This Week at St. Stephen’s–February 28, 2016

LIFE … AFTER THE INN

Feb 28Last week we learned that the Inn From the Cold’s Community Inn Program has been discontinued. There will be no more inns hosted by faith communities throughout the city for Calgary’s homeless. Most homeless families will now find shelter at IFTC itself, in its large downtown location. Most homeless singles will be accommodated by other existing social agencies.

But even with the large-scale shift of IFTC and other social agencies away from emergency shelters to affordable housing, the root causes of homelessness persist. They persist as unemployment in the oil and gas sector, inaccessible apartment rental rates, inadequate AISH and social welfare payments, and the impossibility of surviving on minimum wage in a city like Calgary. So our care for the homeless does not stop with the Community Inn Program. Instead, we are led to ask, Why are people still homeless in the first place?

As if in answer to that question, St. Stephen’s has been invited to take part in an exploration of the social challenges facing our city, to identify its greatest needs, and to pool the resources of individuals and organizations to affect the public policy that governs our communal life.

The Metro Alliance for the Common Good (MACG) is hosting a Listening Campaign: “Facing the Challenges of Our Time: Listening to Real People, About Real Issues, Acting for Real Change.” The details will be found elsewhere in our bulletin and on our website. Might this be a way of exploring our community outreach beyond the Inn?

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