Saturday, June 16, 2018

Raising Awareness of Homelessness in Quinte

Image result for homeless jesus statue toronto

Homeless Jesus Sculpture --Timothy Schmaltz

I'm out of town today but I want to quickly make you aware of a presentation which happened in Belleville a couple of days ago. The venue was a meeting of the Poverty Roundtable, the subject was an area study of homelessness, and the presenter was Steve Van de Hoef. Steve is the coordinator of the Bridge St. United Church meal ministries. I was the minister at Bridge St. when Steve was hired, although I knew him before he became a staff member and was delighted that he was willing to take on this role. He has been a huge asset to these ministries and his background in statistical studies made him a great fit for the work regional government wanted to undertake regarding homelessness.

We believed strongly in the work we were doing to feed people and well over 10,000 meals a year in three different formats are distributed out of Bridge St. We also realized that there are systemic issues for those who live in poverty, including the challenge of finding affordable housing. The study discovered that homelessness exists in smaller centres such as Belleville and in rural areas as well. Those who are homeless are often hidden in plain sight, and those of us who taken food and housing security for granted aren't inclined to look for them. I'll let you read the articles in the local papers to become better informed.

Thanks Steve. We can hope and pray that this study moves the region one step further toward a practical strategy to address homelessness and its root causes.

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