At Faith in Texas, our core belief is that all humans have inherent worth and deserve to be treated with dignity, care, and respect. Every person deserves to have their needs met during this crisis because every person is a sacred creation with inherent worth. Without bold leadership, those who are most vulnerable – who hold the least power and agency – will be asked to carry the greatest economic and health burdens of this pandemic. Laid-off and furloughed workers will lose their homes because they lack tenant’s rights and access to housing assistance. Incarcerated people who cannot afford bail will be left to suffer higher rates of infection and death as they are kept in squalid conditions in our county jails. Immigrants will face increased economic suffering and exposure as they are overlooked by relief efforts while ICE continues to operate.
The COVID-19 pandemic represents an unprecedented crisis. The community we have built is being put to the test. Times of crisis always reveal our most deeply held values. If we value all people – if we value equity, love, and compassion – we must act to ensure everyone helps share the burden of the COVID-19 crisis in proportion to their ability, not their vulnerability. The policies and actions described below ensure our response to this crisis does not overlook or oppress the vulnerable and the marginalized in our community. They ensure we spread the burden fairly because our community is strong only when it works together; when we share our struggles and our joys and when we look out for our neighbors and not just ourselves.
We are a resilient people. We will rise to this challenge by holding close to our values. And when we do, our light will break forth like the dawn – and our healing will be from more than a virus.
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.” – Isaiah 58:6-9
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For the duration of this crisis, and the months of economic hardship that will follow, it is a moral and public health imperative that people’s homes are secure. Evictions and utility disconnections put people at risk for either temporary or permanent homelessness, therefore making our public health situation far worse for both their families and the community. The balance of justice and compassion is an essential part of the culture of Dallas. If we are to ask people to stay at home, we must do all we can to keep their homes safe.
- Cities should do everything in their power to halt evictions, including notices, and lockouts.
- Cities should seek and use all available funds to provide housing assistance to those most in need.
- Public Housing Authorities should expand access to Housing Choice Vouchers by reducing barriers for voucher eligibility and usage
- Landlords should do everything within their power to assist tenants impacted by COVID-19, including halting all evictions, lease terminations, rent increases, and late fees
- Landlords should protect their workers and communities by providing paid sick leave and personal protective equipment to essential workers, and increasing cleaning and sanitation in common areas
Full Housing Recommendations Cities should: Public Housing Authorities should: Landlords should:
Public Housing Authorities should:
Decarceration is crucial for the sake of public health and safety. To protect people who are incarcerated and held in immigration detention centers, their families, and our communities, the safest and most effective way to respond to this crisis is to:
- Drastically reduce the number of people in the Dallas County jail and all immigration detention centers by releasing as many people as possible and stopping new admissions.
- Ensure the health and safety of all people incarcerated in the Dallas County jail and all immigration detention centers.
Full Decarceration Recommendations Judges should: Law enforcement should: The Sheriff, County Commissioners, and City Council should:
Law enforcement should:
The Sheriff, County Commissioners, and City Council should:
As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 crisis and its imminent aftermath, we must not let public health and voting integrity challenges deter us from ensuring equitable representation in our democratic process. It is more important than ever that all voters have the information needed to exercise their critical right to vote and be counted.
Full Democracy Recommendations The Mayor and City Secretary should establish and enforce protections for our democracy and the right to vote with safe expanded opportunities to vote during this crisis and an expanded census to ensure every person is counted:
The Mayor and City Secretary should establish and enforce protections for our democracy and the right to vote with safe expanded opportunities to vote during this crisis and an expanded census to ensure every person is counted: