In our own backyard

A message from Mercy Housing CEO, Sister Lillian Murphy, RSM

Throughout the years, I have met thousands of people in need – and more importantly thousands of people whose lives have been changed because of stable, quality affordable housing. At Mercy Housing, we believe that housing is a means to an end. Not having a quality and affordable place to live impacts people in many ways. Mercy Housing knows that healthy communities rely on affordable housing.

When discussing poverty, we often focus our attention on the developing nations where the average person lives on less than $2.50 per day. We sometimes overlook the nearly 44 million people that are living below the poverty line in America and the struggles our neighbors might be facing are often ignored. The US poverty rate (14.3 percent) is now the third worst among the developed nations tracked by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Despite still being one of the wealthiest nations in the world, millions of our neighbors have fallen below the poverty threshold and are fighting to save themselves and their families from homelessness.

Our economy is still unstable and has worsened an already severe housing situation. In 2010, the national housing wage was $18.44. This means a household must earn $38,360 a year to afford a modest rental home. The average income for a Mercy Housing family is $17,853. Wages have failed to keep pace with rental costs, rental costs have increased faster than costs of other basic needs. As a result, thousands of families are living in substandard conditions, are homeless, or are making choices each day to spend money on housing and do without food, health care, child care, or other basic necessities.

As we begin this new year, our focus should be on the struggles of our neighbors and communities in need. A new year signifies new beginnings and when people don’t have to worry about where they will sleep at night, they can focus on gaining new career skills, helping their children do well in school and becoming involved in their communities. With your help, we’re supporting our residents in their efforts to build better lives. A home is more than bricks and mortar; it’s a place that stabilizes lives and provides the hope of a bright future.

Live in Hope,

Sister Lillian Murphy, RSM
Chief Executive Officer

To read more, visit Mercy Housing’s online newsletter: Community Matters

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