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St. James, Carleton Place building an ecumenical coalition for housing

St. James, Carleton Place
In the north end of Carleton Place, St. James is rising to the diocesan challenge of creating 125 new housing units in celebration of the 125th anniversary
By on May 1, 2021

Two years ago, the congregation of St James, Carleton Place put together a mission statement that aspired to leadership “in community programs that provide supportive, safe and affordable housing for all.” 

Archdeacon Brian Kauk
“We want to build as broad a faith coalition as we possibly can.”—Archdeacon Brian Kauk, St James’ Incumbent

Today, the parish is actively building a coalition with other denominations and stakeholders as an essential step towards making its mission statement a reality. Members of the parish joined with representatives of Zion-Memorial United Church and Ottawa Valley Vineyard Fellowship for an information-sharing virtual meeting in March with Moira Alie of the diocese’s Homelessness and Affordable Housing Working Group (HAHWG).  

Archdeacon Brian Kauk, St James’ Incumbent who chaired the diocese’s affordable housing workshop in 2019, expects to enlist more participants. “We want to build as broad a faith coalition as we possibly can.” 

The Rev. David Sherwin of Zion-Memorial says affordable housing is the kind of social issue that needs to be addressed ecumenically because few congregations are able to be effective on their own. “We are definitely interested in being supportive and we’d want to be involved.”  Before going to Carleton Place Sherwin spent 20 years in Ottawa where he was the United Church representative on Multi-Faith Housing.

Kauk has stressed the importance of the second part of the diocesan campaign to create 125 units in celebration of the 125th anniversary this year – every parish engaged through advocacy, action, learning and prayer.  While continuing to advocate, St James’ next step is to identify its entry point for action: where and when a faith-based coalition could play a meaningful role. It’s also important to determine an effective role for each of the coalition partners.

To that end, it is consulting with community leaders in Carleton Place, Lanark County and non-profits. Jeff Mills, community engagement director of Carebridge Community Support attended the information session. Almonte-based Carebridge has extensive experience in affordable housing as well as support for seniors and the disabled.

Kauk has attended meetings of the existing Lanark County housing coalition. “I’d like to see an ecumenical coalition at the table.” 

The need in Carleton Place isn’t in doubt, he says. Housing costs are out of reach for many people, even those with good incomes. 

David Humphreys is a member of the Homelessness and Affordable Housing Working Group. 

Author

  • 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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