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Catholic Archdiocese’s drive to house homeless this winter

The Catholic Archbishop of Halifax-Yarmouth, is looking into the idea of locating temporary shelters on church properties.

By Vatican News staff writer

With winter fast approaching and with an already acute housing shortage in the province of Halifax, in Canada, the archdiocese is looking at ways it can shelter the homeless from harsh conditions.

Emergency shelters are being considered as a temporary solution, and according to the archdiocese, the construction of these shelters on church properties “provides a measure of protection from eviction on public land.”

Combatting homelessness a priority

The Archbishop, Brian Dunn has made homelessness one of four diocesan pastoral priorities, and he is inviting parishes to consider supporting an emergency tiny shelter.

 “This priority asks all of us to do what we can to combat homelessness and housing insecurity at every level,” said the Archdiocese.

The Archbishop hopes to have up to 15 shelters in place this winter.

Speaking to Canada’s CBC News, John Stevens, the archdiocese's manager of pastoral life and new evangelization said,  "We just hope that private property makes a little bit of a difference than putting up something on a public park. Maybe giving a little more — or hopefully a little more — security that it wouldn't suddenly just be taken down."

"There is a lot of property that is potentially available for something like this. In the core, maybe we're looking at a dozen places that could maybe do something,"  he added.

Parish support

The Archdiocese has established a support team to answer questions and help parishes with this undertaking while continuing to explore other initiatives that will help to bring permanent housing to those in need.

This initiative was piloted last year by the parish of St. Ignatius in Bedford, Nova Scotia.

Archbishop Dunn is also encouraging all the faithful to prayerfully consider how communities of faith can help those in the province of Halifax who are in great need.

08 October 2021, 13:34