Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 2, 2007
Christmas collection helps women's training, housing program
Special to the WCR
Organizers of the No Room in the Inn campaign are thrilled with the Christian community's response to this year's annual appeal.
"We've raised over $45,000 in this year's campaign alone. That marks a new record for us in terms of a single appeal campaign to the Christian community," said Julien Hammond, representative of the Edmonton and District Council of Churches and a member of the No Room in the Inn organizing committee.
No Room in the Inn appeals to the Christian churches of the Edmonton area to share at least part of their Christmas Eve offerings with some of the thousands of people in the city who do not have adequate, affordable and safe housing.
These offerings are given each year to an organization engaged in the building of social housing for low-income and or handicapped persons in Edmonton.
The idea for the campaign arose from a forum on poverty sponsored by the Edmonton and District Council of Churches in 1999.
"A proposal was made that the need for housing could be partly addressed if all of the member congregations pooled their Christmas Eve offerings and put that money toward a single affordable housing project," said the Rev. Don Mayne, a founding member of No Room in the Inn.
The Social Justice Commission of the Edmonton Archdiocese, together with the Quality of Life Commission and the Edmonton and District Council of Churches, formed the committee.
Since 1999 about $250,000 has been raised through the No Room in the Inn campaign to support eight separate housing projects.
This year's campaign went to support the Women Building Futures Society, an agency dedicated to training low-income women for employment in various trades.
Through a 16-week training program, Women Building Futures provides pre-trades training, employment support and mentorship, helping women build strong lives and achieve economic independence. Ninety per cent of the graduates have been successful in finding and keeping work in the trades; 60 per cent of applicants are of Aboriginal descent.
In December 2005, Women Building Futures bought a three-storey warehouse at 10326-107 St. to house its training program. In October 2006, it began an ambitious renovation plan to expand the building to five storeys, including several units of affordable housing for present and future students.
Forty-two housing units are being built to accommodate women and their families, in addition to classrooms and trades workshops. Construction is expected to be completed early in 2008.