Tackling Homelessness Together
I am delighted that we are launching the Diocese of London Homelessness Appeal in advance of our annual Lent Appeal for 2018. We’re doing this earlier than usual because the issue of homelessness is so obvious and apparent at this time of the year. Please help by considering this as part of your Advent and Christmas giving.
The level of homelessness across London is a scandal, and the contribution of churches and partner organisations is vital as statutory authorities struggle to cope. It’s wonderful to see the way in which this issue has been championed by local churches, and the many practical responses across the city and diocese.
In order to provide a focus for the Appeal and to highlight an area of work that multiple parishes are already involved with, we are focusing on the provision of winter night shelters. 15 organisations have been identified as partner charities. Of these charities, three provide shelter for those experiencing homelessness throughout the year; the other 12 assist our parishes to provide shelter for hundreds of homeless people throughout the coldest months of the year in every part of our diocese.
At a recent visit to one of these shelters, I was privileged to share a meal and learn more of the individual stories from those experiencing homelessness. I was also touched by the care and respect shown by the amazing team of volunteers as they served the guests with dignity and genuine humanity. It was a very practical sharing of the love of Jesus Christ, who knew what it was to have nowhere to lay his head (Matthew 8:20).
This year we hope to raise the profile of a Christian response to homelessness, and encourage churches to reflect on the human cost of being without a home. For many in our great city this is an immediate reality and the love of Christ calls us to respond to it.
As we seek to tackle homelessness together, my prayer is that our parishes, congregations and partner schools will be able to respond to this immense challenge by prayer, generous giving and, for those already supporting winter night shelters, by continued hands-on engagement for those in need.
Further information with links to the partner charities, posters and other resources will be available following the formal launch of the Homelessness Appeal by Bishop Pete on 27 November.