Charity calls on faithful to back Homeless Sunday
Housing Justice, the national Christian homelessness charity, is urging churches to take part in Homeless Sunday, the annual chance to remember people experiencing homelessness. The new day will now take place on Sunday, 7th October.
The change in date reflects feedback from Church leaders and congregations and the growing number of churches involved in hosting Church and Community Night Shelter Projects. Most shelter projects tend to open towards the end of October and the new date offers a chance to mark the opening of the shelter season in prayer.
Homeless Sunday is now in its 25th year, with churches of all denominations uniting to show solidarity with those experiencing homelessness and encourage practical action on tackling homelessness. More than 200 churches have already signed up to take part in events across the country.
All forms of homelessness have increased since 2010, with rough sleeping in particularly rising sharply, and Christians and church communities have been at the frontline of the response.
During winter 2016/17 more people than ever before were forced to use the Housing Justice Church and Community Night Shelter Network. Its projects provided emergency accommodation to an estimated 6,000 people during 2016/17 – a record number as just two years ago this figure stood at 3,640 guests.
Similarly there were just 65 shelters operating across the Housing Justice network in 2013; today there are 107.
Homelessness has more than doubled since 2010, with 88,410 homeless households applying for assistance during 2016-17, and 105,240 families who were threatened with homelessness were helped to remain in their home by local authorities in the same period. Meanwhile, rough sleeping, the most conspicuous form of homelessness, has increased by 134 per cent since autumn 2010, with 4,134 rough sleepers counted and estimated on a single night in autumn 2016.
Housing Justice CEO, Kathy Mohan said: “Moving Homeless Sunday to October is a big decision but it’s one that we have taken in consultation with many Christians actively involved in responding to homelessness. We hope the new date will allow more communities to take part.
“This winter, we want Christians to redouble their efforts to give hope, hospitality and solidarity to the homeless. Homeless Sunday encourages churches to reflect on homelessness, to pray and to plan practical action.”
To get involved in Homeless Sunday and materials to support projects are available at www.housingjustice.org.uk/Event/homeless-sunday-2018
Picture: File photo from 2007 showing shoppers passing by a homeless man in York City centre. (Anna Gowthorpe/PA).Tags: charity, Christian, Church, community, faithful, Homeless Sunday, homelessness, Housing Justice, Kathy Mohan, Night Shelter Projects, October, prayer, shelter projects, shelter season, Sunday 7th October, winter