New York City’s Houses of Worship are at a crossroads. Maintaining a brick-and-mortar presence in our city has always been an expensive proposition, especially for non-profit organizations like our Houses of Worship.
This past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has added even greater headwinds to what is already a daunting challenge for our faith-based community. Faced with the inability to gather in person, intractable fixed costs, and declining revenues, “making it here” has never been harder.
Bricks and Mortals was founded to help our Houses of Worship navigate this challenging landscape. Our mission is to make sure that congregations that form the fabric of our community achieve sustainable solutions for generations to come.
To that end, advocating for effective public policy is a key component of carrying out our objective. Policy at the city, state and federal level has a direct impact on the continued viability of our Houses of Worship.
Over the past several weeks Bricks and Mortals has been grateful to have the opportunity to meet with several candidates for New York City Mayor and their campaigns, including Eric Adams, Shaun Donovan, Kathryn Garcia, Dianne Morales and Maya Wiley.
Eric Adams has endorsed our platform and, which builds on the work he undertook as Brooklyn Borough President through his Office of Faith Based and Clergy Initiatives.
Shaun Donovan expressed his support to expand funding for affordable housing, as well as produce more affordable housing across the five boroughs.
Kathryn Garcia underlined the importance of houses of faith in reaching vulnerable communities, which built on her work on food security.
Dianne Morales is working against gentrification, for communities instead of developers, abolishing the Tax Lien Sale and supports free legal aid.
Maya Wiley’s housing platform includes support for expanded affordable housing and an increased role for mission-driven developers, which compliments the platform.
The conversations produced meaningful dialogue about the importance of our Houses of Worship as an integral part of our community as well as the role local government can play towards ensuring they have the tools to remain sustainable.
Support for Bricks and Mortals’ mission was strong across the board.
As we move forward, we will continue to work with candidates through the primary and into the general election, and we will continue building relationships with relevant stakeholders and decision makers to ensure our Houses of Worship have the tools they need to thrive in the greatest city in the world.
Main Image: Marco Orielisi on Unsplash