From Don Fornoff, Bishop’s Task Force on Homelessness:
Winter is here, people of faith. Temps have gone down, and rainfall is happening most days, or so it seems. Snow can’t be far off. I’m shuddering with the thought of bad or, at least not fun, weather. Can you imagine what it is like for someone living outside or in their car or having to pick up each day to try to find limited shelter? That’s why so many parishes in the Diocese of Olympia include serving the unhoused in their outreach plans and programs. Based on contacts the Bishop’s Task Force on Homelessness had with other parishes at Convene, many are looking to add or expand to what they are doing. We applaud you!
How to be part of the solution? Consider what you might want to do. Safe Parking. Feeding. Advocacy local and statewide. Check for Point-In-Time counts. Be a part of a local ecumenical group. There are many options, mostly with the support of already-established organizations.
For more information, go to our website to look for information to help get started. The site is: https://sun-ww.org.
Speaking of advocacy, the 60-day legislative session begins just after the first of the year. Find out who your senator is and your representatives. And make contact to tell them of the need. For example, in Tacoma, rents increased 47% over four years, resulting in a lot of evictions and extensive homelessness. These hot-button issues should garner attention. Keep the heat on.
Last but not least, the Diocese and the Task Force are sponsoring a program called “Stories of Us: Camp Second Chance.” Valerie Reinke, Canon Missioner for Faith Formation, is making the film available to review, and following a period of open viewing, a discussion online will take place. This marvelous opportunity needs to be shared with all parishes. The link is: https://stories-of-us.eventbrite.com.
As a member of the Task Force and the writer for this Enews article, I apologize for the writing drought since July. A major health challenge has intervened and continues, but I want those parishes who want a contact to feel welcome to email me. That is Don Fornoff, firstname.lastname@example.org. I can put you in touch with a member of the Task Force who lives near you and readily understands the local situation. There are 29 members of the Task Force, an expansion from the early days of 2019 because the issues of the unhoused just don’t go away. Please reach out – we can assist your parish in your efforts.
Be well, do good works, love one another.