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Looking beyond homelessness

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An Insite worker in a white coat and blue gloves sweeps up outside of Vancouver's safe injection site in the Downtown Eastside. Photo by Brent Mattson / The B.C. Catholic.Church & Affordable Housing Forum brings faith to charity
By Brent Mattson
The B.C. Catholic

VANCOUVER--Is there a world beyond homelessness?

An upcoming forum will explore the question by looking at how the local Christian community and its partners can build physical and social spaces to solve the issue of homelessness.

Scott Small, manager of the Catholic Charities Men's Hostel, says the event is a great opportunity for Catholics to attack homelessness in an ecumenical way.

"It's for people who are curious about what the Christian community is doing and what it can do to address the problem of homelessness, from charity and justice to building new relationships," he says.

"There are many ways people can get more involved with solving the problem of homelessness. They can work with other faith-based ministries, because each has its own history of providing services and its own ways to access communities."

"Beyond Homelessness: The Church & Affordable Housing Forum 2011" will take place Oct. 28 from noon to 5 p.m. and Oct. 29 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Tenth Church, 11 W. 10 Ave., Vancouver. Registration is at

Keynote speaker Dr. Brian Walsh will discuss his book Beyond Homelessness: Christian Faith in a Culture of Displacement, which he co-wrote with Steven Bouma-Prediger. Walsh is an instructor at Wycliffe College at the Toronto School of Theology.
The event will also include workshops, and a panel discussion including Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, Housing Minister Rich Coleman, and Craig Crawford from B.C. Housing.

Small says the forum will also create an opportunity to take advantage of a resource unique to faith-based charities: prayer.

"It's an opportunity for us to uniquely impact and attack a problem in a way that governments never can," he adds. "(Prayer is) the greatest resource that all Christian churches have in addressing poverty."

He adds that prayer is transformative for the person praying and for those being prayed for.

"The chain of events goes well beyond our physical abilities or even our wildest imaginations."

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 October 2011 09:40  

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