Poling Across Nebraska

We are completing the University of Dayton’s VLCFF course on Catholic Social Teaching. One of the courses objectives is to:

“Learn a process which will help participants assess a need of their communities, reflect on the root causes and Church’s social teaching of that issue, and be involved with both social outreach (charity) and social transformation (justice) by taking action.”

As her project one participant decided to learn more about and volunteer with an organization taking on homelessness in Chicago. She told us that Chicago has a 10-year plan to end homelessness. A PDF copy of the plan is here. I was surprised to learn that a city had a 10-year plan to end homelessness. The vision for the plan is:

In ten years, all individuals
and families facing
homelessness in Chicago will
have access to safe, decent,
affordable housing and the
resources and supports
needed to sustain it.

This is all an introduction to my reflections on Ron Snell’s latest efforts to raise money for the North Platte homeless shelter. Ron Snell, executive director of the North Platte homeless shelter is beginning a journey to pole paddle his homemade boat, the Plattepus I across the state of Nebraska. You can track Ron’s adventure here. Last summer Ron and Tammy walked 1,000 miles to raise awareness and funds for the shelter. Ron has the ability of keeping the issue of homelessness from fading into the shadows of our minds.

Following to outline we’ve studied in the VLCFF course I must ask, what are the root causes of homelessness in North Platte and what actions must I take to foster social transformation? The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness has a step-by-step guide for communities interested in creating a plan to end homelessness. The guide is available here.

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