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Learnings and Hope in Building Community (Church & Society)

October 19, 2022

With the help of my mentor, I have begun to dive into the priority area of Economic Justice to study ways that we can advocate to end poverty domestically and globally. My efforts, so far, have largely been focused on Affordable Housing. This has involved studying the history of discriminatory housing policies in the United States that have disproportionately affected women and persons of color for centuries, especially at the intersections of race, gender, and disability.

In my research, I have come to realize that Affordable Housing for all requires change, specifically, in our housing policies, laws, and practices. The need is urgent, as many individuals and families currently live in unsafe and inadequate housing and struggle with financially unsustainable realities.

But, I have also learned that access to affordable housing cannot be viewed in isolation from other issues of poverty. For example, individuals working for less than a living wage will need to pay a larger portion of their income on housing, leaving less available for other necessities. Families without access to healthcare can be thrown off track with unexpected medical costs, leaving them susceptible to eviction while in a vulnerable state of health.

Housing is a basic human right for all. Still, some individuals are gaining significant wealth by using housing as a commodity. This has often been at the expense of the marginalized.

It has been daunting to determine where to begin. However, I have been encouraged from two key responsibilities of my internship.

First, through my conversations with GBCS staff, I have seen how our justice work as an agency and as a denomination is guided by our United Methodist Social Principles.