies," Seed said. "We want to be part of the decisions being made about our lives."

For information about JEDI women, call Seed at 364-7765.