Reform rabbis lobby for housing program

Reform rabbis and lay leaders from across California traveled to Sacramento on June 2 to lobby for increasing state funding for affordable and transit-based housing.

Negotiations over the state budget have produced dueling proposals on how to best spend cap-and-trade funds, which are collected from companies in accordance with an act aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“As Jews and people of faith, we are called to care for the Earth and the people who live on it,” said Rabbi Richard Litvak of Temple Beth El in Aptos. “This campaign is an intersection of two issues that are felt deeply in the hearts of our congregants and rabbis throughout California: caring for our environment and building affordable homes for hard-working and vulnerable families in our state.”

The group of 12 rabbis and others met with politicians and representatives of the governor’s office in support of the Transit Oriented Development housing program. It provides low-interest loans for rental housing developments that include affordable units, and incentives for building housing near transit.

The advocates were part of a joint lobbying effort organized by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the Peace and Justice Committee of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and the Union for Reform Judaism’s Just Congregations. — j. staff