Helping the indigent is a basic tenet of most religions, and
churches and temples follow that in a variety of ways, such as
running soup kitchens and homeless shelters or just giving financial
support to others. Now, along with the Episcopal Diocese, St. Mark's
is trying to contribute to a more permanent solution -- affordable
Community leaders from local agencies and the Episcopal Church met
at the diocese in Echo Park on Thursday to launch a faith-based
affordable housing initiative to raise money for affordable housing
throughout Southern California. Representatives from the city of
Glendale and St. Mark's attended the meeting.
"The faith community has a long history of providing help with
their communities," said Joe Colletti, executive director of the
Institute for Urban Research and Development and adjunct faculty at
Fuller Theological Seminary, who is spearheading the project. "It
just hasn't been in the affordable housing arena."
Colletti said Glendale has a need for affordable housing.
According to data from the 2000 census, he said more than 13,000 of
Glendale's 72,000 households have incomes of $15,000 or less, and
more than 21,000 make $25,000 or less.
"There's definitely a role for faith-based organizations," said
Madalyn Blake, the city's director of community development and
housing. "They have to develop the capacity and funding, but the
mission is there."
The coalition is headed by Colletti's Institute for Urban Research
and Development, which runs Project ACHIEVE, and Colletti wants to
use Project ACHIEVE as a conduit into affordable housing in Glendale
and other cities.
"What we hope to accomplish is to create a housing trust fund that
will be augmented by a capital fund campaign that will provide future
funding for our affordable housing projects, including those in the
city of Glendale," Colletti said. "People need affordable housing."
For now, the focus is on fund-raising. The initiative launched the
capital fund campaign, which will include fund-raising at local
churches, including St. Mark's.