Thursday, November 26, 2020
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National Housing Day – November 22

In 1998, the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee declared homelessness to be a national disaster by means of a “State of Emergency Declaration.” This formal statement was immediately endorsed by various individuals, community agencies, faith groups, labour unions and government entities.

The committee's campaign included the 1% solution which called on government agencies to invest 1% of their budget to building social housing. On November 22, 1998, the Big City Mayor’s Caucus passed a similar motion. National Housing Day honours that endorsement and serves as a reminder that Canada is still the only G8 country without a National Housing Strategy. The United Nations has also declared that housing is a human right

The poet, Robert Frost, writes about the emotional and psychological importance of housing in his poem The Death of the Hired Man. Silas, the aging, hired man has come to the farm of the couple, Warren and Mary, supposedly looking for work.  But Mary understands that he has actually come home to die. When Warren meets her observation with a cynical shrug, she responds:

“Yes, what else but home…? Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in. I should have called it something you somehow don’t have to deserve.”

Sadly, in many of our big cities, the street is for many the only home they have known for years.

Let us pray

Dear Lord, you and your parents were homeless at your birth. Yet you have made your home with us on earth and thus blessed each of us with divine dignity. Imbue us with your compassion and mercy to inspire us to find ways that all may have a safe home so that we may live on earth with the human dignity you gave us at and before our birth. Amen.

 Adapted from a prayer by the Evangelical Lutheran and Anglican Churches of Canada

Sister Theresa Rodgers


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