From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Church Leaders Call on Bush to Provide More Housing

From News News <NEWS@ELCA.ORG>
Date Wed, 26 Jun 2002 09:55:07 -0500


June 26, 2002


     CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), and several other church
leaders called on President George W. Bush to "provide safe, permanent
and affordable housing for over 200,000 working families."
     Other organizations that signed a June 1 letter to Bush included
the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), American Baptist Churches in the
U.S.A., National Council of Catholic Women, United Muslims of America,
Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch and the Buddhist Peace Fellowship.
     In recent years, housing for low-income families has decreased by a
third, causing a shortage of more than 4.4 million homes, the letter
said.  Over 5.4 million families today live in unsafe or unhealthy
housing conditions, it continued.
     "Will we stand by and watch while over four million children suffer
from stunted growth, anemia, asthma and significantly poorer overall
health as compared to their peers who are adequately housed?" the church
leaders wrote.  "Our shared concern that we 'leave no child behind'
compels us to find the political and moral courage to change this
     "The tragedy of homeless families now permeates the national
landscape and the lack of affordable housing rips at the fabric of all
our nation's communities," the church leaders said.
"Once primarily a problem confined to our major urban centers, the
housing crisis has now spread to affect both suburban and rural areas as
     The church leaders urged Bush to sign the National Affordable
Housing Trust Fund Act of 2001 that would allow the United States to
address this "national and social tragedy."  The legislation, which has
bipartisan support, would focus more than 93 percent of housing funds to
extremely low-income families, create 1.5 million new units of housing
for low-income families by 2010 and would generate 180,000 living-wage
jobs that could lead to 1.8 million more new jobs using the Trust's
initial $5 billion investment, the letter said.
     Other ELCA leaders who signed the letter were the Rev. David A.
Donges, bishop of the South Carolina Synod, Columbia, S.C.; the Rev.
Harvey L. Huntley Jr., regional coordinator, Columbia; the Rev. Donald
J. McCoid, bishop of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod, Pittsburgh;
the Rev. Gregory R. Pile, bishop of the Allegheny Synod, Altoona, Pa.;
the Rev. E. Roy Riley, bishop of the New Jersey Synod, Trenton; the Rev.
Theodore F. Schneider, bishop of the Metropolitan Washington, D.C.,
Synod; the Rev. Stephen L. Werner, congregational ministries board,
Rocky Mountain Synod, Denver; and the Rev. Gary M. Wollersheim, bishop
of the Northern Illinois Synod, Rockford, Ill.
     The letter concluded by urging Bush to "bring us dramatically
closer to the dream of this United States of America being a land of
opportunity for all, especially for those most vulnerable among us."
-- -- --
*Amy Wineinger is a junior at Wartburg College, Waverly, Iowa.  This
summer she is an intern with ELCA News and Media Production.

For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or NEWS@ELCA.ORG

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