Church Housing Trust launches booklet to support homeless
Three Christian homelessness organisations have been talking to churches about their work with homeless people and have responded to these discussions by creating an information booklet to support them.
With homelessness increasing, local churches and congregations have risen to the challenge of addressing the growing need. Church Housing Trust, with Housing Justice and Word on the Streets, have created the ‘How to Help Homeless People’ booklet which provides advice for clergy and laypeople on how to help homeless callers and what further action they might take, especially if they do not run any services themselves. It includes practical advice and a poster that can be filled in with local shelters, hotlines and other emergency contacts.
When asked if they had seen signs of homelessness increasing in their areas, churches that took part in the survey said they have noticed an increase in visible rough sleeping, followed by a higher number of people with no home of their own who were ‘sofa-surfing’, or staying with friends and family.
Most churches surveyed ran food banks, or provided hot meals, clothes, and shelter. They also understood that beyond these short-term responses, it is necessary to try and support each individual to get ongoing help, usually by referring them to statutory services.
Many church-based homelessness services run on teams of volunteers. On average, they are helping 28 people a week; most helped at least 18 homeless individuals per week. Nearly three quarters had the same homeless person visit at least once a week.