Adapted from a talk given to Just Love at Oxford University, 20/2/23 When I was a student in Hull in the early 1990s, I volunteered every week at a drop in centre for ‘homeless and rootless’ people called Dock House. It was organised through the student-run community action group, HUSSO, based in the Student Union… Continue reading What can students actually do about homelessness?
Reflecting God’s generous justice
I want to tell you about two inspiring people I have got to know over the last few years through my work. Pastor Alex in Tottenham The first is Alex Gyesi (pictured left), Pastor of Highway to Holiness, a Pentecostal church in Tottenham, North London. Back in 2009 the church was growing but Pastor Alex,… Continue reading Reflecting God’s generous justice
I was with a rough sleeping outreach worker this week in a coastal town in the south of England. It was about 1.00am in the morning and we went to an area where he knew someone was living in a tent. As we approached the tent with our torches illuminating the ground, I noticed the… Continue reading Detoxifying resentment
Hollywood homelessness & festive sentimentality
If you are involved with charity which helps people affected by homelessness, then you will be bracing yourself for the busiest time of the year. Whilst there remains huge challenges to reduce the numbers of people sleeping rough, the busyness of this season is not necessarily because the number of people coming to the services… Continue reading Hollywood homelessness & festive sentimentality
Faith which puts Hope into Action
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZSKiqr0iPk&t=48s I am excited to share that I have a new job. In January, I will be joining Hope into Action as their new Chief Executive. I have loved my work over the last 4 years, advising on how churches and faith groups respond to homelessness in the government’s Rough Sleeping Initiative. This period has seen… Continue reading Faith which puts Hope into Action
Farewell to Britain’s best public theologian
In the summer of 1997 I started a job with Centrepoint, the youth homelessness charity, as manager of a new hostel for young people in the City of London. One of the things I learnt on my first day was that it was going to be formally opened by the Queen. The official opening happened… Continue reading Farewell to Britain’s best public theologian
Rough sleeping & the inverse reality of social media
The plight of another human being sleeping rough is one of the most visceral and obvious expressions of poverty and social exclusion. The instinctive empathy it provokes makes rough sleeping a potent subject on social media. For example, a few years ago a video went viral which showed how Amazon Prime could be used to… Continue reading Rough sleeping & the inverse reality of social media
Homelessness: are we really helping?
A few years ago I was invited to speak at a conference in a church in the North East of England with the title: Homelessness: are we really helping? The organisers had read a paper I had written for a Housing Justice forum titled The practice of grace and truth with homeless people and wanted… Continue reading Homelessness: are we really helping?
Charity Detox: the difference between crisis situations and chronic problems
Two months ago, I read US activist Robert Lupton’s book Toxic Charity: how churches and charities harm those they help. I have just finished his follow up book Charity Detox: What charity would look like if we cared about results. Lupton acknowledges the controversy stirred by his previous book but his views are forged by… Continue reading Charity Detox: the difference between crisis situations and chronic problems
Lazarus: friendship, trust and joy coming back to life
This week I was invited to speak at an event hosted by Lazarus, a new initiative to support people affected by homelessness which is launching in London. Lazarus runs communities made up of formerly homeless people living alongside young professionals. Over 250 people live in their communities across Northern Europe and Mexico. It is yet… Continue reading Lazarus: friendship, trust and joy coming back to life