Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 4, 2000
Church asked to help provide homeless shelter
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
This year's No Room In the Inn campaign is asking the churches of Edmonton and area to share their Christmas Eve collection with Urban Manor, an inner-city residence for men with physical and social problems.
The current facility is too expensive to renovate so a new residence will be built for the men on 104th Avenue between 95th and 96th Street.
Last year the campaign raised $38,000 for the Edmonton Inner City Housing Society. The money was used to help buy land for a new inner city apartment for single persons.
Representatives of the Quality of Life Commission, the Edmonton District Council of Churches and the Social Justice Commission launched the campaign at Urban Manor Nov. 29.
The No Room in the Inn campaign was inspired by the hours leading to up to the birth of Jesus 2,000 years ago when Mary and Joseph could find no proper lodging in Bethlehem.
"This shows there has been a housing problem for 2,000 years," said Rev. Don Mayne of the Quality of Life Commission.
Urban Manor houses homeless men who often suffer from chronic alcohol addictions and mental illness. About one-third of the 62 residents are aboriginal and most are permanent residents. With a 100 per cent occupancy rate, the facility regularly has to turn people away.
Facility director Susan Irvine said the current building is not well maintained and cannot be cost-effectively renovated. Lack of ventilation and deficiencies in fire safety, plumbing and elevator service make the building unsafe, unhealthy and totally inadequate, she said.
The Urban Manor Society is planning to build a new residence for 75 men at a cost of more than $2 million. The federal government has already committed $1.6 million to the project but the remainder has to be fundraised.
"If all goes well and there are no glitches, there is potential for construction to start in the spring," Irvine said.
"We feel that men who suffer with mental illness, alcoholism and addictions need a safe place to live," said Quality of Life Commission member Marilyn McClung.
John Lynch of the Social Justice Commission said his group feels "very privileged and humbled to be able to sponsor the No Room In the Inn because Jesus from the moment of his birth to the hour of his death showed a very deep compassion for the homeless and the poor."
Lynch challenged people who have received an energy tax refund from the Alberta government to endorse it to Urban Manor "to help what Jesus started over 2,000 years ago, and that's a compassion for the homeless."
Individual donations may be sent directly to Urban Manor at 9518-102A Ave., Edmonton, T5H 0G1. For further information call 466-2757.