July 14, 2020
Toni G. Atkins
Senate President Pro State Capitol, Room 205 Sacramento, CA 95814
Senate Republican Leader
State Capitol, Room 305
Sacramento, CA 95814
Speaker of the Assembly
State Capitol, Room 219
Sacramento, CA 95814
Assembly Republican Leader
State Capitol, Suite 3104
Sacramento, CA 94249
Dear Legislative Leaders:
We, the Deans of five Episcopal Cathedrals across the state of California, write to you out of our Christian concern for the well-being of the most vulnerable of God’s children. We lead flagship churches of the Episcopal Church which has about 119,400 members across the state.
We applaud the efforts already taken by state and local government to keep Californians housed and sheltered during the Covid-19 epidemic. We know that additional measures will be needed in the weeks and months to come and we advocate for these to be implemented quickly. We also know that it is those communities already hardest hit by endemic racism and poverty who face the greatest challenges in these times. Acting to support rent and mortgage relief is a very real and practical way of showing that Black Lives Matter.
The moral imperative for our religious communities is to attend first to people with the least resources and greatest hardship. While we are mindful that tenants, landlords, homeowners, developers, financial institutions, and government are tied together in a web of economic relationships we ask for low income residential tenants and homeowners to be given especial protection. This may be achieved through suspending eviction and foreclosure, granting payment extensions, direct grants, indirect subsidies, incentives, credits, or other means.
We are calling on the members of our congregations and other faith communities to exercise charity and forbearance in their own dealings with tenants, borrowers, and so forth.
The people with the greatest need can’t afford to wait for benefit programs that have a long lead time, depend on funding that is not yet available, or have burdensome documentation and qualification procedures. We have been supportive of temporary measures such as suspending legal proceedings as a stopgap measure. As relief efforts extend further into the future, we encourage measures with clear and simple entry points, integration with existing housing access and social service programs, and incentives for lenders, landlords and local agencies to implement in low income neighborhoods without delay.
The personal misfortunes and financial hardship caused by the Covid-19 epidemic will be long lasting. Housing concerns attributed to Covid-19 will converge with the long-term challenge of housing access for all Californians. We encourage initiatives that have the potential to be incorporated into current and emerging solutions to the problems of housing and homelessness in our society.
Thank you for your care and attention to our concerns and to the needs of all Californians.
The Very Rev. Canon Daniel Ade, Dean and Rector
The Very Rev. Canon Mark Kowalewski, PhD, Dean and Rector
St John’s Cathedral, Los Angeles
The Very Rev. Penny Bridges, Dean
St Paul’s Cathedral, San Diego
The Rev. Julie McCray-Goldsmith, Priest in Charge
Trinity Cathedral, San Jose
The Rev. James Richardson, Interim Dean
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Sacramento
/s/ The Very Rev. Dr. Malcolm Young
Dean of Grace Cathedral, San Francisco