INTERFAITH HOUSING CONSULTATION
September 28, 2010
9:00 a.m. Welcome by Bob McKeon, Associate Director, Office of Social Justice
9:10 a.m. Archbishop Richard Smith: Orientation to the project
- Task to form consciences
- Call to compassion and action
- What is the plan? Where do we go with this? How do we get there?
9:15 a.m. Prayer by Julien Hammond
9:20 a.m. Bob McKeon: Follow up from the May meeting
- in a way the conversation started/ in another way still starting
- wealth of diversity: faith, social action groups
- Contact list? Please sign up – list continues to grow
- today is a working meeting
- information in folders includes:
- info of what other cities are doing
- draft statement – conversation starter
- draft Welcome Home proposal
- Should we meet again? How so? Whom?
9:25 a.m. Introductions
9:35 a.m. Update by Jay Freeman
- Year & half since launch of 10 year plan aimed at ending homelessness in Edmonton
- Plan based on a shift from managing homeless populations to housing first model
- Video presentation on 1st year of the plan: target 150 homes – 3 times that many in first year
9:47 a.m. Revised draft Interfaith Statement and Action Guide for Faith Congregations
- Bob read the text aloud, overview of study guide
- Is this the right way to go? Is there more or less that should be offered?
- 20 minutes for discussion at tables
Summary of Small Table Discussion Points
Shared Interfaith Statement – feedback from table discussions
- Needs stronger Faith – theological statement
- More of a challenge to be committed and stay active – to keep communities accountable
- Point people more directly to action guide
- More commitment around working together. We will work together. Challenge ourselves
- Where will statement go? Public? Each other? Politicians? Agencies? All?
- Assist homeless people – more than eliminate homelessness
- Include an executive summary (key elements/key concepts) of the 10 yr. plan
- Brochure as an appendix or background document
- Using the DVD to accompany presentations
- Good statement – great to talk about the involvement of the greater community
- Facilitating access to current information about initiatives underway
- Provide info on ‘theology’ of homelessness and commonality between faith groups
- Timing of the Interfaith Statement
- Generally, we agree with this document. We would like to see the ‘why’ or the motivational aspects
- included: faith/religious motivation – up front
- Well put together
- Beginning of 4th paragraph: we are already committed and are coming together; a more positive introduction.
- Stronger Statement re: shared commitment based on our religious traditions – “All of our [religious]
- traditions affirm the worth and dignity of each human being and impel us to act in order to serve
- those in need.”
Action Guide: feedback from table conversations
- Specifics are helpful
- Keegano – intentional community, (Mill Woods)
- Action strategy to address NIMBY
- Education (show DVD in churches)
- Support from Private Corporations and Industry
- Have homeless people in this process join their voice to this process.
- Strengthen call to compassion
- Examine our prejudices and our readiness to welcome others
- Strengthen our belief that we can do this!!
- Get clergy on board – all groups that have clergy – church leaders
- What is the best way to reach and share with the wider community
- First step – start with your own
- Need to go back and see how the eleven approaches work.
- Do we need to determine our priorities to help discern the next steps? This group, congregations?
- Need clearer action statements vs. general commitments
- Conduct education info sessions over next year
- Church can change NIMBY
- Culture – incorporate community groups
- Utilize ‘expert’ resources to help with conversation
- Avoid formation of ‘camps’/sides
- Keep ‘new’ homeless & youth on the table
- Come together as churches – don’t do it alone
- Raise Awareness – Borrow Videos/DVDs, see firsthand (listen to the stories)
- Increase donations (In Kind) e.g. furniture, etc.
- Clearer way to involve congregations – groups in telling their stories
- Remind government & social service agencies that housing – though significant is ONLY a first step.
We must continue to address related issues such as addiction, financial stability, literacy, and
integration into the community.
- We commit ourselves to challenging our faith communities to continue our present initiatives and to
- find new and creative…
- Add a study aspect – encourage each [faith] tradition to examine its own commitment to eliminate
- Expand point 8 with more examples of community support – beyond housing and basic social
In addition, these points were jotted on the flip chart pages from table conversations:
- Building on what you said – we need a big‐group check‐in in 6 months. What have we done so far?
- What else can we be doing that we aren’t already doing?
- Theology of Human Rights as general start point?
- There is something in UN Declaration of Human Rights.
- 10:20 a.m. Return to plenary session
- Intro to what the statement aims to do?
