2012 advocacy agenda
Our Position on Moral Budgets: At Catholic Charities we speak of budgets as moral documents because where we choose to commit our resources demonstrates our values. Likewise, how we choose to obtain our resources, via tax policies, does the same. Paying taxes to enable government to provide for the needs of the common good is an expression of our stewardship in society. In fact, in "Economic Justice for All", a pastoral letter on Catholic Social Teaching, the US Catholic Bishops write that distributive justice "requires that the allocation of income, wealth and power in society be evaluated in light of its effect on persons whose basic material needs are unmet."
Level A: Collaboration/Leadership:
These issues will be given priority in agency advocacy activities and are ones for which we will take a lead, or actively participate in coalitions/networks that are leading the charge. A full range of strategies will be employed, including but not limited to, testimony, legislative visits and advocacy alerts at the appropriate level- Federal, State, County or Local.
Preserving Services to People in Need
- Advocate with the Department of Human Services and Department of Children and Family Services for funding levels to meet the increased demand for services.
- Advocate against any reductions that would negatively impact consumers in the FY'13 State Budget.
Housing and Homelessness
- Work with the NJ Coalition to End Homelessness on the following policy priorities:
- Adoption of Housing First as a state policy;
- Establishment of a fundamental right to housing;
- Replenishment of the Special Needs Trust Fund;
- Creation of county one‐stopcenters for entry into the homeless system;
- Establishment of an enhanced emergency shelter system;
- Establishment of Housing First and Rapid Re‐housing programs;
- County Homeless Trust Fund (CHTF) Enacted in four (4) additional counties. (For CCDOT this would be for Burlington, Ocean and Monmouth Counties)
- Collaborate with the NJ Anti-Hunger Coalition in efforts to improve access to and participation in SNAP.
- Advocate for increased allocations in the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) for emergency food, shelter and homelessness prevention. Participate in CCUSA's proposed 2012 campaign regarding EFSP.
- Follow the process of the NJ Medicaid waiver and provide comments, testimonies as appropriate.
- Stay attuned to aspects of health care reform involving behavioral health services, as well as the development of a statewide health care exchange.
Level B: Collaboration:
These are issues we will pursue in collaboration with related organizations/coalitions as needed. Actions could include any of the above strategies, but are likely to be more limited and less aggressive.
- Support legislation that creates job opportunities, both at the state and Federal level.
- Participate in efforts to address re-entry issues such as housing and employment for ex-offenders.Work with CCUSA to support anti-poverty legislation, the National Opportunity and Community Renewal Act.
- Support comprehensive immigration reform at the Federal level.