Steve's Affordable Housing Testimony

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Jewish Community Action member Steve Ziff has graciously agreed to share some of his thoughts and experiences surrounding affordable housing on our blog. To learn more about affordable housing, and what you can do to create more opportunities in your community, please join us at Adath Jeshurun May 17th at 7:00 PM for a community forum. You can register online at and email any questions to JCA organizer Lyndel Owens at

"I have been working to achieve housing justice for approximately three years. Several events occurred which have inspired this focus. After retiring, I looked for something to fill my time which was purposeful and fulfilling. Several events led me to affordable housing.  Attending a Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative event raised my awareness for the need for more affordable housing. After hearing stories of guests who experienced homelessness, I knew I could not sit and do nothing. I was already a member of Bet Shalom Congregation’s Social Action Committee and we made addressing homelessness and the need for affordable housing one of the pillars of our committee.

On a personal level, my life journey helped me realize how we are all an illness away from losing our homes. Over the past three years, I have learned that there are many reasons why people lack the funds to afford housing. Social and emotional concerns, evictions or losing a job certainly enter the picture. The lack of a supportive community and frequent moves do not promote stability within a family which creates further difficulties for the family.

In Judaism, social justice is a principle of our faith.  Justice in housing fits this tenet.  Communities are stronger when there is housing that allows people of all economic strata, different generations and diverse ethnicity to live together. As Abraham and Sarah had their tent flap open to welcome all, a city that is welcoming is more vibrant and alive as it develops an atmosphere of collaboration as it draws on multiple views. I have come to realize that individual families do benefit from being able to live in housing that is stable because it is affordable but also the whole community benefits.  I do not want a community with walls and barriers.

I find a great deal of satisfaction being a part of this collaborative effort working with the JCA staff to build a more inclusive and welcoming society in Saint Louis Park."

- Steve Ziff, JCA Member

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