ISSUE AREA: HOUSING
NETWORK affirms that housing is a human right. Everyone should have access to safe, affordable housing.
Catholic Social Justice proclaims the dignity of all people and the right to shelter. Inspired by our faith, we demand affordable housing for all in our nation. NETWORK stands with Pope Francis, who said during his visit to the United States, “We can find no social or moral justification, no justification whatsoever, for lack of housing.” By failing to provide housing to all members of our society, we harm family development and prevent millions from feeling the peace and joys of this security.
NETWORK Advocates for Federal Policies That:
Recognize that secure and stable housing is a critical support of healthy family life
Access to decent affordable housing helps to create the stable atmosphere necessary for families, and particularly children, to thrive. Our current housing policies have meant that more than 2.5 million children, one in every thirty, experienced homelessness in 2013. A just and affordable housing policy that places families within a reasonable commuting distance would ensure that parents could spend more time with their children instead of traveling, nourishing both parent and child. As Pope Francis reminds us, “‘Home’ represents the most precious human treasures…is a crucial place in life, where life grows and can be fulfilled, because it is a place in which every person learns to receive love and to give love.” NETWORK supports a housing first model, which recognizes that housing is the first step to providing low-income individuals and families with safety and stability in all areas of life.
Fully fund programs that construct new affordable housing and maintain existing units, while integrating public transportation, job opportunities, and other essential components of an effective housing policy
The largest problem renters and potential home-owners face today is a lack of affordable housing. Since the 1990s, the United States has destroyed almost a quarter-million public housing units, replacing only a fraction of them with new units. Meanwhile, the majority of new privately developed housing units are unaffordable to low-income families. The federal government can recognize the dignity of all people and reduce, and eventually eliminate, homelessness and housing insecurity in our nation by supporting affordable housing.
We advocate for the construction of affordable housing that is a reasonable distance from potential employers with convenient public transportation readily available from these locations. Often, public housing units, shelters, or housing vouchers are constructed or made available outside of the reach of public transportation or far from employers. This issue is particularly problematic for individuals living in shelters, as they can be shut out of their housing for failing to return before the shelter’s curfew, meaning they are made to decide between working and having shelter for the night.
Commit to end homelessness, and utilize public-private partnerships between businesses and government to work toward this goal
Recently, federal agencies and Congress have worked together to end veteran and chronic homelessness, which has had considerable success. Moved by our faith’s teachings on the dignity of all and the need to protect our most vulnerable, we at NETWORK believe that we must act with similar passion on a broader scale. This requires public and private investment in improving our communities and ending homelessness.
Treat people experiencing homelessness with dignity and reject the criminalization of homelessness
Efforts to “hide” people experiencing homelessness from residents and tourists must be rejected. Laws prohibiting sitting or lying down in certain public areas, sleeping in cars, panhandling, or even receiving food from strangers can be found across many communities, resulting in heavy fines or jail time. Such regulations fail to end homelessness and genuinely harm vulnerable people. Families, people with mental or physical illnesses, youth, and those fleeing from domestic violence should not be criminalized for their government’s failure to provide sufficient housing. NETWORK advocates for federal policies that combat laws targeted at the homeless.
- Housing Choice Voucher Program
- The National Housing Trust Fund
- HOME Investment Partnership Program
- Community Development Block Grant
- Low-Income Housing Tax Credit
- Housing First and the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Hate Crimes Statistics Acts of 1990