Tag: Homelessness

Welcoming the Stranger – Birmingham Churches Winter Night Shelter 2013

January 19th 2013 saw churches open their doors to homeless people and offer a bed to those who need it. Building on last year’s pilot, this year 6 hosts churches; 4 Church of England churches and 2 Baptist churches, offered shelter and hospitality for 6 weeks in January and February. The project was a collaboration of so many churches, projects and individuals. It included over 300 volunteers from a range of churches and traditions staffing the shelter; providing food, sleeping overnight and generally making guests feel at home. Guests were referred to the shelter by SIFA Fireside and also by outreach teams from Reach Out Network and Grace Bible Fellowship, who, as well as referring rough sleepers into the shelter, also met them at the pickup point and chaperoned them to the venues helping them to settle in.  Transport was provided by church projects and Shencare Community Transport along with volunteer drivers for each night, and at each venue there was a volunteer coordinator who managed the shift and food rotas. To date the project has provided shelter to 31 guests, and offered a warm place to sleep during what has been, at times, a bitterly cold couple of months.  Wonderfully, during their time with us, some of our guests have been able to find work and accommodation, and we have also been able to work with Midland Heart Homeless Services team to help guests access any support available to them.  One of our guests who had been homeless for 4 years, with the support from an experienced volunteer, was helped to make a successful homeless application which resulted in him being given accommodation. Thank you to all those who have given their time, resources, prayer, money and support to make this project such a great success in providing shelter, hospitality, friendship and support to those who have used the shelter this winter. It has been such a blessing to many guests and volunteers alike. However in terms of tackling homelessness it is only really scratching the surface in helping to address the issues that are faced by those sleeping rough. There is a strong desire from The Birmingham Christian Homeless Forum, Housing Justice and Thrive Together Birmingham to engage and help to mobilise churches and Christians who are passionate and committed to supporting homeless people. We are trying to do this by developing this and other projects, and to work with other voluntary and statutory organisations to be part of addressing the needs of homeless people face. For more information about how you can support this and other homeless projects please contact e.neill@HousingJustice.org.uk  or info@thrivetogetherbham.org

Birmingham Churches Winter Night Shelter 2013

Following the success of last years pilot churches winter night shelter in Birmingham, church leaders, outreach workers and others met at the Faithful Neighbourhood Centre to discuss a churches night shelter for this winter.

Last winter Churches from across Birmingham came together to provide shelter and hospitality to homeless people in Birmingham. Using the ‘roving shelter’ model devised by the Christian charity Housing Justice, the Birmingham Churches Winter Night Shelter was hosted by 5 churches on different nights of the week and provided a hot meal, friendship and hospitality, a bed for the night and breakfast.
Guests were offered a place at the shelter through a referral system which was coordinated by St Martin’s in the Bullring Help Desk with support from Reach Out Network, a Christian outreach team who also provided transport for guests to get to the shelter. This project was a great example of the Body of Christ working together in Birmingham to help those who really need it. The volunteers who staffed the shelter came not only from the host churches but from a wide variety of denominations and church traditions.
Those who used the shelter were so grateful that churches were offering them food and a bed for the night, but were equally grateful that volunteers took time to get to know them and made them feel comfortable and welcome, one guest said “it was nice to be given time to talk, it’s very rare you can sit down for a proper meal when you’re homeless”.
This winter there are plans for a 4 – 6 week shelter to start mid-January, and church hosts, volunteers, resources, and funding are now being sought.  For a copy of the  Pilot Winter Shelter Report 2012_more information contact Thrive Together Birmingham at info@thrivetogetherbham.org or

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