On 25th February, 51 people joined our first network meeting from over 40 different homeless charities and projects across the Diocese. In the meeting we heard that one third of the UK’s rough sleepers are bedding down in the streets of the Diocese, for every one of these more than 16 households are living in temporary accommodation and many more are hidden homeless (staying with family and friends, sofa surfing, living in unsuitable housing such as squats or in ‘beds in shed’ situations).
Alongside the big three local charities, The Passage, Providence Row and the Cardinal Hume Centre there are at least 6 smaller registered charities and 60 parish based homeless projects in the Diocese, including 21 centres or drop ins, some providing daily meals and others befriending, giving advice or advocacy. It was wonderful to welcome some highly committed and generous folk, all keen to network, share and learn from each other.
At the meeting Robert White from Mayday Trust celebrated the strength based approach, upholding the dignity of all, that fits in so well with our Catholic Social Teaching values.
Also speakers from Housing Justice introduced their hosting programme; providing much needed support & temporary accommodation to those with no recourse to public funds. Feedback received after the event shows that there is high motivation to continue to meet to share best practice and innovations, to be involved in partnerships and collaborations, and to work together for systemic change.
Our next network meeting is on 27th May 2021 3:30pm – 5pm. Register here.