Diocese will continue to focus on housing for the future

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By on September 1, 2021

Homelessness and affordable housing can be the key to helping parishes engage with their communities. 

Bishop Shane Parker participated as the Homelessness and Affordable Housing Working Group (HAHWG) began to develop a roadmap for its future.

The bishop explained how housing issues fit perfectly into the four strategic priorities of the Diocese: communications; the shape of parish ministry and the use of buildings; engagement with the world; and lifelong learning.

He said the Diocese wants to be seen as a resource for the community, not as a burden. “We have to do this. It is a top and urgent priority for us…Our Community Ministries are all about engagement.”

Bishop Parker referred to the Diocesan Communications Advisory Panel that has been charged with developing a three-year strategic plan to position the Diocese and the parishes to minister to their communities.”

“This,” he said, “is the sweet spot for HAHWG:” to help parishes provide context with their communities.

He added, “we will see a lot of action” once the communications advisory panel has reported.

The working group discussed a broad range of projects for its future work plan.  Priorities for action will be decided at a meeting in September.  Among the subjects of discussion:

  • The Community Ministries are now seen by the outside community as part of the identity of the diocese.
  • Activity is beginning outside of the City of Ottawa and in rural communities.
  • The Diocese could host an event, based on experience such as repurposing buildings and reaching out to other dioceses and agencies.
  • The need to address rural homelessness.
  • Steps to improve relationships with governments and political action in support of housing.
  • Opportunities to partner with other denominations and stakeholders such as the Alliance to End Homelessness Ottawa.
  • The need to build trust, particularly among younger people, many of whom distrust Christian communities and are tired of charity models that don’t work.
  • The affordability of housing doesn’t apply only to subsidized housing but very much includes market housing that is often out of reach for many.


  • David Humphreys

    David Humphreys is a member of the diocesan Homelessness and Affordable Housing Working Group. A retired journalist and former Globe and Mail bureau chief, he is a regular contributor to Crosstalk.

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