“What can we do to help?”

As some may or may not realize, there is a growing situation in Brantford with those living outdoors in encampments and on the streets.  This is a troubling issue. A number of groups, including ONEchurch, have been quick to respond by asking the question, “What can we do to help?”  Like the issue itself, that question is more complex and nuanced than many first realized. 

On November 13, 2019, we came together to brainstorm, hear hearts and ideas, and pray about our current homelessness situation in Brantford.  Over 60 individuals representing about 25 churches and organizations in town met under the banner of ONEchurch. 

A number of weeks ago, representatives from our ONEchurch Pastoral Executive and our Community Action Team (comprised of church and marketplace volunteers) attended a meeting with city staff to ask the question: “What can we do to help?”  It was determined that ONEchurch would assist in getting the word out about immediate needs on the ground and facilitate a degree of distribution. 

For the better part of a month, ONEchurch has taken an active role in this, along with meal coordination.  As early winter has hit our city, the need for a long-term solution coupled with a short-term provision has become paramount.  The city is working hard for an immediate shelter solution. In the coming days, ONEchurch will be meeting with the city again to ask the same question: “What can do to help?” as the situation has evolved. 

For the time being we are removing the list of material needs that we created a month ago until such time as the BEST next steps for short and long term transformation of this issue are determined.   These will be developed by the ONEchurch Community Action Team and the Executive after hearing the needs of the city and determining the gaps in care for those most vulnerable.  

Just imagine what a mobilized Church, helping to meet a need like this would look like if we were all working in the same direction, in partnership with others.  As the Church of Brantford, we are well-positioned to do just that. ONEchurch… your desire to help and your persistence in stepping up has made us believe that transformation of this issue is more than a pipe dream; it can become a reality.  Thank you to all who have brought a meal, provided clothing or rounded up a tarp to help.  

There are numerous churches, groups and people that are individually responding to this need.  Please keep doing what you feel led by God to do. In the coming days, through the ONEchurch network, we will bring a report and some recommendations on how we can move forward TOGETHER.