Restoring the Soul, an organization facilitating the service collaboration of faith congregations, has been hosting a series of monthly community forums for several years now. In the organization’s own words:
One aspect of Restoring the Soul: Faith and Community Partnership’s mission is community education on crucial social issues. These Forums present current information via local, expert panelists who are personally involved with the topic issue. The Forums address the information needs of congregations, service agencies and the general citizenry.
(Emphasis mine.) February’s forum is on a topic near and dear to my own heart. It’s called “Homelessness: Compassion and Tension in Community.”
Tension is an appropriate word. I was here in early 2000 when the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless was struggling desperately to find a more adequate location than the converted motel they used to subsist in way up north on Broadway. A facility became available, one that would allow them to multiply their nightly beds, greatly expand their program helping residents transition into independence, and, being more centrally located, give residents better access to jobs and services–but it was too close to a middle school for Boulder parents’ comfort. Because homeless people are scary, dontcha know, they might sneak up to the fence and sell our kids drugs or, y’know, be visible…
The Shelter is in a much better facility now, but it’s still way the hell north on Broadway, at the very last stop of the SKIP route, far enough north that even the “Uptown” residents don’t have to be acutely aware that homeless people exist.
Well, they do exist, and there but for the grace of our paychecks go most of us. No matter how we may like to pretend it can’t happen to us because we’re good, hardworking people who would never bring the problems of homelessness and poverty on ourselves by being lazy and getting drunk or whatever–it can happen to anyone. All it takes is one unaffordable emergency, one medical diagnosis, one divorce, one abusive family member… And if it happens to you, do you think you’re going to suddenly turn into an amoral predator apt to corrupt children through a schoolyard fence? Would the inability to make the rent turn you into an urban danger overnight?
See also: Being Poor.
So. Important topic. Important forum. Open to the public. If you’re reading these words, you’re invited.
It’ll be this Thursday, February 25th at Congregation Har HaShem (3950 Baseline). The panel, scheduled for 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., will be facilitated by Greg Harms, Executive Director of the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless. Panel members will be Joy Eckstine (Carriage House), Joe Pickett (St. Andrew Presbyterian Emergency Warming Center), and Jim Budd (Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow). After the panel there will be half an hour for Q&A.
For more information about attending or how you can listen to a recording of the forum afterwards (via KGNU or online), please visit Restoring the Soul’s informational Forums page.
And thank you for reading.