May 6, 2002
BUSH ADMINISTRATION SEEKS TO BREAK DOWN REGULATORY BARRIERS FOR FAITH-BASED AND GRASSROOTS ORGANIZATIONS
VANCOUVER, WA - Faith-based and other community grassroots organizations
that serve the poor in the Pacific Northwest deserve equal access
to government grant programs. That was the message delivered today
to hundreds of social service providers at a regional conference
designed to provide valuable information regarding opportunities
to partner with government in providing social services.
The Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Health
and Human Services (HHS), Labor, Agriculture, Education, and Justice
joined with officials from Oregon and Washington State in a nationwide
effort to ensure a
level playing field for faith-based and community organizations. These organizations have traditionally found government grant programs difficult, if not impossible, to access and often serve persons in need with little or no government support.
"We hope that smaller faith-based and community organizations
leave this conference understanding that we have much to learn from
them, not the other way around," said Jeremy White, Associate Director
for Outreach of the
White House Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives. "President Bush is intent on opening the door of opportunity to organizations who can most effectively meet the needs of our most vulnerable neighbors, regardless
of whether they are faith-based or non-religious organizations."
Other key speakers at the conference included Ryan Streeter and
Brent Orrell, Directors of the Office of Faith-Based and Community
Initiatives at HUD and the Labor Department respectively. Today's
conference focused on how
smaller community-based social service providers can access programs to help homeless persons, at-risk young people, the elderly and disabled, and those on public assistance.
Shortly after taking office, President Bush directed federal agencies to identify and remove regulatory barriers that exclude faith-based and smaller grassroots organizations from federal grant programs. Funding opportunities vary widely across the federal agencies, making it disproportionately difficult for smaller grassroots organizations to take advantage of federal grant programs. In addition, the applications process for these grant programs is often too complicated for smaller community organizations to navigate.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership,
particularly among minorities, creating affordable housing opportunities
for low-income Americans, supporting the homeless, elderly, people
with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also
promotes economic and community development as well as
enforces the nation's fair housing laws.