On Thursday, June 24, Neighborhood Partnerships staff attended the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon‘s Interfaith Summit on Homeless Children, Youth, and Families. Over 200 people from across Oregon also attended, including many from the faith community, non-profits, and government.
After an opening interfaith devotional the first panel on Childhood, Youth, and Family Homelessness in Oregon began. Members of this panel gave participants background on the current state of homelessness in Oregon and some of the efforts underway to help those in need. After a short break, the group moved right into an overview of the four small group topics for the afternoon. They included: Shelter and Services; Preventing, Reducing, and Ending Family Homelessness; Education of Homeless Children; and Homeless and Runaway Youth.
The group moved outside to enjoy the sunny weather and hold a walking vigil late morning. We heard a bit about the history of churches marching for social justice. Over lunch keynote speaker Barbara Duffield of the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth spoke about why it’s so critical to ensure homeless children have access to education.
Afternoon breakout groups filled the afternoon, with Neighborhood Partnership’s Executive Director Janet Byrd helping to lead the panel on Preventing, Reducing, and Ending Family Homelessness. We talked in our session about the various responses to homelessness, how to contact the folks in your community working on 10 Year Plans, and how churches can and are playing important roles in this effort.
The day ended with a call to action and a discussion about next steps. Neighborhood Partnerships is excited to meet so many folks from across the state who are interested in and committed to ending homelessness in Oregon. We’re looking forward to taking the next steps with our faith-based partners!