WASHINGTON – In response to recent announcements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) of increased protections and aid for those facing food and housing insecurity, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, issued the following statement:
“We are grateful for the Biden Administration’s early actions to address urgent food and housing needs for those experiencing hardship during the COVID pandemic. The extension of the CDC’s eviction moratorium is a positive step towards ensuring housing stability and keeping our communities safe. Tens of millions are behind on rent payments and would be vulnerable to losing their homes without this protection. It would be detrimental to the wellbeing of all if more people became homeless in the midst of this public health crisis. Additionally, the USDA’s efforts to expand nutrition assistance at a time when people have experienced dramatic income reductions or job loss will help address the unprecedented levels of hunger among children and will ensure emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits reach those most at risk of food insecurity. These actions demonstrate a strong commitment to those in need.
“In our ongoing advocacy with Congress on COVID-19 relief, we have consistently emphasized that adequate nutrition and decent housing are basic rights under Catholic Social Teaching. These rights require action. We continue to call on our government to pursue the common good and prioritize the poor and vulnerable during this challenging time.”