Under the broad umbrella of domestic poverty, Jesuit institutions across the U.S. are focusing on addressing the unemployment crisis, creating more affordable housing, and protecting government programs that serve the poor and vulnerable.
The starkness of the employment and income picture in the U.S. calls each of us to action. Data from the Census Bureau showed that in 2010 the nation's poverty rate rose to 15.1% or 46 million people, the highest level in 17 years. Additionally, the median income of Americans dropped by more than 2%. The number of doubled-up households grew by 10% to almost 22 million and nearly 6 million young adults ages 25-34 were living with their parents. The bureau estimates that half of these young adults would be considered poor if their parents were not supporting them.
In the face of lingering unemployment during a period of marginal economic growth, the Jesuit Conference is encouraging parishes, schools, and ministry programs to join the Faith Advocates for Jobs campaign. The goal of the campaign is to create a network of religious institutions that are directly assisting the unemployed and advocating for public policies that create jobs and ensure the dignity of workers. Individuals, organizations, and institutions can join the campaign by completing an online commitment pledge. The campaign will help communities get started, provide information on how you can be most helpful to the unemployed, share with you best practices, and send out advocacy action alerts.
The shortage of safe and affordable housing threatens the stability of households throughout the province. We encourage institutions to learn from and get involved in the work of preserving and creating more affordable housing
and working to end homelessness
on the national
, and local level
Protecting Government Programs that Serve the Poor and Vulnerable
As the nation faces unavoidable choices about how to balance needs and resources and allocate burdens and sacrifices, the national Jesuit community is urging Congress to protect funding for critical government programs that serve low-income and vulnerable people. By Thanksgiving of 2011, a bipartisan congressional supercommittee
will identify additional cuts to government programs of at least $1.2 trillion. We encourage individuals at institutions to engage in conversations with their elected officials
and ask that they protect safety net and assistance programs that serve the unemployed and the poor at home and abroad.
USCCB President Archbishop Timothy Dolan is urging clergy
to preach on poverty, educate and advocate for the poor and jobless. Your institution can support this by joining the Circle of Protection from Poverty