Imagine 95 people in a room buzzing with questions, some of them full of passion, some overwhelmed by the scope of the problem, and even some hopeless about solutions, but ALL wanting to hear the best approaches and to see WHAT COULD BE DONE. The subject? How institutions of faith could bring their unique assets to the fight to end homelessness through a training called Sacred Streets. Representatives of 36 diverse, congregations and faith-based organizations gathered on Sept 18 at a local church to hear about how they could use the assets of their institutions to address homelessness in their vicinities. We could feel the hope in the room rising as each expert shared – from Housing, the Rescue Mission, the Poverello House, WestCare and Law Enforcement — equipping people of faith with perspectives, skills and access to resources that will help them as each work to create effective strategies for their part of the city. And by the end, the questions were coming fast.
The FPU Center for Community Transformation (CCT) is the convener of the Fresno Mayor’s Faith Based Partnership Cabinet, and with the Cabinet, has coordinated the creation of Sacred Streets, a congregational tool to address homelessness. Sacred Streets is a unique, four step process that any faith institution can go through to prepare a strategy to reach out to the homeless on the streets near their institutions. Participants received ways to approach the homeless effectively in a manner that really helps, ways to protect and be good stewards of their property, ways to assess what might be their congregation’s best approach, and a chance to ask experts their hardest questions. Another Sacred Streets will be held in early 2020. For more information contact Jeanette at 559.453.2367.