Housing the Homeless

Introduction

Within the diocese many churches or their volunteers provide, enable or support the delivery of care for homeless people where they feel accepted, loved and valued. Some offer overnight accommodation during the winter via Night Shelters, involving partnership collaboration between denominational churches, local authority Housing Teams and Social Services, other service providers, Night Shelters and members of the public in order to support guests with different needs,  including addictions, mental health challenges and debt.  Churches also support homeless charities such as Latch, Caring Hands and those working with victims of Domestic Abuse offering whole-person and spiritual care. 

The most prominent provisions working with the Community Engagement Social Action Team (CESA) include:

  • our 5 Winter Night Shelters (NS) - each affiliated with Housing Justice - in Medway which also hosts a year-round Drop-in; Bromley; Bexley; Dartford; Tunbridge Wells.
  • Living Well Bromley at Holy Trinity Penge which is open all year and serves up to 200 people weekly.

Background to Housing the Homeless

  • CESA put out A Call To Alms in April:  Housing the Homeless united our homeless providers under one umbrella for the purpose of discussion. We formed a Homeless Discussion Group for leaders which has been supported and developed over the last 7 months and is a conduit for engagement with both local and national discussions:  Jon Kuhrt - Government Advisor on Rough Sleeping- and Dan Simpson from Archbishop Justin’s Building Communities Team have each attended. 
  • Three zoominars delivered in late June/early July raised diocesan awareness and enabled wider discussion exploring the potential role of the church and our homeless providers in the national developments. Here are the links to the recordings:
  1.  Homelessness: A Call to Alms Conference (30 June 2020)
  2.  Housing the homeless:  Hope into Action (13 July 2020)
  3.  Community Hubs:Supporting Our Communities Through Covid And Beyond.(15 July 2020)
  • CESA formed Homeless Action Groups in the six local Regions of our existing NS overnight provisions:  WKent; NKent with Gravesend;  EKent; Bromley; Bexley; and Medway.  After hosting the first two meetings, CESA cascaded group leadership to the NS leaders to continue exploring the way forward with them.  After research, meetings and discussions the HIA model was universally felt to be the best option.

Hope into Action

Hope into Action are an award-winning housing project enabling church partnerships to provide medium/long-term supported housing and whole-person care to homeless people in local communities.  Their approach has won numerous awards from both secular and Christian agencies, including support from Archbishop Justin and Housing Justice.  They have 6 years experience of franchising the model to replicate it across 20 towns. Their vision is to see ‘every church lovingly making a home for the homeless.’ They achieve this through their mission which is to mobilise, unite and unleash the latent christian resources of Finances, Love and Prayer.

  • In October four of the Homeless Action Groups passed the HIA Assessment Days.  We have attracted Investors to support the initiative and aim to start with one 3-bedroom house in Gillingham, supported by Medway Night Shelter and her associated Churches, Volunteers and LA, with Bromley and Tunbridge Wells following shortly afterwards.
  • Further information about Hope into Action can be found on their website:  www.hopeintoaction.org.uk/

Contacts and Further Information:

To join your local Homeless Action Group/find out more about their progress please contact:

Investors or Landlords please contact: 

Ed Walker: Ed.Walker@hopeintoaction.org.uk

For all other enquiries please contact:

Caroline Clarke, CESA Team Leader:caroline.clarke@rochester.anglican.org

T: 07585 101606
Twitter: @communitycaro




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