2005-07-29 / Community

Weiner: Reclaim Partnership With Faith

Urging Democrats to “reclaim our partnership with faith”, Representative. Anthony Weiner recently unveiled a package of proposals detailing six ways the City should work with the faith community.

It was the tenth speech Weiner has given detailing his vision for New York City. 

In it, Weiner outlined a series of proposals to make it easier for growing religious families to afford housing, keep Catholic schools open and Yeshivas safe, create a city Non-Profit Czar, and work with religious institutions to provide health care services to seniors and low income communities.

Tax Incentives to Help Growing Religious Families Find Housing - The beliefs of Orthodox Jewish families, and some other religious faiths, encourage large families. 

In the New York City housing market, this can put religious belief at odds with middle class economics. As Mayor, Weiner will work to fashion zoning regulations and tax incentives to make it easier for large families to find an affordable place to live.

Create a Non-Profit Czar – As Mayor, Weiner will establish a Mayoral Office of Assistance to Non-Profit Organizations and a Non-Profits Czar, to provide a wider and more effective safety net for all New Yorkers.  The Czar will coordinate efforts with religious institutions and other non-profits to address social ills like poverty, drug abuse, hunger, and homelessness. 

Expand Programs Providing Comprehensive Home Health Care Services for the Elderly – The City should work with religious institutions to improve preventative care for seniors through the Program for All-Inclusive Care or PACE, which uses Medicaid dollars to provide comprehensive care—doctors, medicine, food, therapy, transportation—to seniors who otherwise would be placed in a nursing home.

Build Health Networks Between Hospitals and Churches – The Institute for Urban Family Health used a federal grant to create Bronx Health REACH: a program that brought together 14 churches, NYU, health care organizations and others to increase awareness in the Bronx about preventative care and the treatment of diseases like Diabetes. 

The City should take an active role in facilitating networks modeled on Bronx Health REACH in all five boroughs.

Save the City’s Catholic Schools – The City should take an active leadership role in saving our Catholic schools from closing. As Mayor, Weiner will bring together the City’s religious and business leaders, philanthropists, academic and finance experts, and Catholic school parents to forestall another round of Catholic school closures.

Improved Security for Yeshivas – The federal government should subsidize vulnerability assessments to ascertain whether area Jewish schools are vulnerable to terrorist attack. If a vulnerability assessment is conducted and shows a New York City Yeshiva to be a high-risk target, it should get the benefit of dedicated police patrols.

“It is a fundamentally Democratic ideal to take every opportunity we can to help those in greatest need,” said Rep. Weiner. “But Democrats have relinquished the language of faith to the hard right. It’s time for Democrats to reclaim our partnership with faith.”

Earlier this year, Weiner responded to the news of imminent Catholic school closings by convening two summits for parents and school officials, business leaders and education experts in an effort to find ways to save as many schools as possible. 4 schools were ultimately saved.

Earlier in the week, Weiner held a town hall meeting to discuss security at Yeshivas, in light of the recent terrorist attacks in London and Egypt.

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