Social Work Faculty and Students Partner with Local Churches on Behalf of the Homeless

by APU Life

As the national homelessness rate increases, particularly in Los Angeles, APU’s Department of Social Work continually seeks ways to help alleviate suffering and provide innovative solutions. On February 20, 2016, the department—along with the San Gabriel Valley Consortium on Homelessness—cosponsored “Faith-based Solutions: Christians Partnering to Address Poverty and Homelessness,” which drew local leaders seeking to aid this population in need.

The event focused on educating the community about major shifts in L.A. County’s funding of homeless services, increasing collaboration among local nonprofit organizations, and sharing best practices among faith-based groups. The day began with a time of round-table discussion, which allowed for valuable networking and dialogue. Participants engaged in breakout groups featuring representatives from model faith-based programs, including Matt Rayburn, MPA, executive director of Family Promise of San Gabriel Valley; Jill Shook, editor of Making Housing Happen: Faith-based Affordable Housing Models (Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2010); Connie Brehm, Ph.D., FNP, RN, professor in the School of Nursing and founder of the Outreach Health Services for the Homeless; Imagine L.A.’s Jill Bauman, president and CEO; and Tara Ignont, outreach manager. These workshops inspired attendees with insights and innovative ways congregations can assist their homeless neighbors and help create housing solutions.

The planning committee involved the collaborative efforts of Rayburn; Pastor Rick McDonald of the Azusa Ministerial Association; Sandy Futter and Michelle Durfee of Project 29:11; and social work faculty members [Catherine Fisher, MSW, LCSW], assistant professor; Margaret Lee, MSW, assistant professor; and adjunct professor Anne Wrotniewski, MSW, who also works with Catholic Charities. The event drew more than 50 area leaders united in their goal to demonstrate Christ’s love and hope in tangible ways.

Originally published in the Spring '16 issue of APU Life. Download the PDF or view all issues.