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. Fairly regularly, I used to make him cups of tea and talk to him. I always… 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’ – rethinking 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’ – rethinking 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

Homelessness

Bridging the gap between churches and professionals: the complexity of compassion #3

There are now over 100 night shelter schemes in the country where groups of churches work together to provide accommodation - last year these schemes helped an estimated 3000 homeless people. Alongside this there are the many soup kitchens, drop in centres and huge amount of informal one-to-one support that many church communities provide. But… Continue reading Bridging the gap between churches and professionals: the complexity of compassion #3