Homelessness

Homelessness Ends in Community – by Simon Dwight

Three of us stood uncomfortably close in a small, grey, social housing lift heading for the fourth floor. Two of us were holding open boxes of dried food and some pots and pans. The other, James, stood in the high visibility jacket I’d never seen him without, gently humming to himself.  This was a big… Continue reading Homelessness Ends in Community – by Simon Dwight

Homelessness

Pride, prejudice & organisational humility

When it comes to addressing homelessness and the issues surrounding it, partnerships and joint work between organisations is absolutely vital. This is because no one comes off the streets into accommodation through the work of just one agency. Successful progress is almost always a team effort involving a host of different agencies. It is their… Continue reading Pride, prejudice & organisational humility

Homelessness, Social action

A day in the life of one church’s response to homelessness

In the last year, churches and faith groups have played a vital role in the Everyone In initiative which saw over 40,000 people affected by homelessness go into emergency accommodation in hotels and B&Bs. They helped their guests from communal night shelters into single-room accommodation and then continued to support those guests with food, support… Continue reading A day in the life of one church’s response to homelessness

Homelessness

Homelessness is more than house-lessness: re-thinking kindness #3

Last year, I got to know a young man who was begging close to where I worked. He was a real character, never short on stories or quips for passers-by. He told people that he needed money for accommodation. I used to regularly make him cups of tea and talk to him. I always urged… Continue reading Homelessness is more than house-lessness: re-thinking kindness #3

Homelessness

Competition, duplication and saviour myths: re-thinking kindness #2

I was at a conference this week where the CEO of a homelessness charity said: ‘I was a corporate banker for a couple of years before I started working in homelessness. In my twenty years in this work, I think there is more competitiveness in the charity world than in banking.’ In the profit-making sector,… Continue reading Competition, duplication and saviour myths: re-thinking kindness #2

Homelessness

‘If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you’: re-thinking kindness #1

I saw these words on a wall of a centre for homeless people I visited this week. I think they display a realism and wisdom which is helpful for everyone seeking to help people in need. The centre helps people with some of the most complex issues imaginable. But I was struck by the perseverance and… Continue reading ‘If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you’: re-thinking kindness #1

Films & music, Homelessness

A little bit of hope can go a long way – review of ‘Hector’ (15)

Hector is a gritty and moving road-movie about a homeless man travelling from Scotland to London for Christmas. It is tough to watch in parts, but is also heart-warming and brilliantly acted. It avoids sentimentalising the characters or the subject matter. Peter Mullan’s acting is gentle and under-stated in the title-role.  As the film unfolds… Continue reading A little bit of hope can go a long way – review of ‘Hector’ (15)

Homelessness

Faith and homelessness: the further back you look, the further forward you can see…

Almost all homeless charities in the UK have their roots in the Church. Some are obvious, such as The Salvation Army, West London Mission, Cardinal Hume Centre, Providence Row, Emmaus, The Church Army and many others. Less people are aware that organisations like Shelter, the YMCA and Centrepoint were also established by church leaders and… Continue reading Faith and homelessness: the further back you look, the further forward you can see…

Homelessness

Faith in addressing homelessness: reflections on leaving WLM

This coming week is my last at the West London Mission (WLM) after 8½ years leading their work with people affected by homelessness, poverty and trauma. It has been a deeply rewarding job.  I have worked alongside many brilliant people and WLM has travelled a long way. In term of this blog, it has been… Continue reading Faith in addressing homelessness: reflections on leaving WLM