A monthly publication by the Capital Region Interfaith Housing Initiative (CRIHI)
Happy New Year from all of us at CRIHI!
2019 promises to be a very exciting year in our work together as a movement. In this issue we formally announce the new direction set by our steering committee; building and supporting local networks of faith communities working together in their community. We are starting in South Edmonton for this project, and hope to expand this work in other areas as we are able to bring on additional staff.
The No Room In the Inn campaign continues, and we are pleased to support this year's efforts to renovate the youth emergency shelter.
As well, Interfaith Habitat Works is ready to run for this year, with an initial info session on January 17 from 2-3 pm.
Lots of great work ahead. Let's do it together!
IN THIS ISSUE:
A Word from the Buddha for the New Year
CRIHI to build and support local interfaith networks
No Room in the Inn Campaign for YESS Upcoming Events
Ongoing Volunteer Opportunities
Steering Committee sets a New Direction for 2019! CRIHI to support local interfaith networks!
Beginning in January of 2019, CRIHI is investing deeply in local area networks (LAN) as a way for faith communities to work together in addressing local needs; especially in the area of affordable and supportive housing.
Background: Faith community networks have some strong history in Edmonton already, with local collaborations generating and sustaining some very powerful efforts such as those led by E4C, Jasper Place Wellness Centre, and Islamic Family Services Society of Alberta, among many others.
One of CRIHI's passions is to provide opportunity for people of many faiths to put boots on the ground together in addressing homelessness and other challenges related to poverty. We believe this move into supporting faith and community work in the local context will create many more such opportunities. This work also has the potential for great impact as it is shaped by forming long term relationships, deepening community investments and connection, and informed engagement with local neighbours and community partners.
Where will we start?
As this is a new field of work for us, we are only able to begin working in a few parts of the city. in some cases, we may be coming alongside local networks that are already working well. In others we may be starting something new. The five areas we have decided to begin with are all in South Edmonton.
Greater Hardisty (Capilano/Goldbar)
Greenfield south through Blue Quill
In each of these areas we will gather local people of faith (welcoming people of every faith or no faith) to the table together to discuss how we can work together in addressing local needs. We will also have an eye to engaging local community partners such as community leagues, businesses, or service providers.
These local networks will...
Meet together regularly in order to facilitate a journey of learning and engagement in their local setting. (perhaps taking turns hosting in different spaces to encourage greater ownership and equal buy-in)
Learn together by engaging with local social workers and community leaders to understand the needs and dynamics of the local community.
Work together in responding to local needs. That work may take some of the following directions, some of which will be suggested by CRIHI in our role as a support.
What might we do together? Here are some ideas...
Identifying and advocating for needed services and resources locally.
Addressing local fears, conflict and tension centred on new neighbours or new housing by hosting participatory and relational community workshops on topics such as: Mental health, Addictions, Affordable Housing, Disabilities, Trauma, Foster Care, Neighbouring, or supporting people transitioning out of correctional facilities. (Venues will ideally be places recognized by the local area as safe gathering places for any community member; ie. community halls, or school gymnasiums, or in some case faith community facilities that have that reputation locally.)
Serving and working together visibly with shared events and projects; such as having the youth groups from many traditions work together to fundraise and help build a playground.
Supporting and participating in community consultation efforts connected to new housing developments. (Encouraging good process and constructive engagement)
Finding land for affordable or supportive housing. Perhaps an apartment complex to repurpose, or some vacant land they could look at together; fundraising together to support a project.
Confronting Economic, Faith and Cultural barriers in the local community. hosting reconciliation-oriented events such as the blanket exercise or talking circles, or hospitality exchanges where different groups take turns opening their doors so others can learn about what they believe, how they live (and eat!), and what they value.
CRIHI Staff (Interfaith Network Animators) will support this effort by...
Lining up presenters in areas of interest. (Such as social workers, housing or service providers, Indigenous leaders, and local community or business voices.)
Supporting event and workshop design and delivery, including facilitation as necessary.
Highlighting critical areas of need on the housing front.
Mobilizing and equipping faith communities for constructive participation in local conversations on housing, revitalization, or addressing poverty.
