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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Rally for Housing

The Rally for Affordable Housing

The Interfaith Assembly leads the rally
First: The invite to the rally
Please join the Interfaith Assembly and other faith leaders and people of faith: 

To bear witness to the critical need for supportive housing 
for the most vulnerable New Yorkers

Wednesday, August 10, 2016 
 9am to 10am
At Governor Cuomo's New York City Office 
633 3rd Avenue (btwn. 4oth and 41st street

and to urge the Governor to release the 
full funding for 6,000 units of supportive housing 
over the next five years by signing, without delay 
the MOU for the 1.9 Billion in the state budget 
for affordable and supportive housing 

This presence in front of the Governor's office will be the third weekly Wednesday witness in partnership with the campaign 4 NY/NY housing to let the public and the Governor know that New Yorkers across the state call on him to act now to sign the MOU for the full $1.9 billion. We hope you will help us send the message that New York's people of faith stand with our most vulnerable neighbors in calling for action NOW. 

Fully six months since Governor Cuomo pledged to produce 20,000 units of supportive housing over the next 15 years, and over 100 days since the Governor and State Legislature included 1.9 billion in the state budget for affordable housing including 6,000 units of supportive housing,  a mere $150 million has actually been authorized

As the Daily News  
reported last month 
about the memo of understanding still unsigned 

"Gov. Cuomo, Legislature deadlocked on $2B affordable housing plan for New York"

The lives of New York's most vulnerable residents are not a bargaining chip!! They are our mothers and fathers, sisters, brothers, children and neighbors. 

Supportive Housing development is an endeavour that involves multiple partners and years of planning and coordination. The current $150 million authorization severely constrains our partners' ability to gain the long term commitments from funders, developers, property owners and others required to move forward on the scale of development that our current crisis demands. Every delay in signing the full Memorandum of Understanding truly means that many of our most vulnerable neighbors will suffer and some will actually die prematurely from the lack of appropriate housing and needed services.
Marc L. Greenberg
Executive Director
Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing
165 West 105th Street, NY NY 10025





The Press release:

gather on Wednesday, August 10, at 9am in front of the NYC office of Governor Andrew Cuomo to bear witness to the crisis of homelessness and call on the Governor to exercise his leadership and sign an MOU with the State legislative leaders to release 1.9 billion dollars in the New York State budget to fund 6,000 units of supportive housing state wide over the next 5 years. 

Faith leaders will include: The Reverend Peter Cook, Executive Director of the New York State Council of Church, The Reverend Robert Foltz-Morrison, Executive Presbyter, Presbytery of New York City, Dr. Anne Klaeysen, Leader, New York Society for Ethical Culture, Sister Carol De Angelo, Sisters of Charity of New York, Iman Boukadoum, Interfaith Center of New York, The Reverend Robert Brashear, Senior Pastor, West Park Presbyterian Church, Marc Greenberg, Executive Director, Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing, and others, and will be joined by members of the Micah Faith Table and of the Life Experience and Faith Sharing Association – including men and women who have themselves been homeless. 

In November of last year, in an effort spearheaded by the Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing, nearly 300 faith leaders called on the Governor and the Mayor to commit to produce 35,000 units of supportive housing over the next 15 years, and this June over 150 faith leaders endorsed another letter urging the Governor and State legislative leaders to sign the MOU to release, without delay, the full 1.9 billion in the New York State budget for affordable housing and supportive housing for New York’s most vulnerable households.

 “As the legislative session closed on June 18th we were dismayed and deeply disappointed to learn that the Governor and State leaders agreed to release a mere $150 million of the 2 billion dollars in the state budget for affordable and supportive housing.  Every delay in signing the full Memorandum of Understanding means that many of our most vulnerable neighbors will suffer and some will actually die prematurely from the lack of appropriate housing and needed services. We see no reason to delay this effort one more day!” – The Reverend Robert Foltz-Morrison, Executive Presbyter, Presbytery of New York City. 
Presbytery Exec Robert Foltz-Morrison addresses the rally

‘With 20,000 households across the state of New York approved for supportive housing each year but only 1 in 6 actually obtaining it, our most vulnerable citizens need our elected officials to stand up for them TODAY and sign the Memo of Understanding for the full 1.9 Billion Dollars – a true 5-year commitment and not a series of one year allocations.  Signing the MOU would send a powerful signal to members of our communities, the general public, advocates, stakeholders and the entire country that New York is serious in its determination to end homelessness and help to affirm the public’s faith that Government is committed to help all citizens to live full and decent lives.  New Yorkers look to Governor Cuomo and our State leaders to do their job and sign the full MOU NOW” -- The Reverend Peter Cook, Executive Director, New York State Council of Churches 
Marc with Peter Cook of the New York State Council of Churches

