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Green Affordable Housing Proposals submitted to Vatican

Sisters Amy Bayley and Linda Werthman (far right-hand corner) were among the delegates to recently meet with the Vatican proposing green affordable housing.

Catholic and Buddhist leaders from Brooklyn/Queens, Chicago and Los Angeles have come together to address homelessness by providing proposals for green affordable housing and services to housing residents as well as persons coping with poverty in their neighborhood.

The group, known as Buddhist-Catholic Dialogue of Fraternity, includes affordable housing developers and advocates, such as Mercy Housing and Enterprise. Service providers such as Catholic Charities and St. Vincent de Paul are also involved.

On Sept. 11-12, delegates representing the group met at the Vatican. They presented three proposals to the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) and the Pope. Among the delegates were Sister Amy Bayley, regional vice president of community planning, representing Mercy Housing California – the developer in Los Angeles, and Sister Linda Werthman, chair of the national Mercy Housing Board representing a project from Mercy Housing in Chicago.

The delegation had a good conversation with Bishop Ayuso, secretary of PCID, on Sept. 11. The delegation’s work was then recognized by the Pope at the Wednesday (Sept. 12) audience and the delegation was able to meet with the Pope afterward to present him with the proposals.

Next steps will be for the proposals to go to the Vatican’s State Department, which will advise the Pope. If supported, the proposals will be forwarded to the Papal Foundation Board requesting gap financing to make the housing proposals a reality.