Homelessness Update

Call for churches to open their doors to those sleeping rough

Sleeping on the streets is rough so churches around the city are making plans to open their buildings to those sleeping rough this winter. It follows a city-wide partnership commitment to end the need for rough sleeping in the city. The Street Support partnership believes that ‘No-one deserves to live a life on the streets. We believe they deserve better.’

Paul Woodman from City Life Church, explained, ‘We are working hard to enable churches to open their buildings across the city, on rotation, over the worst of the winter. It’s not as easy as it sounds – our insurers have to be satisfied that people sleeping overnight are safe and that our buildings are ready to use for the many activities that are run during the day for pre-schools, foodbanks and older people. We’ll run a pilot this year to open our doors to people who are referred to us.’

Speaking from Above Bar, a city centre church, Paul Webber said, ‘We see people sleeping rough every day as we come into our church building. As people who follow the example of Jesus, who was a friend to the marginalised, our desire is to find a way to make sure no-one needs to sleep in a shop-front or car park this winter.’

The churches winter shelter will form part of a wider provision of beds to reduce rough sleeping in the city. Last year, over 30 organisations signed a Southampton Rough Sleeping and Begging Charter which said “Our vision is for Southampton to be a city where no one needs to sleep rough or beg. To achieve this, the Street Support partnership are inviting other businesses, organisations and faith communities to join with them in tackling the problem.

 

For more information:

www.streetsupport.net/southampton

Paul Woodman