In a time when those of us struggling with housing insecurity need help the most, let’s insist that Congress meets our annual housing needs in the federal budget. Hundreds of Lutherans in 2020 took action to support comprehensive needs - such as housing assistance - in the successfully passed coronavirus relief packages. That action was a truly historic step that helped millions remain secure in their homes and avoid eviction and foreclosure. However, offering emergency aid at the cost of cutting our annual housing programs would offer a devastating blow to people seeking to bounce back from impacts of the pandemic. While legislators discuss funding levels in the Fiscal Year 2022 federal budget later this spring, it is a critical time to highlight the housing and homeless needs in our communities as housing costs for middle and low-income households continue to rise faster than ever. In past budget deals, housing programs have often seen the smallest increases when compared to other programs – making it a critical issue to bring to the attention of our lawmakers.“As followers of Christ, we are freed to love our neighbor by recognizing and naming the root causes of poverty,” said Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton on housing issues. “Sharing key solutions and our unique faith-based perspectives with public partners is essential to ensure greater access to safe and affordable homes and putting an end to this housing crisis.” Our federal partners acknowledge that faith-based ministries and congregations are critical collaborators, if not the backbone, of efforts to address homeless and housing security needs in our communities. Many Lutheran and interfaith partners provide essential housing services for seniors, people with disabilities, and low-income families in the greatest need. The ELCA social message, “Homelessness: A Renewal of Commitment," affirms that, “Church leaders are challenged to help create the public will to eliminate homelessness.” It is critical that our public policy makers hear the perspectives, opinions, and expertise of the religious community to best address the challenges of homelessness.
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