You Are Invited to a Public Forum on Finding Solutions to Homelessness in Niagara

– Be There on Wednesday October 9th  at 8 p.m. at the St. Catharines Central Library in Niagara, Ontario –

“Work is underway on a community plan  that  has been undertaken by the Niagara Region-wide Housing and Homeless Service system.”                                                                                           – Lori Beech, Executive Director of Bethlehem Place

An Invite to All from the Niagara District Council of Women

Posted October 7th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

On Wednesday, October 9th  at 8 p.m. at the St. Catharines Central Library, at 54 Church Street,  the Niagara District Council of Women (NDCW) will hold a public forum on “Homelessness in Niagara-Community Solutions”.

Panelists  will  focus on  the current   efforts of  agencies, individuals, faith communities  and municipal governments to work together to quickly develop  plans of action  to  prevent  homelessness, serve those who suffer from it, build more affordable housing  and stem the tide of Niagara’s  growing housing  crisis.

For, as panelist  Lori Beech, Executive Director of Bethlehem Place, warns us, “The complex and multi-faceted community issues of poverty and homelessness  require cross-sectoral collaborations for carefully planned, multi-pronged strategic solutions”  such as the bi-national Road to Zero Homelessness program which the Region of Niagara has signed onto recently. She also notes, “Work is underway on a community plan  that  has been undertaken by the Niagara Region-wide Housing and Homeless Service system.

Panelist Carolyn  Iononni , a Niagara Falls Councillor,  an avid proponent of inter-agency, public  and  municipal government  cooperation, agrees with this approach, saying  that “Communities must stop saying this is not our problem and waiting for other levels of government to come to our rescue.”

In  downtown St. Catharines , the community is already hard at work reaching out to those affected by homelessness .

For instance,  panelist   Karen Orlandi, Minister of Silver Spire United Church,  worked with the Niagara Native Centre  to bring the nationally-known and practiced  Bear Clan Patrol program to  downtown St. Catharines this past Summer  “  in order to build relationships and build community,  and help ”the  homeless  members of our community, who desperately need compassion, care and connection to realize that there is no difference between us and them but an education and a pay cheque.

Also on the front lines, panelist Karrie Porter,  Niagara  Housing Lead at Start Me Up Niagara,  will not only tell us of that  agency’s community experiences with effects of homelessness, and its programs to help , but  as a St. Catharines City Councillor she will  help illuminate the four years of hard work by  Mayor Walter Sendzik , Councillors  and City planning staff on an ambitious   housing plan,   the leadership role they played in drawing attention  to the homelessness  crisis,  and the need to act quickly, while  continuing to urge the federal and provincial governments to do their part by investing in affordable housing as promised .

The Niagara District Council of Women (NDCW) has 24 federated group members plus individual members from across the Region. This year we celebrate our 101st year of service to the community.

You can learn more about our council at www.ndcw.ca <http://www.ndcw.ca/>

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For more news and commentary from Niagara At Large – an independent, alternative voice for our greater bi-national Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at www.niagaraatlarge.com .

“A politician thinks of the next election. a leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

 

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