For Immediate Release
Contact: J. Paul Davis, Minister of Outreach at St. Stephen's Episcopal Parish
On November 16, 2010, civic and religious leaders and congregations throughout Portland and Multnomah County will observe the first annual "Day of Homelessness Awareness." The Day of Homelessness Awareness is intended to make the challenge of homelessness in our community visible, and to engage more faith communities in the effort to end homelessness.
A "Walk of Awareness" begins at 7am on November 16 for members of local religious communities with their pastors or other religious leaders to see how a single church, synagogue, or mosque can make a direct impact in the effort to end homelessness.
In concert with the event, organizers are asking the public to forgo one day's splurge (e.g. a coffee drink or snack) and donate the proceeds to local shelters in advance of the coming winter, or to bring coats, blankets, non-perishable food and other needed items to the walk.
Event organizer: JOIN's New City Initiative (www.joinpdx.com)
Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon
Oregon Board of Rabbis
Oregon Area Jewish Committee
Muslim Educational Trust
Downtown Chapel Roman Catholic Parish
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
City of Portland
David Leslie, Executive Director of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon
Rabbi Michael Cahana, President of the Oregon Board of Rabbis
City Commissioners Nick Fish and Amanda Fritz
Multnomah County Commissioners Deborah Kafoury and Barbara Willer
Walkers will assemble at Downtown Chapel Roman Catholic Parish (6th and West Burnside, known as the "Red Doors") and walk from there to the new 13 Salmon Family Day Center at First Unitarian Church for a light reception.
Participants are invited to bring coats, blankets, non-perishable food and other needed items to the walk. Participants will also have the opportunity to make a financial contribution to support the Family Warming Center at Easminster Presbyterian Church.
The Day of Homelessness Awareness will also provide opportunities for people to learn more about what faith communities are already doing about homelessness, and how they and their congregation can become involved.
According to the most recent One Night Street Count (2009) and One Night Shelter Count (2010), more than 2,500 people experience homelessness on any given night, 13% of whom are homeless families. Of this number, 1,509 people were actually sleeping on the street, while 950 were sleeping in shelters or other emergency accommodations. Although such figures are daunting, the good news is that there are over 500 congregations in Portland. If every congregation were to commit to building relationships with just 10 people, we could literally touch the life of every person without a home in our city.
For more information about the Day of Homelessness Awareness, contact J. Paul Davis, Minister of Outreach at St. Stephen's Episcopal Parish at 503-449-4969 or firstname.lastname@example.org