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The Busy Catholic Blog — Staff Picks Jul 18, 2017

Judy Graves comes out of retirement to serve the homeless

By Agnieszka Krawczynski

Judy Graves talks with Carmelite sisters who also serve the poor in the Downtown Eastside during her retirement party in 2013. (BCC file photo)

Only a few years ago, I wrote a story about the retirement party for Judy Graves at Rosary Hall. Now the longtime advocate for the homeless has made headlines again by announcing that she will run for Vancouver City Council in October.

It's because the city is failing to meet the needs of the people on the streets, she said. The Vision Vancouver party "just seemed to lose interest in homelessness, in tenancy, in the population that exists in the city."

Graves, who worked for the City of Vancouver for decades, plans to run in the fall by-election with a party called OneCity. It appears this advocate for Vancouver's most vulnerable people isn't finished yet.

I guess I should have seen it coming. At her retirement party in 2013, Graves told friends and colleagues: "I have loved, loved, being able to do this work, and it will never end. It will take on different forms."

She added then that faith and reading the Bible gave her the strength to sit through city meetings and to walk along downtown streets at midnight. "I am completely inadequate. But I keep turning back to Scripture and I keep listening to people on the streets, and I keep doing what people have taught me to do when you are working in faith: move ahead a step at a time."

I look forward to finding out what else Graves has planned for her "retirement."