Homelessness & Affordable Housing Task Force Get to Work

Last October, we made a commitment at our annual Synod to implement the 2013 Joint Assembly resolution to an approach of learning, action, advocacy and prayer concerning homelessness and affordable housing.

It is not surprising that this motion received unanimous support, given the many ways in which our Diocese, its parishes, and its people have responded to God’s call to serve others, as evidenced through the mission of our Community Ministries, including Cornerstone, Centre 454, The Well, and St. Luke’s Table, and many other initiatives in rural, urban, and suburban settings.

What motivated the motion at Synod, however, was a sense that we could do more and better. The conversations throughout the Diocese on Embracing God’s Future have confirmed the special place that responding to the needs of those who are homeless or inadequately housed has in our hearts. Affordable housing is a right, not a privilege. Hence our quest to find new and better ways to address the challenges, including greater coordination of our existing efforts, working with others through partnerships, exploring inno- vative approaches in projects and advocacy, and daring to dream in ways that are ambitious yet practical… all of this grounded in scripture and prayer.

Diocesan Council has taken the first step in referring this motion to the Community Ministries Committee which will work in consultation with the Special Advisor on Government Relations. The Homelessness and Affordable Housing Task Force has been established, drawing from various expertise within our Diocese, to provide recommendations to the Community Ministries Committee by late autumn.

The Task Force has been meeting intensively throughout the summer, grappling with ways to develop an ambitious yet practical framework to guide and coordinate the work of the Diocese in addressing homelessness and affordable housing. The issues are complex. Rural, urban, and suburban realities differ. Issues may be different for youths, seniors, and indigenous peoples. And the electoral environment offers opportunities to explore the issues with political leaders and candidates.

Stay tuned as our work evolves.

Written by: Rev. Laurette Glasgow, Special Advisor for Government Relations for the Anglican Church Church of Canada and the Diocese of Ottawa.

Originally published: Crosstalk, October 2015.