IMPORTANT NOTE FROM EQUALITY MAINE:
If you want to help make up for the funds that the Catholic Diocese cut from Preble Street’s Homeless Voices for Justice program,
IMPORTANT: Be sure to specify “Homeless Voices” in the box marked “Other.”
I would add this link to become a Preble Street fan on Facebook.
An extraordinary and outrageous story reported today in the Portland Press Herald:
PORTLAND – A social service agency’s support for same-sex marriage has cost it local and national funding from the Catholic Church’s anti-poverty program.
Preble Street’s Homeless Voices for Justice program has lost $17,400 this year and will lose $33,000 that it expected for its next fiscal year.
Officials with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland and the Washington-based Catholic Campaign for Human Development say that Preble Street violated its grant agreement by supporting Maine’s “No on 1” campaign last fall.
Not only did the Church halt the funding which it had been providing to Preble for 13 years, it also demanded monies sent back to the Church!
So Preble Street returned $2400 to Bishop Malone.
From a second letter that Preble Street sent to CCHD:
It is very sad that it has come to this. CCHD funding, which we have received for 13 years, was used in its entirety to support the work of Homeless Voices for Justice, a grassroots group that works for social change on behalf of people who struggle with homelessness and poverty. The mission and the efforts of Homeless Voices for Justice align so well with those of CCHD that it is terribly disappointing that CCHD and Bishop Malone have decided to withdraw support for their valiant work.
Homeless Voices for Justice is led by a board of people who have all experienced homelessness in Maine and is supported by Preble Street staff. The founding chapter in Portland has existed for over 14 years, with other chapters in Alfred/York County, Augusta, Brunswick and Lewiston. One goal of HVJ is to build a coalition for and of homeless people throughout Maine, and to empower people whose first-hand perspective has often been absent in the development of policies and programs that impact their social and economic well being. By participating directly in social change, Homeless Voices for Justice often takes positions on local, state and federal policies, as does the Roman Catholic Church.
The views expressed by Homeless Voices for Justice are independent and do not represent those of the Board of Directors or of the staff at Preble Street.
Someone explain to me why ANYONE gives one thin dime to the Catholic Church?
Homeless Voices for Justice, a statewide advocacy group, is led by people who have been homeless. It works on issues that affect the homeless, such as supporting affordable housing and preventing violence against the homeless.
Portland-based Preble Street, which runs a dozen programs to provide housing and other services for the poor and the homeless, provides staff support for Homeless Voices for Justice.
Catholics for Marriage Equality has begun an effort to replace the lost funding by raising $17,400 for Homeless Voices for Justice. Anne Underwood, a co-founder of the group that advocates for same-sex marriage, said Bishop Richard Malone is punishing the homeless because of politics.
“This is petty vindictiveness,” she said. “After the election is over, suddenly the money is revoked from poor people because of a political opinion held by the bishop.”
Underwood said that many Catholics in Maine will now think twice before donating money to the church to help fight poverty. “People who are homeless should not be used in political games,” she said.
Diocese Spokesperson Sue Bernard said that “the diocese requires agencies that receive funding to conform to the moral and social teachings of the Catholic Church”.
The letter from CCHD to Preble Street spells it all out.