“As people of faith, we believe that decent housing is the God-given right of all people. Our elected officials have done their part, they've budgeted the money. All it requires is the governor's signature. And still Governor Cuomo refuses to sign. It is simply wrong, in every sense of the word, to hold the lives of our most vulnerable neighbors, hostage to political whim. Governor Cuomo, sign now!” – The Reverend Dr. Robert Brashear, Senior Pastor, West Park Presbyterian Church, Chair, Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing
Pastor Robert Brashear and Robert Foltz-Morrison

“Today, I stand with faith leaders to bring to our awareness our brothers and sisters who need a place to live, a place they can call home, especially those in need of supportive housing. Too often, their stories are not known, their voice not heard. We need to get to know them, listen to their stories and respond.  We are one family, brothers and sisters to each other. I give thanks for all who are working to address this injustice. 

Sisters of Charity of New York join with Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing, faith leaders and others who urge Governor Cuomo and New York State legislators to sign the MOU on Supportive Housing. The MOU is one way to bring forth new life for those in need of supportive housing.

Pope Francis, in Laudato Si: On Care For Our Common Home, states: “Disregard for the duty to cultivate and maintain a proper relationship with my neighbor, for whose care and custody I am responsible, ruins my relationship with my own self, with others, with God and with the earth. When all these relationships are neglected, when justice no longer dwells in the land, the Bible tells us that life itself is endangered.” -- Sister Carol De Angelo, SC, Director of Office of Peace, Justice and Integrity of Creation for the Sisters of Charity of New York.

“The New York Society for Ethical Culture was the first community to answer Mayor Koch’s call to provide shelter for our most needy neighbors. After 30 years of giving comfort and support to women in transition as they take the necessary steps to self-sufficiency, finding a new home and job, we join our colleagues from throughout our great state in calling on our Governor to do his job and sign the MOU without delay.” Dr. Anne Klaeysen, Leader, New York Society for Ethical Culture.

“Supportive housing is the best, most humane, and most cost effective way to provide chronically homeless people the support they need. Providing supportive housing to our most vulnerable residents saves government’s money -- $10,100 per year, per tenant here in New York – by reducing hospitalizations, detox and rehab programs, and incarceration.  But supportive housing development is an endeavor that involves multiple partners and years of planning and coordination.  The current $150 million authorization severely constrains our partners' ability to gain the long term commitments from funders, developers, property owners and others required to move forward on the scale of development that our current crisis demands  .  The lives of New York's most vulnerable residents are not a bargaining chip!! They are our mothers and fathers, sisters, brothers, children and neighbors.” – Marc Greenberg, Executive Director, Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing

The letter signed by 150 faith leaders reads in part:  ““As members of the clergy and the leaders of faith based communities and service organizations, we are on the front lines of providing support to the 80,000 homeless children, women and men in our communities. From Montauk to Massena, Brooklyn to Buffalo, too many individuals and families with serious social service needs simply cannot find and maintain permanent, affordable housing and get off the streets.” … “With the stroke of a pen, you can begin to change that”.   

As people of faith, we know you each share our belief that the true values of a society are revealed in the way it treats the neediest and most vulnerable among us. That is why we are writing you today to encourage you to finish the job by signing the Memo of Understanding your budget requires before those funds can be spent, and those 6,000 new units of supportive housing can be built”.

(For press people – for more info – marc@iahh.org – 917-913-0098)

What I said at the rally:

I need your help to try and figure something out.  We all know there’a crisis in affordable housing.  Maybe 80000 homeless. We got busy…those of us who work in the area of housing did our job. We wrote up programs and proposasl. And delivered them to our elected officials. Those of  us in the fauth community did our job. We wrote letters, we communicated with our elected officials.Told them of our concerns. And lo and behold, they listened. And praise the Lord, they did their job. They budgeted 1.9 billion dollars for affordable housing.  That was six months ago. SO where’s the money? Someone must not be doing their job. Who could it  be? Gov. Cuomo Maybe? So our first message is:  do your job.
The second is: sign the memo. Now.
To use the most vulnerable in our society as political bargaining chips is reprhensible. To hold them hostage is morally worng. We are here to say that stops now. 


Addressing the rally








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