December
07
2018
Author
Jennie Pollock
Know, pray, act: homelessness

The third in our series of postcard-sized introductions to key issues of poverty in the UK is on homelessness.

As I write, the rain is pouring down, and I know it was another miserable night last night. It's never a good time to be homeless, but December is a time when it perhaps hits hardest, and when we feel more-than-usually compassionate. 

So what do we need to know, and how can we respond?

HOMELESSNESS

Know.
- There were 4,751 rough sleepers in England in 2017. (Sleeping on the streets, in parks, bus shelters, cars, sheds etc.)
- Rough sleeping went up 15% in 2017 - the 7th year in a row it has increased.
- Homelessness is about more than rough sleeping. 280,000 people live in hostels, temporary housing, B&Bs, homes without heating etc.

Pray.
- For rough sleepers - pray for their safety and health. Pray they find help and hope.
- For government to take effective action to reach its target of no one sleeping rough by 2027.
- For charities and churches that run night shelters, soup kitchens, homes etc.

Act.
- When you pass a homeless person on the streets, find out their name and story. Offer to buy them a coffee or a sandwich.
- Donate clothes, food, money or sanitary items to local charities helping the homeless.
- Volunteer at a night shelter or a soup kitchen.

Extra! Extra!
For a more in-depth look at the issue of housing and homelessness, and some ideas of what churches can do to make a difference, listen to Ed Walker's seminar from our recent Churches that Change Communities conference. 

Check out the 'Housing' page in our 'Issues' section for more information and articles.