Tuesday, Nov. 15, civic and religious leaders will join with congregations throughout Portland and Multnomah County to observe the second annual Day of Homelessness Awareness.
The Day of Homelessness Awareness aims to spotlight the challenge of homelessness in our community, to show appreciation for the many ways the faith community is already involved in supporting homeless people, and to engage even more congregations and members in the effort to end homelessness.
Of the nearly 5,000 individuals identified as homeless by the 2011 Point-in-Time Homelessness Survey, 1,331 represented homeless families with children and 458 homeless youth. There are more than 500 congregations in Portland alone, and almost 1,000 in Multnomah County. The faith community provides and underwrites all of the emergency shelter capacity for families in Multnomah County, in addition to supporting and caring for those who experience homelessness.
The day will begin with a “Walk of Awareness” at 7 a.m. on Nov. 15 at St. Andre Bessette Roman Catholic Parish (formerly the Downtown Chapel), West Burnside and Sixth Avenue. The walk will proceed to the new 13 Salmon Family Day Center at First Unitarian Church, 1011 SW 13th Ave., for a light reception.
Stops along the way will include the new Bud Clark Commons and O’Bryant Square. Both stops have connections to the faith community’s involvement in homelessness. The Bud Clark Commons is home to Transition Projects. O’Bryant Square is the location of Potluck in the Park, a weekly meal provided free of charge that is strongly supported by congregations throughout Portland.
The walk will include three key “calls to action” for participants. The threefold call to action is structured around the theme of donate/volunteer/advocate. At three stops along the way, participants will be encouraged to donate coats and blankets or cash; volunteer with organizations that support people experiencing homelessness; and advocate on behalf of people experiencing poverty, hunger, and homelessness. Information on organizations and programs of advocacy at the local, state and national level will be provided.