End Homelessness Now

End Homelessness Now

December 08, 2010 10:25 ET

Body Sculptures Help Vancouverites to See the Face of Homelessness

Today 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 am

Press Conference to follow (outside the Art Gallery at 9:45 am)

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Dec. 8, 2010) - People on their way to work in Vancouver will today at three spots in the City encounter stark, hollow forms of people who were once homeless. 

Three different body sculptures in familiar poses of homeless people, constructed and placed by communications agency DDB Canada, will help First United Church raise awareness that the devans@firstunited.ca deepest needs of those who are homeless is to be seen. "The need for belonging lies at the heart of homelessness," says Rev Ric Matthews, Executive Minister at First United Church, adding, "beyond the obvious requirement for housing and services, people are homeless because they do not fit, they have lost contact with self and others, and feel they have become invisible."

The event will leverage social media to widen the general impact. Facebook profiles (Jody, Steve and Gordon) will be used to share the true stories of the persons represented in the sculptures and a YouTube video will help show the events of the day and the reactions of passers-by. 

Rev Matthews explains: "Our society has shown great compassion and a genuine commitment to providing housing and services; hopefully these sculptures will prompt us to engage also in personal conversation and relationships. Together we can build a community that sees beyond the outer shape of the circumstance we call homelessness; one in which we engage personally with each other and get to know one another's names and stories."

First United is working in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside alongside many other organisations to address the issues related to homelessness. It is a community that includes residents of the Downtown Eastside and those from the wider society working side-by-side to build inclusive community and to address the practical needs of homeless people. First United Church (at Hastings & Gore) is 'home' to 350 people. The community values diversity and individual difference and is committed to stand with those who live on the margins of society.

WHEN: Wednesday, December 8th 2010 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 am
  Press Conference will take place outside the Art Gallery at 9:45 am
WHERE: 1) Outside the Art Gallery (West Georgia Street)
  2) On Granville and Georgia between Skytrain stations
  3) Waterfront Station (Main Terminal Cordova and Seymour)
WHY: Despite significant efforts to alleviate homelessness, the 2010 Vancouver's Homeless Count showed 1762 people who are physically homeless. To achieve sustainable change in these numbers we need to do more than meet basic needs. We have to address the core need for recognition, respect and belonging. First United would like to draw attention to this fundamental need.

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