Pope Francis spoke these strong words during his visit to St. Maria’s Meals Program of Catholic Charities in Washington, DC. He reminded all of us that Jesus came into this world as a homeless person and God calls us to show solidarity with every person. The pope said, Jesus wants “everyone to experience his companionship, his help, his love.”
“Faith makes us know that God is at our side, that God is in our midst and his presence spurs us to charity,” added Pope Francis. “Charity is born of the call of a God who continues to knock on our door, the door of all people, to invite us to love, to compassion, to service of one another.”
House Bill 792 will provide funding for the Pennsylvania Housing Trust Fund with some of the revenue from the realty transfer tax. The trust fund now uses fees collected from natural gas drilling for counties to help families in need with new construction, rental assistance, home rehabilitation and repair, and demolition. Only counties where drilling is occurring receive the funds now.
These bills do not propose any new taxes, and the program would benefit the poorest of the poor – households earning $20,000/year or less. If passed into law, all 67 counties would have new opportunities to address the shortage of affordable housing and homelessness.
The National Alliance to End Homelessness reports that 270,000 Pennsylvanians are homeless. With this legislation, we as a community could show our compassion and for those in need and truly be in service to one another.
UPDATE: House Bill 792 has passed the House of Representatives and the PA Senate. It was signed by Governor Wolf as Act 58 of 2015. Thank for your support of this important legislation!
Photo credit: Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, DC