Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We need your help in order to address the urgent crisis of homelessness and the lack of affordable housing in our beloved Valley of St. Clare. This November each of us, who are registered voters, will have the opportunity to vote our consciences informed by Catholic social teaching on a number of ballot items. Many of these are worthy of deeper dialogue. However, one in particular affects both the most vulnerable homeless and each of us who are residents of Santa Clara County. That is Measure A, the proposal to build affordable housing to help end homelessness and to help children and families live in safe, decent affordable housing.
Inspired by Christ’s call to serve the least of our brothers and sisters, the Catholic Church actively helps homeless families and individuals, seniors, and other vulnerable individuals and families in need through a broad network of charitable responses. We are grateful for the dedicated service of parish outreach volunteers and members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul for providing emergency rental assistance to needy families. We are pleased to witness parishes and other congregations sheltering homeless women, men, and families through the interfaith winter shelter network initiated by Holy Spirit Parish and coordinated by Catholic Charities Parish Partnerships. Through the competent professional work of Catholic Charities social workers and Charities Housing Development, as a church we have been able to build affordable apartment buildings and assist thousands of people in moving out of poverty and homelessness into permanent supportive housing. These works of faith need to continue and grow.
Yet all our good work is being overwhelmed by the current housing crisis. Too many veterans have vouchers for affordable housing but no place willing to accept them. Too many children and families are living in cars or tripled up with other families in small homes because they can’t afford the rent on their own. Too many of our own teachers and workers commute long distances to serve our community of faith because they cannot afford ever increasing rents and housing prices.
We need to do more, and we can’t do it alone. That is why we are voting “Yes” on Measure A, to finance the building of permanent affordable housing to help end homelessness and enable children and families, seniors and people with disabilities and others of limited means to live in safe, decent, affordable housing. As Pope Francis said in his message to Congress during his visit last year, “Let me be clear. There is no moral or social justification, no justification whatsoever, for the lack of housing.”
We invite you to join us in helping solve this crisis of homelessness by voting “Yes” on Measure A.
Most Reverend Patrick J. McGrath
Bishop, Diocese of San Jose
Board Chair, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County
Khanh Duy Russo
Board President, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County