Interfaith Assembly
Interfaith Assembly campaign leader

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Dear Friend,

Since our causes' founding one month ago, over 155 members have joined. This is great news! Now is your chance to really help put this cause into motion. Please consider making an End of the Year Gift to support the Interfaith Assembly’s work so that in 2010 more of our sisters and brothers now without the blessing of a home may move towards securing one and rebuilding their lives – and so those at risk of homelessness may find the housing security that they desperately need.

Please take a moment to make a tax-deductible on-line contribution right now through our cause (other options are to donate at www.iahh/donate, or by sending a check made out to Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing to 48 Staint Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003.)

Despite our modest budget and small staff, the Interfaith Assembly plays a significant role in the broad coalition of groups advocating for public policies on behalf of homeless and at risk New York families and individuals. And our Life-Skills Empowerment programs help many dozens a year to recover from the trauma associated with their homelessness and rejoin society. Some of our formerly homeless program graduates now serve as staff, interns, volunteers and board members as we work to ensure that the call for justice at the very center of our faith traditions is heard loud and clear as our society works to Build a Blessed City Together.

It’s important that the Interfaith Assembly stays strong so that we can act quickly to support important initiatives to strengthen needed policies – or to cry out in protest when proposed policies would cause great harm to the most vulnerable among us. As I write this letter today for example, the Assembly has joined a growing call for the Mayor to reverse the recent decision by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to unilaterally cancel over 3,000 Federal section 8 Housing vouchers held by individuals and families seeking housing.

With close to 40,000 New Yorkers in shelters – and more still in the streets and subways, fully 1/3rd of New York Households paying more than 50% of their income in rent, and the annual loss of 15,000 affordable apartments due to weakened rent regulations, the Assembly needs your support to be able to continue to advocate for those who most need us to stand with them.

And for our Life-Skills Empowerment Programs to continue to grow, we need your help! This year, our Panim el Panim – (“Face to Face”) Life-Skills Empowerment Program graduated its second class with the participation of our three interfaith sponsors – Congregation Ansche Chesed, All Angels Episcopal Church and Holy Trinity Catholic Church. Wayne Harrison, who after 5 years of homelessness, had graduated from the first semester just over a year ago, this year served as a program assistant and was instrumental, along with another program graduate (and Co-Facilitator) Dennis Barton and Naomi Goldman (a member of Congregation Ansche Chesed) in helping one of our graduates secure housing after nearly 8 years on the street – and helping a number of others towards making progress in their housing and emotional stability as well.

Our "Coming Home" Life-Skills Empowerment Program, offered in partnership with Bronxville Reformed Church and Hudson Link, assisted nine men (most of them formerly homeless) coming home after serving prison sentences, to find the resources and stability to re-integrate back into their communities and begin to make amends and give back. The final session of Coming Home will be a public forum on Criminal Justice Policy on January 14th at Bronxville Reformed Church to explore ways that public policies may be improved to assist the re-entry of those committed to making a positive contribution to society after doing their time. As an example of the work that needs to be done in this regard - one of our graduates who had been working with officials in New Rochelle to reduce violent crime and mentor at risk youth was recently re-incarcerated as a result of rule regarding associating...

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