IFHI Steering Committee: October 22, 2012

Steering Committee

Capital Region Interfaith Initiative on Homelessness and Housing

Monday, October 22, 2012

Present: Audrey Brooks, Fraser Williamson, Brian Kiely, Don Koots, Rick Chapman, Bob McKeon

Regrets: David Kunin, Mark Stanley, Mary Clare Stack, jay Freeman, Pam Reichenbach

Summary of Discussion

1.     Meeting opened with a welcome by Bob McKeon. Because of low attendance, it was agreed to have a more general discussion rather than to follow the prepared agenda in systematic form.

2.   The Meeting Notes from the Sept 18 Steering Committee meeting were approved.

3.   Rick reported on the progress of Welcome Home.  He serves as a member of the Welcome Home Advisory Committee.   He reported that Welcome Home has made a good start with training sessions for volunteers, and with initial matches between program volunteers and participants taking place. He said that one challenge was the need to recruit more volunteers from the faith communities.  At this point there are more participants looking for matches than available volunteers. One problem slowing things down is the delays in getting security checks through the City Police.

4.   Brian reported on the Congregational Workshops that have taken place so far. The workshop model is working well.  Attendance at the workshops has varied. The need to schedule future workshops in different parts of the city, hosted by different faith communities was emphasized. The workshops are serving an important purpose, and can help recruit volunteers for Welcome Home.

5.   There was an extended conversation about what should be the priorities of the Interfaith Housing group, now that it is entering its third year. Many of the goals set out previously have been achieved – initial launch at the Citadel, the first Congregation Action guide, development, launch and start up of Welcome Home, development and conducting of Congregational Workshops, the Interfaith Habitat build, the Interfaith Housing web presence and the meeting with Dave Ward about Aboriginal Culture. So far over 200 people have attended the Interfaith Housing meetings and are receiving emails.

6.   There was a shared sense that the Interfaith Housing network is entering a new phase.  There was a consensus that we should focus primarily on promoting and recruiting for Welcome Home and conducting the Housing Workshops for the coming year. The ambitious goal for Welcome Home for the first year is 80 matches involving 160 volunteers. We spoke of ways of promoting Welcome Home in our faith communities.  Bob pointed to an article about Welcome Home in the weekly Catholic newspaper.  Perhaps there can be similar articles in other faith media. Brian volunteered to prepare homily/sermon notes for pastors to promote Welcome during worship services. There was a suggestion about preparing a FAQ (frequently Asked Questions sheet) about Welcome Home for Congregations.   Steering Committee members are being asked to see if they can make arrangements to schedule Congregation Workshops in their networks.  Rick spoke of identifying 2 or 3 of Anglican parishes that have been active on the homelessness issue.

7.   Work will continue this year with other projects including revising the Congregation Housing guide, the Web Presence and the Interfaith May 2013 Habitat Build.

8.   The focus   of the November 1, 2012 General Meeting will be around Welcome Home and the

Congregation Workshops. The program will include a presentations by a participant and a faith volunteer. There will also be time for table conversations about how to promote better Welcome Home and the workshops.

9.   Next meeting of Steering Committee scheduled for Wednesday, Nov 21 at 10 am.at the Catholic Pastoral Centre.

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