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From Don Fornoff, Bishop’s Task Force on Homelessness:

Over the past several written pieces for the Diocesan Enews, I have misspelled the word homelessness as I type and corrected it each time so that it wasn’t written homelessmess. At one time, I wanted to leave it alone as homelessness in the geography of our diocese IS a mess. It is a mess for many reasons- but not for reasons that point to faith communities and our parishes as not doing anything to help. I’ll give a few reasons, although not based on empirical data. Public and governmental entities don’t work together in coordinated ways. Spend way too much money without reasonable results. They are guided in many ways by wealthy selfish interests. Possibly, they have not recognized that faith communities have been involved in mitigating poverty and homelessness ever since social problems became recognized as such. And don’t count on the faithful to do what is needed. So, Dear Ones, we can’t give up, and we can’t let up.

The Bishop’s Taskforce on Homelessness has a threefold purpose.

  1. Promote activities that individuals and congregations are doing to be part of the solution, good works in action.
  2. Be a clearing house for information and resources.
  3. Be an advocate for the unhoused. Work with State and local officials on policies that affect the homeless and share that information with others in the diocese.

The Task Force aims to extend the mission, assist with problem-solving, and provide help and counsel in showing the way to action. As Deacon Jeffrey Boyce has said: “Many- we dare say most- parishes in the Diocese of Olympia have been doing good deeds since homelessness became a major issue in our communities. Let’s keep doing better work even as our towns and cities are getting better at targeting the issues.”

Q & A: Why do the homeless stay where they do? The question, it turns out, isn’t why; the question is where on earth do we expect them to go? The answer then turns to the efforts to provide shelter and housing in every jurisdiction. The answer lies in not letting someone else take care of the unhoused. It is up to all of us. In our own towns. In our own neighborhoods. Because the unhoused are our neighbors- all of them.

We have today- and tomorrow- and the next day. We have the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. God intended for us to use it.

Blessings to all. Don Fornoff

Updates from the Bishop’s Task Force on Homelessness

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