Getting Through the Storm

U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, (D-Md.) offered a sobering, but empowering assessment of the state of the U.S. economy and the impact on families and neighborhood throughout the ongoing housing and employment crises. Cummings’ remarks preceded the luncheon remarks from HUD Assistant Secretary Mercedes Marquez on this first day of the NCRC 2010 National Conference:

“This is America: we’ll get through the storm. But when the storm is over, who will be living in your house? Who will have your job?”

“The little people didn’t cause this problem,” the Maryland Democrat said, “the big folks did, and a log of people got a chunk of change” as a result. Cummings then pointed to culture of “fraud, greed, and dishonesty” in the financial system. His address, rooted in housing and community development, took a wider turn toward a government’s role in advancing social justice, including health care reform, asking the the roomful of advocates and practitioners to push Congress. “It’s not enough to know policy. We need empathy.”

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