Advocacy is a word that describes the ways we can effect change, working with people who live in poverty to change not only their personal situation but the systems that have contributed to their personal situation. Advocacy is how we fulfill our mandate to engage in “social” and “political” charity.
Listed are some federal actions that have occurred during the past six months that are in support of women, children, the elderly, disadvantaged and disabled.
Subsidized school nutrition programs
In June, the president signed into law the “Keep Kids Fed Act of 2022,” that provides $943 million in funding for school nutrition programs and extends pandemic-era waivers that provide higher reimbursement rates for school meals and meals provided at child care centers.
On June 25, President Biden signed into law the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act after the House and the Senate approved the measure. The package represents the most significant federal legislation to address gun violence since the expired 10-year assault weapons ban of 1994.
Inflation Reduction Act
Inflation Reduction Act, has many positive elements. and included provisions to help lower prescription drug prices for seniors. Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) was disappointed that provisions related to rental assistance and child nutrition were excluded in the Senate passed bill. CCUSA will pursue broader funding of vital social services amid negotiations of the FY2023 appropriations bills, especially the re-instatement of the enhanced Child Tax Credit.
CCUSA submitted comments to the Chief Counsel's Office, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, concerning its proposed regulatory changes to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Regulatory Framework. CCUSA made the following comments, among others: banks should include a community needs assessment when responding to housing needs and CRA must address racial inequity by promoting fair lending practices.
Funding for homeless services
The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced in August that it will provide $2.8 billion in competitive funding to homeless services organizations across the country for supportive services and housing programs for people experiencing homelessness.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Wednesday, Oct. 5, that the lower court judge who found that the decade-old Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was unlawful needed to consider a new rule issued by the Biden administration. The 5th Circuit's ruling allows the program to go forward, but only for current DACA recipients, also known as Dreamers, not new applicants. The ruling is deeply disappointing and leaves our DACA-recipient sisters and brothers in a continued state of uncertainty and anxiety about their futures. Catholic Charities stands with them and will continue to call on Congress to pass a permanent legislative solution so that Dreamers may continue their lives with dignity. You may contact your senators sand representatives with this USCCB link: Action Center (votervoice.net)