Hello. My name is Aimee Shelide Mayer and I am representing Catholic Charities of Tennessee, one of the largest non-profit charitable organizations in Metro Nashville that serves thousands of clients each year through programs such as: adoptions support, counseling, housing assistance, direct aid, job training, and refugee services, just to name a few.
I am here tonight because the issue of affordable housing cuts across all of our programs.
I have been following BL-133 since its inception because of the effect it will have on all of our clients across the Agency.
We work with families who have been evicted from their homes without any warning because their landlord sold the property to a developer. Other Catholic Charities clients have also found themselves unexpectedly homeless due to rising rents in neighborhoods where they have lived, worked, and sent children to school for years. Families, who once could afford monthly rent, are now couch-surfing, staying in emergency shelter, or paying huge fees in monthly hotel rooms.
Catholic Charities employs and serves people of all faiths (and those of no faith), but our organization is nonetheless motivated by the principles of Catholic Social Teaching which compel us to advocate for basic rights, like housing, and to make decisions that will better the lives of those most in need, allowing their input to influence our decisions.
I speak on behalf of Catholic Charities of Tennessee when I say that we strongly support BL-133, and believe it is a good beginning to address our local housing needs, which are growing every day and affecting the working and middle class in Nashville, as well as the poor.
After all, "our society will be judged on the basis of how [we] treat our weakest members" (Pope John Paul II).
The statement above was presented on behalf of Catholic Charities of Tennessee to the Metropolitan Council of Nashville & Davidson County at its meeting on August 2, 2016.