Society of St. Vincent de Paul
Phoenix Diocesan Council
Voice of the Poor Legislative Agenda 2011
Mission Statement of Voice of the Poor, Diocesan Council of Phoenix
Believing in the dignity of every person, Voice of the Poor supports Catholic social teaching. Under the direction of the Diocesan Council, we will advocate for justice on behalf of those in need, while educating St. Vincent de Paul members about economic and social issues impacting the poor.
Purpose of a Diocesan Council Legislative Agenda for St. Vincent de Paul
- Provide a framework for Vincentian advocacy locally.
- Focus advocacy on basic needs (food, housing, health care, income) based on Catholic social teaching.
- Serve as a guide to Voice of the Poor Committee when recommending legislation or issues to the Diocesan Council for consideration.
- The agenda will be reviewed annually and submitted to the Diocesan Council for approval prior to communication to our members.
For updates about the Diocesan Council Voice of the Poor, visit www.stvincentdepaul.net
Society Position Statements
To date the National Voice of the Poor Committee has produced nine position papers, supported by the National President and National Board and National Council Members. A tenth position paper on education is in draft stage, These statements are foundation documents for Vincentian advocacy and are posted on the national Voice of the Poor website, www.voiceofthepoor.org.
- A Just Wage for Employees of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (April 2001)
- Affordable Housing for the Poor (Feb. 2002)
- Health Care for the Poor (Feb. 2004)
- Position Statement on Immigration (Sept. 2004)
- Position Statement on Fair Wages (Sept. 2005)
- Position Statement on Restorative Justice (Sept. 2006)
- Position Statement on Predatory Lending (April 2007)
- Position Statement on Homelessness (Sept. 2007)
- Position Statement on Hunger (Sept. 2008)
Catholic Social Teaching
Vincentians should become familiar with Catholic social teaching as the Church’s guide to advocacy and Part Seven of the Society’s Rule addressing the role of Vincentians in civil society. Recommended resources for Conferences are the Society’s Serving in Hope videos and workbooks, Module IV: Our Vincentian Mission and Module V: The Rule.
Voice of the Poor Priority Areas for Advocacy
Voice of the Poor will continue to follow legislation and budgeting at the local, state and national level and work with decision-makers in areas affecting those we serve. The Diocesan Council is on record in support of funding for social services for the needy in our state.
Voice of the Poor anticipates that in view of the economic conditions and related budgetary constraints, our primary role in 2010 will be to speak out for the preservation of social services at the local, State and federal levels to help low income Arizona households remain sustainable and housed.
The following areas have been approved by the Diocesan Board for advocacy. VOP may come to the Diocesan Council with new items, limited to 4-5 per year.
Housing and Homelessness
Advocate for programs to keep low income families housed including a greater share of emergency utility assistance and for housing and supportive services to end homelessness.
Income and Assistance
Advocate for programs to assist low income families with nutrition, job training, child care and tax credits. Advocate for the restoration of General Assistance and for consumer protection for predatory lending.
Advocate for funding for healthcare for the working poor including Medicaid (AHCCCS) and SCHIP (Kids Care and Kids Care Parents) up to 200% of the federal poverty level. Support low income prenatal healthcare programs for the protection of the unborn child and mother.
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul does not support nor will it support any legislation, provision or amendment that fails to uphold the sanctity and dignity of human life. It will continue to support conscience clause protection for health care workers and the Hyde Amendment to ensure no abortion can be funded with federal funds. (Joe Flannigan, National President of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, July 2009)
Monitor the impact of existing and proposed local and state laws on the immigrant population and make recommendations to the SVdP Council regarding the Society’s position.
Advocate for appropriate funding of rehabilitation programs and post release transitional programs designed to reduce recidivism.