Believing in the Possible

Posted on March 15, 2018 under Storytelling with no comments yet

 

“Our house is a very, very, very fine house.”

Our House. Crosby, Stills and Nash

Most people in this part of the world expect to have a roof over their heads, food on the table and a means of supporting themselves. Most, but not all.  For the poor and the working poor, nothing can be taken for granted. Affordable housing in a university town is particularly challenging.

The Extension Department at St.F.X, in partnership with the Antigonish Affordable Housing Society (AAHS), is hosting a People’s School on Affordable Housing on March 24th at St.Ninian Place from 10-4 and you’re invited.

The Extension Department planted its roots in Antigonish 90 years ago. Throughout its long history, the Extension Department has focused on economic self-reliance and social well-being through adult education and collective action. It is no surprise to see them working in collaboration with AAHS to tackle the thorny issue of affordable housing. The Sisters of St. Martha have shared the journey with Extension from the beginning. These remarkable women have always demonstrated wisdom, generosity, vision, social justice and a “can do” attitude.

The purpose of the People’s School is to build awareness about the current state of affordable housing in Nova Scotia and to initiate a broader conversation about what communities can do collectively to make a real difference in the lives of people living on low incomes.

So, who all is invited? It is expected that people will come from all over the province to share knowledge and experience. This could include educators, researchers, community groups, service providers and people living on low incomes.

People’s Schools are not new. In 1943, the Diocese of Antigonish and St.F.X created CJFX. One of the station’s primary mandates was to broadcast Extension Department messages to the region. Back in 1954, one of the topics was the problem of outmigration. Here we are 64 years later having a similar discussion.

The Extension Department and AAHS want to hear from all the stakeholders in a discussion about affordable housing. Everyone attending the People’s School is welcome to share their expertise and their vision.  Organizers hope that by the end of the day, people will be inspired to take action and that it will stimulate further discussions.

The problem can’t be solved by a handful of dedicated volunteers. This is the responsibility of the broader community. Someone once said that you’re only as strong as your weakest link and there is little doubt that affordable housing is a weak link and must become a priority. From the very beginning, the Extension Department has been committed to fostering local leadership, sharing knowledge and building civil society.

Are you interested? Are you willing to share a day of your life that might help address this chronic problem in our town and in this region?

If you want to attend, you’ll want to register in advance as numbers are limited. Go to www.stfxextension.ca and click on “Events Registration.” Registration is free and lunch is provided.

Anything is possible. It starts with believing and finishes with action.

 

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