Part of my work here — actually, part of TRUU’s mission — is to reach out into the larger community. For me this has taken the form of involvement with a new interfaith clergy group, and learning more about the different cultures in the Roaring Fork Valley through reading, talking with people, and some connection with the Valley Settlement Project. More recently, I have been attending meetings of the new Carbondale Homeless Assistance group.
I am very impressed by the degree of commitment people here have to making this place a good one for all who live here, and also what an uphill battle this is. For instance, I learned recently from the local Catholic priest that the Catholic archdiocese has millions of dollars available for “low income housing” (for people making less than $55,000 a year!) in this valley, but the town of Basalt has so far turned down all proposals. Talking with a local homeless vet I learned about the shelters in Aspen and Glenwood Springs, but also that every town here has people living outside, even in the depths of this very cold and snowy winter, and neither Carbondale nor Basalt has any emergency shelter. There are many organizations working with and for the Latino community, but I learned from an organizer who has worked in the border towns of Texas and Arizona that the conditions of many of our immigrant trailers “makes the housing on the border seem palatial.” These are hard truths, but important ones,
I hope you will join me in an ongoing heartfelt and honest exploration of how, as a liberal religious community and as individuals we wish to respond to these difficult situations. On the 31st we will have our first Social Justice Fifth Sunday service, with speakers from the Valley Settlement Project. I will be part of the service, along with members of our Social Action Committee. I hope you can join us!