Interfaith group opposes reduction of housing aid


March 24, 1995|By Reported by Frank P. L. Somerville

A Baltimore-area interfaith organization founded three years ago to involve churches and synagogues in housing programs for low-income families mounted an attack this week on recent efforts to reduce government funding of such programs.

The Maryland Interfaith Conference on Affordable Housing (MICAH) called on local, state and federal legislators not only to "oppose any reductions in programs affecting the provision of housing" but to support increased funding.

"MICAH believes that the suggestion that religious and private groups could provide affordable housing as an alternative to governmental financing is not true," the statement said.

Its "statement of concern" was issued with the backing of a cross-section of Jewish and Christian religious leaders.

Noting that "relatively few housing units are provided by the combined efforts of many denominations throughout Maryland," MICAH argued that even those limited efforts require governmental support.

Among the statement's endorsers were Arthur Abramson, executive director of the Baltimore Jewish Council; Auxiliary Bishop P. Francis Murphy of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Baltimore; Bishop George Paul Mocko of the Delaware/Maryland Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Rabbi Joel Zaiman of Chizuk Amuno Congregation in Pikesville; the Rev. Herbert D. Valentine, executive presbyter of the Presbytery of Baltimore; the Rev. W. James Favorite of Morning Star Baptist Church in Catonsville; and the Rev. Matthew McNaught of Towson Unitarian Universalist Church in Lutherville.

Endorsing groups included the Western Maryland Interfaith Housing Development Corp., the Baltimore County Housing Coalition, the Baltimore Urban League, the Greater Baltimore Community Housing Board and the Maryland Low Income Housing Coalition.

Moves to reduce government spending on low-cost housing will result in "a significant increase in homelessness, and increasing decline of our neighborhoods and a decrease in the quality of life for all our citizens," the interfaith group said.

More -- rather than less -- government support, the statement said, is urgently needed for:

* Housing for persons with low and moderate income, especially in large households with children.

* Rehabilitation of existing housing.

* Counseling and creative financing to enable renters to become first-time homebuyers.

& Information: 825-6045.

Healing worship:

Children, teen-agers and adults are invited to a Service for Renewing, Strengthening and Healing at 3 p.m. Sunday at St. Ursula Roman Catholic Church, Harford Road and Putty Hill Avenue in Parkville.

Parish priests will celebrate the sacraments of Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick, and a deacon and lay leader will be available for private prayer and counseling. Information: 668-5657.

Christian Science:

Cynthia Alyce Neely, a member of the Board of Lectureship at the Christian Science headquarters in Boston, will explain the beliefs of the religion's founder, Mary Baker Eddy, at 3 p.m. Sunday at Hillcrest Elementary School, 1500 Frederick Road, Catonsville.

Information: First Church of Christ, Scientist, 1717 Frederick Road, Catonsville, 747-2151.

Orthodox beliefs:

"The Greek Orthodox Experience: The Making of the Orthodox Congregation of the Annunciation Cathedral of Baltimore" will be the subject of a lecture by the Rev. George Papaloannou at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the cathedral's center, Preston Street and Maryland Avenue. Information: 528-0154.

Lenten concert:

Towson Presbyterian Church will present a free Lenten concert at 4 p.m. Sunday, featuring handbell musicians accompanied by organ and choir in performances that include Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring."

Faure's "Requiem" will be performed by soloists and choir in the second half of the program at the church, 400 W. Chesapeake Ave. in Towson.

Doris Hamel Eicher, the church's director of music, will be the organist. Information: 823-6500.

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