Frederick “Fritz” Jones, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Wilmington. Dialog photo / Photo courtesy Joseph P. Owens
As I prepared to write this op-ed article to share the excitement the Diocese of Wilmington and Catholic Charities about participating in Delaware’s first “Faith and Housing Justice” weekend scheduled for Dec. 9-11, I paused to think of the many individuals and families I have been privileged to work with during my almost 45 years of service.
I thought of the mother and her four children living in a one-bedroom apartment because it was all she could afford.
I thought of the two clients renting a garage to live in because they could not afford a decent rental home or apartment.
I thought of the many times our clients chose paying their rent but not being able to afford paying their utility bills, leading to shutoffs and eventually eviction.
I thought of the families eating two meals a day instead of three so they could afford to pay their rent.
I thought of the mom and her two children living in their car while they searched for affordable housing. And unfortunately, I could share many other examples like these.
Then I thought of the most famous, once homeless person in history. Pope Francis wrote “The Son of God came into this world as a homeless person. The son of God knew what it was like to start life without a roof over his head. We can find no social or moral justification, no justification whatsoever, for lack of housing.”
Pope Francis goes on to write “we can imagine what Joseph must have been thinking, how is it that the son of God has no home? Why are we homeless, why don’t we have housing? Saint Joseph’s simple questions echo in the minds of those who serve the poor even today.”
I humbly and respectfully ask you to also “echo” in your minds the question of why anyone is homeless, why anyone should not be provided the opportunity for decent, safe, affordable housing.
To learn more about the affordable housing crisis, to help make a difference, please participate in the Faith and Housing Justice weekend. Learn with us, pray with us as a people of faith. You can find out more by going to Catholic Charities website, ccwilm.org, and clicking on the link, Faith and Housing Justice Weekend. Catholic Charities USA has more information here. Read a report here on housing and homelessness in Delaware.