Letters to the Editor

Letter: Faith and action

What are our churches doing about our city’s homeless problem? The Yellow Pages lists about 200 churches in Anchorage. With this number of tax-exempt churches, why do we even have a homeless problem? Many of these tax-exempt churches have fancy buildings with offices and bathrooms. Could not one of these office rooms with a bathroom nearby be used to house a homeless person or couple? Parishioners can donate appropriate clothing and food as needed. Volunteers from the church community could provide transportation, job searching, find available resources, apartment searching, and references as needed. This way, many more of us can help in this effort that seems hopelessly out of an individual’s ability to make a difference. It takes at least a year to get a job, save enough money for a security deposit and rent. In the meantime, having a real temporary home and address would build mental and physical stability for these people. It doesn’t take long to lose everything — be unable to pay rent, be kicked out of your home. But it takes years to build a life back up, and our churches, it seems, are not stepping up to help our community’s homeless.

What is the value of the tax exemption churches receive?

Should we put a number to it and require churches provide value in that amount to our community?

The community already pays for churches’ tax exemptions in our taxes. Let’s see churches step up and take in people who won’t be able to enrich their collection baskets. Maybe people who aren’t of their faith. Let’s see faith in action in our community.

— Veronica Haberthuer


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