Catholic Community Services (CCS) and Catholic Housing Services (CHS) of Western Washington (Archdiocese of Seattle) submitted written feedback to the House Financial Services Committee in response to a request for proposals to address poverty and housing affordability. Over the past 36 years, CCS and CHS have developed 50 housing projects across western Washington state, which offer almost 2,300 units of affordable housing to over 3,500 children, adults and seniors. Drawing on this robust expertise, CCS and CHS offered concrete recommendations for the Committee to consider, stressing:
“The approach of HUD over the last 50 years took President Johnson’s vision to heart and based its services on responding to the needs of individuals and families. What it did not do was root itself in the very communities where poor people live. We believe that significant progress on underlying poverty and affordable, sustainable housing will occur only when we purposefully and strategically engage with whole communities, not just individuals. We need to shift away from a focus on helping people “escape” poor communities to an approach that helps poor communities build and sustain self-sufficient, healthy neighborhoods in which members can live and thrive for generations.”
The House Financial Services Committee will use the feedback submitted to them, including this submission, to inform a series of hearings and possible committee proposals on housing affordability and HUD oversight.