A Focus on the Common Good. Homelessness and the Need for Systemic Change.
That was the name of the conference sponsored by the Vincentian Center for Church and Society at St. John’s University this morning. The event is the biennial Vincentian Chair for Social Justice Conference.
Host and Center Executive Director Patrick J. Griffin, C.M., got us moving with a welcome by Executive Vice-President for Mission Bernard M. Tracey, C.M. and a moment for prayer. The morning presented the challenging words of homeless advocates Lee Stringer, Rosanne Haggerty and Jim White, as they explored the personal, structural and theological dimensions of the landscape of street homelessness and their approaches to engaging the situation and their work for the common good.
People move towards the positive…. The process of helping people is, “slightly different than making the world look like you think it should.” (Lee Stringer)
Adding to the scope of the event, students of Associate Professor of Theology and Religious Studies Meghan J. Clark prepared posters which shared data on homelessness in the greater New York area and other parts of the world, while students of Associate Professor William A Morel of the Department of Fine Arts mounted a startling exhibit of photographs of people who are homeless.
In the coming days, both the posters and the photographs will be on display at St. Thomas More Church on the campus. Publication/video of the event will be released in a timely fashion.
Interestingly — from very different experiences — speakers, student researchers and artists converged on the necessity of meeting each homeless person as an individual — presenting theological, human, artistic, analytic, and strategic reasons for doing so. A lively panel with questions and answers concluded the event.
The Vincentian Center suggests the following resources:
- Reflections from the Road: Vincentian Hospitality Principles in Healthcare Education for the Indigent
- Project Renewal
- Pharmacy Today – Driven to help homeless patients
- 50 Years of Project Renewal: A Conversation with Betty Kierna
- Bergen County Ends Chronic Homelessness; First in USA
- “On the Map: The Dynamics of Family Homelessness in New York City 2017”. This is a study performed by the Institute for Children, Poverty & Homelessness (ICPH)
- “On the Map: The Atlas of Student Homelessness in New York City 2017”. This is a study performed by the Institute for Children, Poverty & Homelessness (ICPH)
- Community Solutions
- Covenant House
- Grand Central Winter: Stories from the Street by Lee Stringer
For more information, contact them at vincenter.org