Interfaith Housing Initiative General Meeting Minutes

November 1, 2012

 1. Bob McKeon welcomed everyone and offered regrets from Archbishop Richard Smith who was unavailable to attend.

2. Introductions of everyone present (approximately 35 attending, several regrets due to bad weather).

3. Updates:

a) Interfaith Habitat for Humanity Build – 120 people from many faith groups participated on days throughout May. Although the planning time was short, the project was judged to be successful. Planning to do this again in May 2013. Jackie from CSS spoke of her experience spending a day working on the Habitat Build site.

b) Homeless Commission – Jay Freeman

– need to stop the demonizing of non-market housing in local neighborhoods

– need to distribute affordable housing in neighborhoods throughout the city:

rental market is heating up, vacancy rate is coming down which can lead to more

homelessness

– need to focus on the distinction between emergency shelters and long term accommodations

– need to talk about prevention strategies related to homelessness

c) Homeward Trust

– Homeless Count took place on October 16

th with 300 volunteers covering 400 shifts

– numbers are still being processed with a final report coming out soon

– Homeless Connect took place on Sunday; October 21st with over 1,800 folks served and 70 service providers participating

– progress to date with Housing First – 2,130 people housed with a 84% retention rate

d) No Room in the Inn – Don Mayne

– December 2012 campaign is in support of renovations at Seniors’ Safe House, an elder abuse shelter in downtown Edmonton operated Seniors Association of Greater Edmonton

– Over $500,000 has been raised through No Room in the Inn over the past 13 years from Edmonton churches in support of affordable housing

e) Homefest

– it is organized annually by the Edmonton Coalition on Homelessness and Affordable Housing (ECOHH)

– posters were distributed for this year’s event which will be held on November 4th at

St. Faith’s Anglican Church.

f) Southside Homeless Outreach – Pam Reichenbach

– new Neighbour Centre is opening

– Grand Opening scheduled for November 12

– partnering with Homeward Trust

– in the process of hiring a new Executive Director, look for the posting

4. Congregational Workshops – Brian Kiely

– have conducted 12 workshops in Edmonton, more to come (with Sister Mary Clare)

– attempting to educate and empower faith community members at the Grassroots

– workshop includes a promotion and volunteer recruitment for Welcome Home

– preparing a “cheat” sheet of homily notes for preachers on the theme of addressing

issues of homelessness and affordable housing

5. Welcome Home – Sr. Mary Clare

– update on progress to date, training sessions underway

– presentations from those participating in Welcome Home

Debbie J. – a Welcome Home participant

Sr. Roseanne Favreau SCE – a Welcome Home volunteer

6. Next Steps for the Interfaith Housing Initiative – Group Reflections

– identify congregational housing “champions” in every congregation

– look to the lectionary of scripture readings to make a link with housing themes

– have testimony/witness talks from Welcome Home participants and volunteers for gatherings in local congregations

– include information on Welcome Home participants and volunteers in Church/faith community newsletters and community newspapers

– come up with a new name for WH “participant” and “volunteer;” e.g. befrienders, good neighbors

– create events and opportunities, where for small congregations to work with larger congregations there is a sense of being part of something bigger

– use City Hall for Interfaith Initiative meetings and public events

– congregational workshops are not enough, need to move out to the wider community

– address challenge to become more multi-faith, break down perceived barriers to working together,

homelessness is not a faith specific problem

– Interfaith stories are good news that are attractive to the media

– many of the members of our congregations are involved in civic service clubs, find ways to reach them out

7. Adjournment at 12 Noon

Next General Meeting to be called in the New Year.

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