Ethics in Action

Speaking Up for Affordable Housing and Homelessness

By September 1, 2020 December 22nd, 2020 No Comments

By Richard Van Deusen

Ever since our founding, the Society for Ethical Culture has been an active presence in the political and socio-economic life of our city. “Deed Above Creed,” and “Doing the Best for Others” are slogans that have long held meaning beyond the walls of our Meeting House. In 2020, we are still involved in our community on many levels.

The most tragic human condition in our city today is homelessness and the lack of affordable housing. The Society has been a longtime member of the Interfaith Assembly for Homelessness and Housing. Leader Richard Koral and I currently represent the Society on the Interfaith Assembly, where we lobbied for community approval of the 58th Street transitional housing project (still pending).

He and I are members of the Leadership Committee of Bricks and Mortals, an interfaith organization based at Judson Memorial Church. This city-wide group of religious organizations works with city and state leaders and industry professionals to find ways to preserve our houses of worship, and, more importantly, keep our doors open for our members while, at the same time, using our physical resources to develop housing.

Involvement with city government is critical to our mission; the Social Service Board — which as you know, manages our Maria Fridman Homeless Women’s Shelter among other projects — secures funding and support from city agencies. But our commitment as members of the Ethical Culture Society goes way beyond providing nightly shelter for up to eight homeless women. We will continue to seek ways to gather information, develop connections and affiliations, and amplify our voice and influence regarding meaningful action in the areas of affordable housing and homelessness.

For further information, contact Dick Van Deusen at

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