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In response to a Synod 2021 Resolution, Diocesan Council has appointed a Task Force on Homelessness and Housing Affordability, whose work began in February 2022, and will conclude at Synod 2023. (See Resolution 01, adopted at Diocesan Synod 2021, linked here).

Bishop John Stephens appointed Co-Chairs, the Reverend Simbarashe Basvi (St. David’s, Delta) and Vicki Potter, ODNW (St. John’s Shaughnessy, Vancouver) to lead the initiative. Members on the Task Force are: Peter Bailey (Christ Church, Hope), Sharon Cooper (St. John the Apostle, Port Moody), the Reverend Armand Mercier (St. Alban’s, Richmond), the Reverend Paul Richards (Church of the Holy Trinity, White Rock), David Van Blarcom (The 127 Housing Society), the Reverend Alex Wilson (St. Anselm’s, Vancouver), the Reverend Christine Wilson (St. Mary’s Kerrisdale, Vancouver).  The Reverend Tellison Glover serves as diocesan liaison.  Task Force members bring a wealth of knowledge, experience and faith to this difficult issue.

The Task Force’s purpose is to increase awareness and understanding of the issues and causes surrounding homelessness and housing vulnerability, and to provide practical options for the Diocese and its parishes to use their gifts and resources to respond

The Task Force has three areas of focus:
  1. To gather and assess information to understand the ways in which race, Indigenous identity, age, socio-economic status, and human sexuality impact accessibility to housing.
  2. To gather and assess information about how churches in the Diocese of New Westminster, as well as churches and other organizations in Canada and beyond, have actively responded to homelessness and housing affordability issues.
  3. To develop policy and program options for the diocese and its parishes, supported by the research from tasks 1&2 above, that increase our effectiveness in supporting the homeless and vulnerably housed.

The Task Force is eager to hear from individual parishes in the diocese who have or are considering a program that supports homeless and vulnerably housed people. What are the conditions in your community that provide opportunities and challenges to such efforts?  How can we work together to overcome these challenges?  Share your stories, program experiences, and ideas by emailing the Task Force at A member of the Task Force will be in touch with you.


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Credit: Bodnarchuk