Here's what's happening in New Westminster for Homelessness Action Week

What’s happening?

The New Westminster Homelessness Coalition Society is hosting a variety of events during Homelessness Action Week, which runs from Oct. 12 to 18.

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“Homelessness Action Week is an annual week-long campaign held in over 20 communities in British Columbia, Canada,” said a press release. “The purpose of this week is to draw attention to homeless people’s needs locally and provide opportunities for the community to get involved in responding to homelessness.”

Details, please:

Homelessness Action Week kicks off on Saturday, Oct. 12 with a community walk. This family-friendly event runs from noon to 3 p.m., beginning at the Salvation Army at 325 Sixth St., going to Moody Park and back to the Salvation Army. A free lunch and hot chocolate will be provided.

Betina Wheeler, the society’s projects coordinator, said that when walkers get to Moody Park one of the trees will be yarn bombed, and more pieces will be added to the tree when the group arrives.

“It is all part of our partnership with the arts council and local knitting groups who are knitting and collecting warm items to give out to those in need during HAW,” she said in an email to the Record.

What else is happening?

The Union Gospel Mission, located at 658 Clarkson St., will once again be serving a free Thanksgiving lunch on Monday, Oct. 14, with the first sitting at noon and the second sitting at 2 p.m.

On Tuesday, Oct. 15, a free community breakfast at Holy Trinity Cathedral will be followed by the annual Connect morning, where folks can chat with local service providers, enjoy some live music, and get some warm clothing, a flu shot , blood pressure testing, etc. Breakfast is from 8 to 9 a.m. and Connect morning is from 9 a.m. to noon.

Is the City of New Westminster involved in Homelessness Action Week?

The New Westminster Museum is holding a community food security panel discussion on Wednesday, Oct. 16 from 7 to 8 p.m. at River Market. Coun. Nadine Nakagawa will moderate the panel discussion, which is being held to celebrate World Food Day – a day intended to spread awareness about world hunger and poverty and to inspire change. Free refreshments will be provided.

The city will also be making proclamations about Homelessness Action Week and World Food Day.

How can I support the homelessness coalition?

The theme of the New Westminster Homelessness Coalition’s 12th annual fundraiser is Transforming the Community to Inspire Action. It’s on Thursday, Oct. 17 at the Columbia Theatre, 530 Columbia St.

The fundraiser will include a buffet dinner, a performance by Quayside Voices, a 50/50 draw, a silent auction and MC Vanessa Woznow. Stephen D'Souza, executive director of the Homelessness Services Association of B.C., will speak to the issues communities are facing and the need to engage the community to come up with innovative solutions to address them.

Tickets are $75 and available at Eventbrite.ca (search for Transforming the Community to Inspire Action) or by contacting Betina at admin@nwhomeless.ca.

How can I learn more about homelessness?

New Westminster is closing out Homelessness Action Week 2019 with a free screening of US & THEM, a documentary on homelessness that chronicles the filmmaker’s experience befriending four chronically homeless individuals who ultimately change the course of her life. It’s taking place at Holy Trinity Cathedral (514 Carnarvon St.) beginning with free refreshments from Greens and Beans Deli being served at 6 p.m. and the screening of the film from 7 to 8:20 p.m., followed by a guided discussion until 8:50 p.m.

“At a time when we are in the midst of both a housing and opioid crisis, looking at homelessness and addiction through a compassionate lens has never been more relevant,” said the press release.

If you want a sneak peek of US & THEM, go to www.usandthemthefilm.ca. Register for free tickets through Eventbrite.ca (search for US AND THEM).

How can I help?

The Homelessness Coalition Society is still in need of some help for the fundraiser. Along with volunteers to help to help set up before the event and during the event, it also needs items for the silent auction and gift card roulette wheel.

Donations of warm clothing in good condition are also needed for Connect Day. If you have any items to donate, contact Holy Trinity Cathedral at 604-521-21511 or 514 Carnarvon St. (office is open Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.)

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