Courtesy Alyssa DavisSt. Rita parishioners in Northeast Portland knew many of their neighbors were homeless. The Catholic faith community held a listening session in which they could connect with the men and women — and families — living on the streets in their area. Some parishioners are volunteering for more outreach.
Courtesy Alyssa Davis
St. Rita parishioners in Northeast Portland knew many of their neighbors were homeless. The Catholic faith community held a listening session in which they could connect with the men and women — and families — living on the streets in their area. Some parishioners are volunteering for more outreach.
Parishioners from St. Rita Church in Northeast Portland held a town hall meeting Feb. 19 aimed at listening to the community’s homeless neighbors speak about homelessness in the Parkrose area.

For the last two months Harry Guildner and Lisa Porter from St. Rita worked with the Historic Parkrose Association and others to plan the event where homeless neighbors could have a voice in the city.

Parishioners wanted to involve those experiencing homelessness and the local faith community in the discussion about homelessness.

Attendees heard from a panel of speakers, including three from the homeless community, a local Portland police officer, a staff member from the Archdiocese of Portland, a member of St. Rita Parish and a member of the Historic Parkrose Association.

After presentations by the panelists on their experiences with homelessness and the issues surrounding homelessness, the audience was given time to ask questions.

Many in the large audience signed up to volunteer in their church to further reach out to homeless neighbors.
Participants were pleased to see the homeless community members being heard.

Some have asked the parish to organize another town hall to further explore the issues surrounding homelessness.