2021 Victories

In 2021 West/Southwest IAF affiliates continued to fight for families and the vulnerable in their communities, even through the ongoing pandemic. Read about their victories here.

Climate Change · Housing · Mental Health · Immigration · Taxes & State Finance · Labor Market Intermediaries · Pandemic Response · Disaster Response · Public Education · Recognition 



Texas IAF Blocks Billions in Giveaways to Big Oil and Preserves State Funding for Public Schools

Texas IAF at Capitol. [Top Right Photo Credit: Eddie Seal/Intercept via Getty Images]

Texas IAF organizations successfully blocked the reauthorization of a longstanding corporate tax exemption that favored industrial and petrochemical companies. Killing the fossil fuel bill simultaneously preserved funding for public schools and challenged the influence of big oil and gas in Texas.

Together Louisiana has been engaged in a similar effort to reform their state industrial tax exemption program.


California IAF Revamps State Tenant Protections to Keep Low-Income Families Housed

This summer, over 600 California IAF leaders convened on Zoom to call for the extension of the state eviction moratorium and expansion of protections to allow greater flexibility with rental aid. Catholic Bishop Oscar Cantú (whose op-ed can be read here), Episcopal Bishop Lucinda Ashby and two state legislators joined the call. After hundreds of leaders contacted their elected officials, protections were expanded.

IAF Orgs in Oklahoma, California, Arizona and Texas Protect Families from Displacement

[Photo Credit: Catholic News Service]

As the pandemic and its economic impacts persisted into a second year, organizations from Oklahoma to Texas to California worked furiously to keep low-income families housed.

Central Texas Interfaith Secures Over $200M to Address Homelessness in Austin, Travis County

[Photo credit: Spectrum & Austin Chronicle]

After working to defend the dignity of people experiencing homelessness and preventing low-income families from displacement, over 100 Central Texas Interfaith leaders publicly celebrated the investment of $220+ Million in federal funding into homelessness prevention and support. They were joined by the Austin mayor and Travis County judge who recognized leaders' partnership and doggedness in addressing this and other regional challenges.


AMOS (Iowa) & Dallas Area Interfaith Expand Youth Access to Mental Health Support

AMOS’s (A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy) four-year long fight began with house meetings and ended with 100 AMOS leaders attending a Broadlawns Medical Center Board Meeting to compel the hiring of two mobile crisis responders trained to work with children and adolescents.

Following a spate of suicides, Dallas Area Interfaith is leading an effort to normalize conversations about mental health among parishioners and increase access to needed mental health services.


As Recognizing the Stranger Training Continues, Local Strategies Flourish

Valley Interfaith leaders with Bishop Daniel E. Flores. [Photo Credit: Joe Hinojosa]

With continued support from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) and Mission & Ministry Impact (MMI), immigrant and nonimmigrant leaders participated in training and engaged in local action in support of low-income immigrants.


AZ Interfaith Network Proves Vital in Petition Drive Against Lowest Flat Tax in the Nation

Rev. Procter Murphy speaks at joint press conference [Credit: Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services]

This summer, Arizona Interfaith Network and education coalition partners halted the lowest so-called “flat tax” ever enacted by a state. By demanding a referendum, the coalition of faith and school leaders stopped a reworking of Arizona’s tax code that would have reduced revenue by over $1 billion annually, harming public schools which constitute half of the state budget. The issue will return to the ballot in 2022.


Study Verifies Outsized Impact of El Paso Project, Funding for Training Grows in Arizona & Texas

[Photo Credit: Kelly Presnell, Arizona Daily Star]

According to a study by the Hunt Institute of Global Competitiveness at the University of Texas at El Paso, Project ARRIBA, a workforce initiative established by EPISO/Border Interfaith has an estimated $893 Million impact on El Paso.

As evidence of considerable local impact mounts, public sector support for IAF labor market intermediaries continues to grow. Texas IAF negotiated the inclusion of $4.23 Million for Adult Career and Education (ACE) in the state budget for the biennium, while Corridor Interfaith leaders leveraged $50,000 for a southward expansion of Capital IDEA into Hays County (Central Texas).

Pima County Interfaith (Southern Arizona) saw earlier efforts to expand local funding for Jobpath validated as $1 Million in federal ARPA funding was announced to be earmarked for the local intermediary.


West/Southwest IAF Orgs Lead Vaccine Equity Efforts in California, Arizona, Texas & Louisiana

Vaccination clinic at St. Brigid Catholic Church in South LA. [Photo Credit: Rafael Paz]

Spearheading local efforts like vaccination clinics, neighborhood walks and registration events, West/Southwest IAF organizations implemented strategies to bring vaccines to communities hardest hit by COVID-19 and with the least initial access to the vaccine.

COPA-Powered Community Health Workers Reach 10,000+ Laborers Impacted by COVID-19

[Photo Credit: Jose Angel Juarez/Monterey County Weekly]

After COPA leveraged nearly $5 million for a pilot program, 100 trusted community health workers (mostly immigrant woman) were hired by Monterey County to support low-income workers. These women reached tens of thousands of laborers with prevention education, PPE and support during quarantines.


After Devastating Freeze, Texas and Oklahoma IAF Coordinate Relief and Demand Accountability

[Photo credit, Isabelle Baldwin, Catholic News Service]

February’s Winter Storm Uri knocked out power across many states, killing hundreds and endangering thousands. With households across Texas left without power for days, Texas IAF leaders first responded to humanitarian needs, and then pointed out how failures of public officials led to this widespread catastrophe.

In the weeks and months following this most costly storm in the history of Texas, residents were left with unsafe homes and expensive repairs. Bishops, clergy and leaders called on the state to weatherize the electrical grid before the next storm.

The storm also threatened outrageous utility bills for households, leading Oklahoma VOICE-OKC leaders to call for consumer protections against exorbitant costs passed down to them.


[Photo credits: Nathan W. Armes, Chalkbeat, Coloradans for the Common Good]

Across the network, organizations are engaging local parents, teachers and school leaders in conversations about how public schools can be responsive to the needs of students and families.



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