What’s the real solution to homelessness? Homefulness!
Since Canada launched its $40 billion, 10-year National Housing Strategy in 2017, housing insecurity and homelessness have remained in crisis in remote and rural communities, not to mention urban areas, right across the country.
In 2019, Canada’s Parliament formally adopted the internationally recognized right to adequate housing into national law, and millions of Canadians still struggle in unaffordable and substandard housing, with hundreds of thousands living with no housing at all.
Anglicans, and other people of faith, have stepped up in the past. Many of the 600,000-plus affordable homes built under Canada’s national housing strategy from 1973 to 1993 were developed and managed by Anglicans and other faith communities. Over the years, we’ve rolled up our shirtsleeves to offer positive responses to practical concerns, like hunger and housing insecurity.
With billions of dollars in federal funding (plus more from the provinces) on the table, a deep and persistent national need for real and enduring solutions, and plenty of experience under our belts, it's time to focus on home-making - a vision that should drive the actions of governments, housing developers, advocates and activists, faith communities and others.
The Biblical vision of home-making draws from many sources, including Jesus’s call to love our neighbours and the prophetic call (in Isaiah 58 and elsewhere) to seek justice for the oppressed, the hungry and the homeless.
In the UK, the Archbishop of Canterbury established a high-level housing commission two years ago. In their final report, released earlier this year, the commission set out a theology of housing and has offered practical steps for dioceses and to get engaged. A new Bishop for Housing has been created by the Church of England who will sit in the House of Lords and provide leadership for the significant new effort.
Here in Canada, Empire Remixed and the Sorrento Centre are offering a powerful four-part on-line symposium on housing and homelessness over four Thursdays starting April 22. Eighteen theologians and housing advocates who have been active in Canada, the UK and the United States in home-making will offer insights and set out practical next steps.
This four-part symposium seeks to deepen the discussion of home-making and housing. In the face of a systemic homelessness that has economic, social, public health, ecological, cultural and spiritual manifestations, how might we develop more holistic and integrated policies and practices for deeper homefulness in our communities?
Who is this symposium for? Housing workers, advocates, activists, people with direct experience of housing insecurity and homelessness, board members, shelter staff, architects, developers, faith leaders, faith members, politicians, investors, and others.
Format: There will be four presenters each evening with moderated break-out room discussions with each presenter.
The cost is $40.00 for all four sessions, or $15.00 per single evening.
We are grateful to our sponsors: Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Dioceses of New Westminster and Toronto.
Rev. Michael Shapcott is an ordained Deacon in the Diocese of Kootenay, Executive Director of the Sorrento Centre and a long-time housing and homelessness advocate. He is co-author, with Jack Layton, of Homelessness: How to End the National Crisis.