Resolution Adopted by the CCAR

On the Homeless

Adopted by the CCAR at the 95th Annual Convention of
the Central Conference of American Rabbis
Grossingers, New York, June 18-21, 1984

The ranks of the homeless, often referred to as "street people," are being further swelled by low-income and no-income people who have been particularly affected by cuts in such programs as low-income housing, food stamps, and Medicare. Some have been released from prisons or mental institutions without adequate planning and assistance for return to the community. Whole families have become street people.
Each winter sees a growth in the number of people wandering the streets without homes. The phenomenon of homeless individuals and families is not a new one. Today we are called upon to take a closer look at the problem. We must increase our response in order to meet the growing needs of those who have been most severely affected by the current economic crisis.
The Federal Government has given only minimal assistance, either in the form of financial aid or buildings for shelter, leaving the burden of responsibility on local and state governments, civic and religious groups.
Individual synagogues have, in the past, contributed money and volunteers to shelters. A few synagogues have recently opened their doors to provide shelter to the homeless, but more money, time, and space are needed.

Therefore be it resolved that the Central Conference of American Rabbis:

1. Call upon our Reform congregations to increase aid to the homeless in four areas:

a. to provide greater financial assistance to established shelters and community food banks;

b. to organize volunteers to assist in staffing these shelters and food distribution centers on an ongoing basis;

c. to offer the use of their buildings and resources to provide shelter, food, and clothing as required; and

d. to come together with other religious and communal institutions in coalitions to coordinate efforts and to provide maximum pressure on local, state, and federal governments to take their fair share of responsibility for the homeless; and

2. Commend those congregations that have taken action to assist the hungry and the homeless.