Monthly Archives: October 2019

Hooray!

Standard

The Dale community has had some really lovely moments recently. I want to share these, because in the midst of a hurting, mixed up world, we need to celebrate the good.

A few weeks ago, two community members had a misunderstanding that quickly escalated. The details aren’t important, but let’s just say that it wasn’t pretty, and one of the two community members was asked to take a couple of weeks off from Dale programming, to cool down. This past Monday was the first day that this friend was able to return, and things seemed to be going okay. Near the end of drop-in, Erinn caught my attention from across the room, and pointed toward the two folks who had been in such intense conflict a few weeks before. They were chatting, then hugging, then laughing. Amazing grace in action.

The day before, on Sunday, a dear friend made a big announcement: after 8 months on the street, she had found a room to rent, just a 15 minute walk away from Parkdale! The folks that typically gather for our Sunday service have been keenly aware of this friend’s journey of eviction and subsequent homelessness, so there was much rejoicing when they learned that she would be inside before the winter weather hit. Even though it is simply a room in a basement with shared facilities, in the current housing crisis this friend’s discovery truly feels miraculous.

Back to Monday: I was jogging along a Parkdale sidewalk, in search of a missing ingredient for our big lunch. I was stopped by a few friends who wanted to chat, and one who really wanted to show me something. “Look!” he said, “it’s my portrait! You know… because I’m always smiling!” I asked if I could take a picture, and share it with the wider Dale community (ie. you, dear reader!) So here’s Ronny, and his portrait. Hooray 🙂

73482687_998099737204075_8680084649872982016_n

A rare and beautiful house blessing

Standard

A few months ago, a dear Dale friend’s name finally came to the top of a waiting list for supportive, rent-geared-to-income housing. This was/is a huge deal, because these wait lists are incredibly long. Soon after moving in, our friend asked us to come and pray over her new home.

So, of course, we did! Meg, Pete, Erinn and I gathered in her living room, which was full of natural light from multiple bay windows. We received her offer of hospitality in the form of delicious cookies, and chatted for a while. Then we took turns praying blessing over her and her home.

This experience was wonderful, on many levels. It is always a privilege when we are welcomed into a friend’s space, whether it be a cramped room in a rooming house, a square of pavement outside, or a lovely apartment like this one. And it was encouraging to see a friend move from an unhealthy living situation to a much better one.

However, it is also heart-breaking and anger-inducing to know that this experience is all too rare, and takes far too many years to come to fruition for most people. It is beautiful and just and possible for people on the margins to be housed in a dignified and appropriately supportive manner. And it is not happening nearly quickly enough for the thousands of people who are waiting.

With an election around the corner, I hope against hope for real change in the affordable housing crisis. And I know that there are faith leaders in this city who are also meeting to discuss how to use their land/resources best to help provide more affordable housing. This is an issue that will take grassroots, organizational, and political will to address… and it is worth it.