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Equity and Inclusion Campaign: Sign-On Letter for Faith Based Organizations Requesting Senator Vitter\'s Support for S. 1668

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Dear Senator Vitter, We, the undersigned, as part of the Equity and Inclusion Campaign, write to you to request your support for The Gulf Coast Housing Recovery Act of 2007 (Senate Bill S.1668). In March 2007, the House passed a companion bill (H.R. 1227: The Gulf Coast Hurricane Housing Recovery Act), with the full, bi-partisan support of the Louisiana and Mississippi delegations - including Louisiana Governor Elect Bobby Jindal. Shortly thereafter, Sen. Landrieu (D-LA) and Sen. Dodd (D-CT) introduced S. 1668, which incorporates and expands upon the critical affordable housing provisions in H.R. 1227, including the right of return for displaced Gulf Coast residents. The Senate bill provides options for affordable housing and homeownership, including: -Phased re-development of subsidized housing; vouchers for low-income families the elderly and homeless; and low-income homeownership opportunities. -Resources to cover most of the Road Home funding gap. -Federal housing and insurance guidelines to spur the equitable development of blighted properties, and free up local mortgage capital for Gulf Coast residents. As you are well aware, two years since hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated our communities, many of our congregations are struggling to make ends meet, rebuild their houses and social networks, and bring families and loved ones home. Our prolonged economic and social instability is due to the large numbers of kin, friends and neighbors who are still displaced, as well as the widespread lack of housing - affordable, secure, and habitable - to shelter us during this critical recovery period. Businesses across the Gulf Coast cannot restore their workforces due to this lack of housing; Greater New Orleans, Inc. estimates that over 35,000 jobs in the hospitality, health and hospital, and construction fields are unfilled. This intertwined lack of adequate housing and labor in the region has a cumulative effect on our redevelopment efforts, and contributes substantially to our lagging progress to date. In addition to the bi-partisan political commitment to bring long promised federal funds to the region, substantial community support exists for S.1668 and the housing and economic recovery it offers. Developers, homeowners and businesses appreciate its flexibility for mixed-income community construction, Road Home resources and workforce housing, respectively. Furthermore, over 100 national and local non-profits have endorsed the bill, including faith-based organizations such as: Catholic Charities; the Religious Action Center for Reformed Judaism; Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations; BISCO; Mississippi Interfaith Disaster Task Force; PICO-LIFT; Project Lazarus, and Providence Community Housing. As members of faith-based organizations, Gulf Coast residents, and citizens of the United States, we must give voice to the moral imperative we face as a nation to rebuild this historic, essential and irreplaceable region of the country. In turn, we look to our political leaders to share in our moral and democratic responsibility to support one another in times of distress, and in doing so transforming those troubled times into periods of hope and opportunity. Spurred by our mutual faith and values we take this stand on behalf of our communities, congregations and neighbors; we must act in concert now to support S. 1668 and the equitable and inclusive recovery of Louisiana, Mississippi and - we hope with our continued advocacy - Alabama, as well. We urge you to endorse S. 1668 to support the healthy and secure recovery of communities of faith and our friends, neighbors and families across the Gulf Coast. Sincerely,


The Equity & Inclusion Campaign is a legislative advocacy and public messaging campaign aimed at federal policymakers that seeks to energize and sustain a national dialogue on equity and inclusion. The Campaign


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