Last week we were shocked to learn that the Inn From the Cold Society is suspending its Community Inn program involving many faith groups across the city, like our own, that provide shelter for the homeless.
Since 1997, every night homeless families and individuals have been provided with a hot meal, a safe place to sleep, breakfast in the morning, and a bagged lunch. More important, they were welcomed as “guests”, treated with respect, and afforded the dignity that was often denied them on the streets. At its height, the Community Inn program involved over seventy faith groups and literally thousands of volunteers.
The Society has given two reasons for the suspension of this program: (1) a recent incident where a volunteer was injured by a guest and (2) the accommodation of families at the Inn’s central location. A letter from the Society argues that the needs of single homeless people can adequately be met by other existing agencies.
This is hard news for us at St. Stephen’s because IFTC started here—with a timely sermon preached by then-rector Bob Purdy and an inter-church task force that responded with the first community inns. We have seen lives turned around by this program, and we ourselves have been transformed in return.
There is a meeting with inn coordinators on March 6 and thereafter a determination will be made about the future of the Community Inn program. Until then we invite your prayers and your continued financial support. It’s not over yet.