Released Tuesday, July 21
Hundreds of California Faith Leaders Declare Moral Imperative for State Assembly to Pass Critical Housing Bill
Letter signed by faith leaders from all over the state, spanning many faiths urge passage of Senate Bill 899
(California) Hundreds of faith leaders signed on to a letter sent to Speaker Anthony Rendon and President Pro Tem Toni Atkins in support of Senate Bill 899 today. The 250+ signatories represented diverse communities of faith across California including Catholic, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Protestant, Sikh, and many other faiths represented through interfaith councils.
Signatories affirmed their moral imperative to help address our state’s housing and homelessness crisis by directly engaging in a process that could bring more affordable homes to California families and workers. “We, the undersigned faith communities, strongly support SB 899, which allows us to re-imagine the land owned by our houses of worship as a solution, a home, and a sanctuary for those in need,” the letter begins.
Our faith calls us to serve and support,” said Rt. Rev. Dr. Marc Andrus, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California. “This legislation will help us utilize our land to bring dignity and justice to the children, men, women, and humans in our communities.”
“Places of worship are places our community members come for respite. I’m proud to stand with Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Buddhist, and other faith leaders to support policy solutions that can transform our neighborhoods into welcoming, inclusive communities open to people of all races and creeds,” said Rev. Ken Chambers, President of the Interfaith Council of Alameda County and Pastor of Westside Missionary Baptist Church.
SB 899 will make building 100% affordable housing easier, faster, and less expensive on land owned by faith-based institutions and non-profit colleges by removing zoning restrictions and speeding up approval processes.
“This innovative proposal authorizes the land’s nonprofit owners to address our affordable housing shortage and transform historically exclusive communities of opportunity into inclusive neighborhoods for all,” said Pedro Galvao, Policy Director at bill co-sponsor Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California (NPH.)
“Faith institutions are community anchors for so many families and residents,” said Alan Greenlee, Executive Director of bill co-sponsor Southern California Association of Nonprofit Housing. “This bill lets them do more, by offering their land to create more stable, affordable homes in high-resource neighborhoods. We strongly support proactive measures that address difficult, lengthy, and costly barriers to the development of affordable homes that Californians so critically need, and SB 899 is a much-needed tool to empower members of our communities.”
Signers demonstrate widespread support across geography and faith. The more than 250 signers include the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Clairemont Lutheran Church, Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice or Faith in the Valley, Interfaith Solidarity Network, Islamic Center of Mill Valley, Qalbu Maryam Women’s Mosque, United Church of Christ in Northern California and Nevada, Valley Beth Shalom, and hundreds more. For the full list of signers, view the letter here.
The Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California (NPH) is the Bay Area’s voice for affordable housing. NPH envisions a future where everyone has an affordable and stable home. NPH represents thousands of individuals and organizations, including affordable housing developers, advocates, community leaders, and businesses, working to secure resources, promote good policy, educate the public, and support affordable homes as the foundation for thriving individuals, families and neighborhoods. NPH is a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 899. For more information about NPH and Senate Bill 899, visit www.nonprofithousing.org
The Southern California Association of Nonprofit Housing (SCANPH) is a trade association, founded in 1985, that supports and advocates for those dedicated to the development of affordable housing. SCANPH’s advocacy efforts have contributed greatly toward assisting the financially vulnerable in our communities since 1985. The mission of SCANPH is to facilitate development of affordable homes across southern California by advancing effective public policies, sustainable financial resources, strong member organizations, and beneficial partnerships. For more information, visit www.scanph.org