Ward 2 Faith Leaders Call on Councilmember Pinto to Support Revenue Raisers to Invest $66 Million to End Chronic Homelessness.

Dear Councilmember Pinto,

We, the undersigned, represent an array of Faith Leaders and Institutions located in Ward 2. Like you, we believe that ending chronic homelessness must be the top priority for DC and that this commitment must be reflected in the Council’s upcoming Fiscal Year 2022 Budget.

DC’s moral failure to ensure that all of our neighbors have the housing they need to thrive is only compounded by DC’s growing wealth and inequity. Nowhere is this truer than in Ward 2, which is both the economic powerhouse of DC and home to the highest concentration of unsheltered individuals. This dichotomy is painfully reflected by the increase in homeless encampments just feet away from vacant apartments and houses selling for millions of dollars.

As such, we write to you today to ask you to use your immense power to make certain that the Council’s upcoming budget is a moral document and used as a tool to promote equity, justice and housing. A moral budget is one that includes robust investments to meet DC’s housing and homelessness crises and must include $66 million to end chronic homelessness for 2,300 households. And, if needed to fund these lifesaving programs, asking our wealthiest neighbors to pay slightly more in taxes is the moral option.

As Pastor Karen Brau of Luther Place Church teaches, “Our faith traditions teach that taking care of the most vulnerable people in our community includes efforts of mercy and justice. We can fund such actions when we use an income framework of “sufficiency,” or having ‘enough” money -- in practice that means taxing those with higher incomes to support those who do not have enough.”

This will be DC’s most consequential budget in decades and one of the most important votes of your career. Your vote and the votes of colleagues will show if your support for ending homelessness is a true priority or just an expedient talking point. Your vote will show if you have learned the lessons of COVID, that our collective wellbeing and health are interconnected and require us all to have safe housing, or if we will simply move on without addresses the structural failings that made COVID an inconvenience for some and a death sentence for others. Your vote will show if Black Lives matter not just in word but in deed.

Councilmember Pinto, we are asking you to make the moral choice to raise the revenue needed to fund 2,300 additional Permanent Supportive Housing Vouchers that will ensure our most marginalized neighbors have the housing they need to thrive.

With Blessings,

1. Rev. Karen Brau, Luther Place Church
2. Rev. Dr. Amy Butler, National City Christian Church
3. Rev. Brett Wilson, Georgetown Lutheran Church
4. Rev. Donna Claycomb Sokol, Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church
5. Rev. Rachel Cornwell, Dumbarton United Methodist Church
6. Rev. Dr. Laura Cunningham,Western Presbyterian Church
7. Rev. Ginger E. Gaines-Cirelli, Foundry United Methodist Church
8. Rev. Glenna Huber, Church of the Epiphany
9. Rev. William H. Lamar IV, Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church
10. Rev. Dr. Ianther M. Mills, Asbury United Methodist Church
11. Rev. Julie Pennington-Russell, The First Baptist Church of the City of Washington, D.C.
12. Rev. Ben Roberts, Foundry United Methodist Church
13. Rev. Sally Sarratt, Calvary Baptist Church
14. Rev. Dr. Heather Shortlidge, The New York Avenue Presbyterian Church
15. Rev. Maria Swearingen, Calvary Baptist Church
16. Rev. K.C. Van Atta-Casebier, Foundry United Methodist Church
17. Rev. Kealani Willbanks, Foundry United Methodist Church
18. Rev. Richard Mosson Weinberg, St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church
19. Rabbi Ilana Zeitman