Norfolk bishop praises work of night shelters
2009: A Norfolk
bishop has praised the work of church night shelters which saved more than 1,400 people from sleeping rough in London last winter alone.
At a conference, Responding to homelessness: the churches’ role, held in London on Thursday June 18, Housing Justice said that
- 1,400 people slept in 15 shelters in Greater London over the winter period.
- The shelters were run by more than 5,000 volunteers from church congregations and local communities.
- 250 bed spaces were provided every night
- If the church shelters were commissioned the overall cost would be at least £1m
Rt Reverend James Langstaff, Chair of Housing Justice and Bishop of Lynn, said: “You don’t have to be Christian to be on the side of the vulnerable, but if you are Christian you have no choice – it’s part of the person specification.
“We’ve been doing this kind of work in various guises for centuries and that will continue. Christians are motivated and inspired by a vision of love which is given unconditionally, and that means we cannot walk away.”
Michelle Binfield, Specialist Homelessness Advisor at Communities and Local Government Department, addressing the conference, said: “Churches and faith groups already work with great commitment to give a helping hand to vulnerable people and this is something to celebrate.
“The challenge for all of us today is this: How can churches play an effective part in a joined up strategy at the local level to end the need for people to sleep on the street for the long-term? The Government's rough sleeping strategy No One Left Out - communities ending rough sleeping signals our desire to work collaboratively with faith and church groups to enable this to happen.”
In Norfolk a number of Christian organizations work with homeless people including St Martin’s Housing Trust and YMCA Norfolk