Saturday, July 18, 2015

Fight, fight, fight: Housing is a right...


Pastor Bob praying for housing justice

Fight, fight, fight, housing is a  right.

Got a late call from Marc from the Interfaith Assembly on Housing and Homelessness.
Marc Greenberg and the Assembly were there.....
Big rally downtown demanding decent  housing for all. Lots of sponsors including  various unions and community  groups, New York communities for Change (which used to be ACORN), Faith in New York ( a project of the community organizing group PICO National Network), Churches United for Fair Housing and our Interfaith Assembly.And many others. Even though I’m really short on time, I go.

The rally begins at the First Houses, site of the first public housing projects in the US.
We began at the First Houses
I’m anxious to speak and leave, but because of the turnout, I have to go on the long march to the Seward Houses , a new project where affordable means incomes above $60000 a year and work buy non-union groups. At the end of the march, I’m asked to open with prayer. Before I pray, a 16 wheeler rolls by,the driver blowing his horn in solidarity and raising his fist.

I start by saying that there are homeless people on my steps every day with their worldly possessions.  And then I open by quoting the prophet Isaiah:
“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

We are not asking the mayor to take the homeless poor into his house, or anyone else for that matter. But we are asking that polices be put into place that can bring people the shelter they deserve.

Holy One,  we thank you for this mighty gathering of people. Gather their spirit into one spirit, their voice into one strong voice that can speak loud and clear and be heard.
Holy One forgive our city for turning its back on a record number of 61000 homeless, including women  and children. As we tithe for our churches, let our city tithe of 10% of new housing for the homeless people. Open hearts to provide legal counsel for the  30000 facing eviction.

Add our voices to the over 250 faith leaders who have called for the cooperation of the governor and mayor to produce 35000 units of new affordable housing. Grant them a spirit of  creativity and cooperation.

Let those with open hearts and minds and spirits in city hall and the chambers of Albany hear our plea. Let the radical sustaining power of the holy spirit remain with us until we have  established that housing is a right.
These things we pray in your  holy name and presence.

There are a few Hallelujahs....


I am hot  and tired when I get back to the church. I meet Don to go his house, sit on his patio under the stairs and talk about how we begin moving our developing center forword.

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