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Housing and Homelessness

Rabbi Lucy Dinner on stage at the Poor People's Campaign on the National Mall

This post is adapted from remarks offered by Rabbi Lucy Dinner at the Poor People's Campaign day of action in D.C. on Monday, June 11.

Rabbi Lucy Dinner

Over the past few weeks, the weekly parsha, Torah portion, has covered the building of the mishkan, the tabernacle.

Nathan Bennett
Homeless man

Cold weather has sunk in for many of us as winter is now in full swing. For some of us, this means having to don heavy coats and scarves, and wearing boots to trudge through the snow.

Nathan Bennett

In early April, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a new guidance suggesting

Adam Waters
sign reading "Affordable Housing Now"

Participants of the RAC’s Bernard and Audre Rapoport L’Taken Seminars, often share with us that one of the most inspiring mo

Tyler Dratch

 For it was little which you had before I came, and it has increased abundantly; and God has blessed me wherever I turned.

Tyler Dratch

Last July, I packed up all of my bags, loaded up the trunk of my dad’s car, and made the trek from New England to move to Washington D.C. and begin my post-collegiate professional life.

While I’ve been enjoying the past year in the Nation’s Capital, amidst learning WMATA and running routes, dashing between meetings, enjoying the monuments and museums, it’s impossible not to see the rampant inequality in the District. In Dupont Circle alone, just blocks from the RAC’s office on Kivie Kaplan Way, too many people experiencing homelessness camp out at night, not sure where else to go in the hazy humidity of a D.C. summer or during the winter nights before the federal government closes for a snow day.

This week in Congress, the House voted approved the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) funding bill for Fiscal Year 2016, which passed 216-210. Though the bill prioritizes federal rental assistance, the bill cuts funds that would repair and maintain public housing by $194 million. Since the public housing programs already have an over $26 billion repair backlog, these cuts are especially devastating.

The record-breaking floods over the past week in Houston sadly remind us all of the fragility of our homes and refuges in the face of extreme weather. Many homes were destroyed in the severe flooding in Houston, along with two synagogues. Help support the people affected by the floods in Houston through the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston here. The floods also remind of the many individuals whose were not lost, but who were experiencing homelessness before and now will have to face even greater challenges to be safe and secure in a home of their own. While we reach out to and try to support those in Houston, we must also take action to ensure accessible, affordable housing for all people through legislative advocacy.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness of mental illnesses and the importance of mental wellness for all.  In our own country, an estimated 18.6 percent or 43.7 million Americans live with mental illnesses, and 4.1% or 9.6 million U.S. adults have a serious mental illness. Whether or not we have personally experienced a mental illness, no family or community is immune.