In her role as vice president of the National Council of Churches board, General Minister and President Sharon Watkins took part in a house blessing for a new resident of The SeVerna, an affordable housing complex organized by Mission First Housing Development Corporation. The householder, Deborah Washington, is a computer and GED teacher at a nearby community center. Full NCC news release
Joining Watkins were representatives from the Islamic Society of North America and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. All three organizations have been active in advocating for better access to affordable housing. This is an extension of the NCC’s antipoverty work. (For an interfaith study on hospitality in the Abrahamic traditions, download NCC’s HOME study.)
In remarks after the visit, Watkins said, “The Biblical vision of wholeness (shalom) includes a world in which there is enough for everyone. As people of faith who are committed to this vision of wholeness, we are deeply concerned about so many of God’s people who struggle to find a dignified and affordable place to call home. We need courageous compassion in our churches’ ministries and in the public policies that affect everyone’s ability to live in a community that embodies shalom. We need our Congress to help make this happen by making good on their unfulfilled promise to fund the National Housing Trust Fund.”
The National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF), enacted as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, was written to create dedicated sources of funding to build, preserve, and rehabilitate housing for low-income people. Congress has not approved funding for the NHTF. NCC is joining the Fighting Poverty with Faith coalition in raising awareness about the situation. An opportunity to speak out is available on the NCC website.