- Edmonton city or Greater Edmonton region
- Opinions from plenary conversation:
- Hierarchies and personal commitments are necessary for this project to be successful
- We are stronger together than as individual congregations
- An Edmonton statement will have effect in the surrounding municipalities
- This is different; we don’t need to motivate the government, the government is spurring us to
- action; the statement is great; focus isn’t up but out onto our committees.
- This statement/project requires us to get to the structural roots of the problem, not just addressing
- specific issues
- What questions do we ask of candidates in the civic election?
10:45 a.m. Break
11:00 a.m. Jay introduced the ‘Welcome Home’ concept/project.
- Naming needs is only part of the project; mobilizing the communities is important
- One barrier/issue to work against: loneliness of individuals and families who are newly housed
- Sponsorship model – similar to refugee sponsorship – companionship – friendship – not about proselytism.
- This model has succeeded in many US cities, in Calgary and internationally
- This plan is doable – looking for approval in principal
- Requires staff (Volunteer Manager), coordination of volunteers, etc
- Hopeful signs from the City to commit resources to this project
11:10 a.m. Small group discussion
- Stronger faith statement – can we name God in this document? Like the Toronto multi faith
- Shared statement – could direct people more directly to the study guide – to congregations, to
- public, to politicians
- Were looking for measures, targets, goals – built in accountability
- We can come together or we will…
11:25 a.m. Plenary – Welcome Home
Summary of Small group discussions
- It’s crucially important to train/educate volunteers who work with homeless people.
- Listening Skills
- Issues of vulnerability for the homeless person and the volunteer. (Look @ C.P.E. educ.)
- Safety issues
- Knowing what to expect
- Screening Volunteers
- Training Volunteers
- What is the…connection with current faith based workers – volunteers
- How can faith communities address the social isolation
- Homeless – invitations to be included
- Community – Pot luck dinners?
- Exciting concrete possibility
- Opportunities for advocacy
- Training – volunteers need debriefing, support, to realize it’s a long term commitment – 6 months to
- 1 yr. minimum.
- Need to realize richness these people bring
- Community needs training – awareness – make it less scary
- Teach – we are better off because they have become part of us
- Advantage to not be a professional – can become friends
- Geographic component – match in area
- Volunteers as families?
- Volunteers can assist in a ‘cross‐pollination’ of understanding the needs in our city. i.e.: University
- Area & 118 Avenue (Whyte Ave. & Alberta Ave. speak to each other)
- Is there an age range for volunteers? Could youth volunteer?
- Clarification of volunteer training
- Clarification: emphasis on local, neighborhood faith communities.
- Who is the interfaith org. that will run ‘welcome home’?
- Include specific examples of how the program will function & serve
- Where will funding for staff salaries and programming come from?
- What will the role of a volunteer in this organization be? [clarify specific tasks volunteers will be
- responsible for.]
- How do we differentiate the role of ‘Welcome Home’ from that of social services?
- Agenda‐free interaction [meeting people where they’re at]
- Role of volunteer beyond individual interaction to community involvement without proselytizing.
Loneliness will become a major challenge if not addressed now – already signs
Agreement in principle for Welcome Home proposal – affirmed by those present
11:40 a.m. Next Steps
- Could we establish an (interfaith) steering committee to provide future leadership?
- What is the role of our ‘body’? Working group? Board of Governors? Communication Forum?
- Could we commit to at least the Action Guide? Concrete, practical…
- Would love to see an interfaith initiative – not just denominational, not isolationist – could lead to
- other initiatives
- Likes idea of steering committee – how do we get there?
- Is there a list of agencies, etc., that could be sent to congregations? (Yes & No)
- Anglicans are working on a comprehensive list – are willing to share
- Can we work regionally /in neighborhoods? Already happens – (Yes & No)
- CSS has assets & resources to lend
- Contact list will be circulated – people can work/contact each other outside of this forum.
Volunteers for Steering Committee:
Brian Kiely John MacDonald Judy Ganz, Bob Peele, Katherine Douglas, Audrey Brooks, Don Koote, Fraser Williamson, David Kunin
- If Welcome Home goes forward – Jay will communicate this back through the IF Housing network
- Possible next meeting? Stay tuned…
Archbishop Smith’s concluding comments
- Likes Steering Committee idea – hopes SC will work first on statement and action plan
- Archdiocesan Communications Office is ready to help
- Issuing statement is only part of it – message to the City, public – implementation is long‐term
- If we can really grapple with this issue – other things are possible
- What is the point of unifying contact for us? City Commission (Exec. Dir. Jay Freeman)
12:00 p.m. Conclusion/Adjournment
Thanks to Julien Hammond for taking notes and assisting with this report