Bishop Shane Parker’s Easter sermon, with its call to embrace the challenges that face us, gives fresh impetus to those in the diocese who are engaged in the campaign for affordable housing.
The bishop referred specifically to the hard work within the diocese in responding to homelessness and affordable housing as a way of celebrating the 125th anniversary of the diocese.
Acting on a Synod mandate in 2015, the Homelessness and Affordable Housing Working Group (HAHWG) established the campaign to create 125 new units with every parish engaged for the anniversary this year.
The Rev. Canon Dr PJ Hobbs, points out that projects are under way in various stages of development to ensure the 125 target will be met, although completion for some will extend beyond this year. Parishes have responded to the call to become engaged through action, advocacy, prayer or learning.
“Bishop Shane’s future-looking vision gives us confidence and determination to keep moving forward to address this essential human need and right,” Canon Hobbs says.
HAHWG Chair Canon Sue Garvey says the group is dedicated to continuing its work beyond the anniversary, and she expects members will be keen to rebrand the campaign as it continues to support local parish initiatives well into the future.
“We also have a wonderful opportunity now to highlight the work of the diocese in support and partnership with the City of Ottawa,” she says. Affordable housing is a feature of the City’s Official Plan. Its Community Safety and Well Being Plan and its Women and Gender Equity Strategy are being released this year.
The anniversary phase of the campaign has seen the opening of 42 units at Cornerstone Housing for Women’s Princeton Avenue residence, the construction of 35 units at Christ Church Bells Corners and projections for at least 35 units in an extension to Ellwood House at St Thomas the Apostle and up to 100 units in a major project in planning at Julian of Norwich.
David Humphreys is a HAHWG member, along with Moira Alie, Jim Davison, Archdeacon Kathryn Otley, Joyce Potter, and Gay Richardson.