Encouraging regular engagement with persons with lived experience at all levels of engagement.
Hosting a skills registry of local people and partners willing to contribute time, money and expertise to areas of local need. (ie. plumbers and carpenters willing to help build housing, or those willing to back eviction prevention measures such as rent subsidies or insect treatment.)
Help us grow these networks by...
Participating in a CRIHI LAN in your area. If you live in any of the communities listed above, come join us in the work!Please contact CRIHI's Interfaith Network Animator, Mike Van Boom at: email@example.com
Donating funds to help us hire additional Interfaith Network Animators. New funding will help us expand and strengthen this network to eventually include other parts of the Edmonton, and even other cities in the Capital Region.
If you would like to donate to this project, you may do that at the following link hosted by CRIHI's fiscal agent, the Synod of the Anglican Diocese:
Instructions: Select Interfaith Housing Initiative in the box as illustrated in the picture below.
Visit us at Interfaithhousing.ca to learn more.
CRIHI Plenary Gathering Wednesday, March 20
Come join us as we consider our work together as a movement, including a discussion of the new Local Area Network project. Approximate timeframe: 9:30 am until 12:30 pm Location to be announced
Interfaith Habitat Works Project March 5 to June 5, 2019
CRIHI and her partners at Habitat for Humanity invite you to come join us as people of many faiths put boots on the ground together building homes for people. This year we are hoping to rally 600 volunteers to this project, so help us spread the word!
Ways you can get involved:
Volunteer on a build or at a ReStore: Volunteers can come out either individually or as a group. Beginners are welcome and all equipment and tools are provided.
Feed the volunteers: contributions of lunches or baked goods are welcome.
Attend the Kick-off and Wrap-up events
As we approach the launch date we will forward you more information on:
how to register as a volunteer or group
how to schedule a lunch
our Interfaith information session dates (these are sessions held prior to the project open to all to attend)
available resources you can share with your faith group
Kick-off and Wrap-up dates and event details!
Information Session upcoming for this project on January 17 from 2:00-3:00 pm.
Contact Monica at firstname.lastname@example.org to rsvp.
One of the biggest reasons people struggle or fail as they come out of homelessness into housing is loneliness. Welcome Home assembles and trains a small team of volunteers to walk with someone as a friend. This is a one-year commitment to go for coffee, go bowling, take long walks, to encourage and pray for a fellow human being on a tough stretch of the road. To find out more information about volunteering contact the Welcome Home Coordinator at 780-378-2544. https://www.cssalberta.ca/Our-Ministries/Volunteer-Mentoring-Support
Get Firsthand Experience
CRIHI's website has a strong list of opportunities where volunteers can learn by serving. Here's the link: http://wp.me/P20ewB-5R
Get involved in your Local Community
Visit or Join your Community League - engage in your neighbourhood's efforts to build community, go for coffee with the leadership, and learn about some of the justice issues taking place in your neighbourhood. http://www.efcl.org
Explore the social dynamics in your neighbourhood
Unsure what the needs are in your community? MAPS Alberta is a great resource to see how your neighbourhood stacks up on a range of social demographics. Explore their Social Atlas and numerous other useful resources at: www.mapsab.ca
Connect, Contribute, Inspire!
Join our Learning Community! The Interfaith Housing Initiative was formed in response to a City of Edmonton and Province of Alberta commitment: the Ten-year-plan to End Homelessness. Faith leaders from across the city came together to say, “Addressing homelessness is important to our communities too! How can we help?”
Get Involved! Join the conversation! Sign up for our email newsletter and learn with us. This is a monthly publication where we will be provide good information, generate ideas that work, tell each other’s stories, and share how communities and organizations around Edmonton are responding to the needs of Edmonton’s most vulnerable.
Share your stories with us! A good story reminds us of what is possible. The work of providing help, support and home to a neighbor is nothing new, and people of faith tell many stories that inspire. Stories from today, or stories from a thousand years ago; we want to hear them! Share the stories of compassion, hospitality that inspire you and your community so that their sharing can inspire others around Edmonton.
Submit stories and insights to email@example.com
Mike Van Boom
CRIHI Housing Ambassador
Religious and spiritual communities working to end homelessness in Edmonton