NEW: Action Alert– While critical cuts were made to human needs programs as part of the new Budget Control Act, we can still influence Congress to protect the unemployed and vulnerable as they determine additional cuts in the coming months. Click Here to TAKE ACTION!
The Jesuit Conference seeks to address domestic poverty by focusing on housing, unemployment and job security as well as on advocating for funding for critical programs which serve low-income and vulnerable people.
The office supports the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in the their effort to shine a light on these concerns and call upon the government and Catholics alike to ensure that all Americans can live in dignity.
Addressing the Unemployment Crisis
For 2011, the Jesuit Conference has adopted a programmatic and advocacy focus on unemployment. As such, the Conference has joined the recently launched Faith Advocates for Jobs Campaign whose goals are to organize a national network of ministries committed to supporting the unemployed; to provide information, resources, and networking opportunities that will support ministries in their commitment to the unemployed; and to train and mobilize religious leaders to advocate for public policies that create jobs, assist the unemployed, and ensure dignity to workers. click here to learn how your parish, school, or ministry can join the Campaign and receive resources to help you in your ministry to those who have lost jobs and to receive advocacy updates and action alerts.
In coalition with groups like the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the Jesuit Conference has advocated for the establishment of the National Housing Trust Fund to make the construction of much needed affordable housing more secure. Though the Trust Fund was established as part of economic stimulus legislation in 2008, we are working presently to ensure that Congress sufficiently capitalize the Trust Fund in order to support the production, preservation, and operation of rental homes for the lowest income people in the United States. The NHTF is the first federal rental housing production program that is specifically targeted to extremely low income households since the Section 8 program was established in 1974.
Protecting Government Programs that Serve the Poor and Vulnerable
In 2011 many proposals have come forth from Congress which seek to cut critical government programs which serve low-income families, the unemployed and the vulnerable . In the face of historic deficits, the nation faces unavoidable choices about how to balance needs and resources and allocate burdens and sacrifices. These choices are economic, political—and moral. As people of faith, we believe the moral measure of the debate is how the most poor and vulnerable people fare. Thus, along with the Catholic Bishops Conference and faith-based groups across the country, the Jesuit Conference has prioritized advocacy initiatives which seek to protecting funding for critical government programs to that serve low-income and vulnerable people.
Very Rev. Thomas H. Smolich, S.J., President of the Jesuit Conference, has signed on as a “primary signatory” to an ecumenical and interfaith “Circle of Protection” Statement urging the Federal Government to protect programs for the poor. Click here to find out how you can ‘join the circle.’
Action Alert — While critical cuts were made to human needs programs as part of the new Budget Control Act, we can still influence Congress to protect the unemployed and vulnerable as they determine additional cuts in the coming months. Click Here to TAKE ACTION!
Solidarity with Inner-City Populations
At the directive of the Jesuit Provincials, the Jesuit Conference has engaged Jesuits and collaborators in a national consultation on how the Society of Jesus can be in greater solidarity with inner-city populations. This initiative has its roots in the Society of Jesus’ Assistancy Strategic planning process, where the U.S. Provincials identified inner-city populations among several groups whose poverty is so “structurally entrenched,” that they are relegated to the “very margins of society where their dignity is ignored” (Meditation on Our Response to the Call of Christ, no 26 & 27). The Jesuit Conference has created a new Solidarity with Inner City Populations section of the web-page to share findings from interviews with leaders of Jesuit inner-city ministries, to promote best practices and to highlight how Jesuit urban ministries bring the light of solidarity to those who find themselves in the darkened shadows of poverty.
Spotlight on Urban Ministries
Check out what these Jesuit parishes are doing to help fight poverty amidst the recession: