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Responding to homelessness - changing lives for the better Alison Gelder.

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Presentation on theme: "Responding to homelessness - changing lives for the better Alison Gelder."— Presentation transcript:

1 Responding to homelessness - changing lives for the better Alison Gelder

2 Housing Justice  Giving voice to Christian concerns on homelessness and bad housing.  Homelessness Sunday / Poverty and Homelessness Action Week  Policy and campaigning  Practical support to churches + others involved in responding to homelessness  Other projects: Faith in Affordable Housing, Just Housing Account

3 Poverty and Homelessness Action Week 2009 Kirkbymoorside sponsored sleep out

4 Poverty and Homelessness Action Week 2009 – Voices from the edge

5 Who is homeless?  500(+) Rough sleepers  67,000 Households in Temporary Accommodation  400,000+ Hidden homeless people  1.77m Households on LA waiting lists  565,000 Overcrowded households  Migrants, asylum seekers & refugees  Travellers

6 Headline causes  7% financial problems  38% thrown out  19% relationship breakdown  (13% involving domestic abuse)  11% end of shorthold tenancy  Alienation – mental distress  Drugs, alcohol  Institutions e.g. care, prison, armed forces  Migration  Lack of affordable housing!

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8 Rough Sleeping  Only the most visible form of homelessness  Housing only part of the story  Whose problem?

9 Assistance when homeless Local Authority has legal duty to house applicant if can satisfy 5 tests: 1.Homeless 2.Eligible for assistance 3.Priority need – vulnerability 4.Not intentionally homeless e.g. evicted 5.Local connection

10 Not in priority need… Most single people not considered “in priority need” Voluntary sector provision 1.Hostels and other accommodation 2.Other support and services according to need 3.Day centres, drop ins, outreach Private sector e.g. private landlords Church responses

11 Rough Sleepers Strategy  New strategy (November 2008) “Communities ending rough sleeping: no one left out”  Supports coordinated local action  Partnerships  New emphasis on prevention – a strengthened safety net

12 Church responses  Called to serve people who are poor, disadvantaged, on the margins  Befriending and Hospitality  Church linked Projects  Advocacy, action, call to challenge injustice

13 Not unequivocal  NIMBYism  Hostels may not be welcome  Local opposition to affordable/social housing  Knotty issues e.g. begging  Role of the church vs. state?  Not always equipped to respond to complex needs

14 Conflicting agendas  Church mission v. local authority strategy  Tougher enforcement  Funding and Commissioning outcomes  Undocumented = unwelcome  Asylum seekers and refugees  Homeless new EU citizens e.g. Polish

15 ASLAN tea run

16 Critique of Church action 1.Uncoordinated action is ineffective, counter productive. 2.“Collusion” in unhealthy and anti- social lifestyles 3.Limited capacity to address real needs 4.No connectedness with other services 5.Proselytising

17 Housing Justice can help!  A forum and network for churches concerned about homelessness  Resources Newsletters, Events, Free e-news Forums for Winter Shelters and Soup Runs Training Advice and support to churches  Policy and campaigning role  Advocacy for the role of churches

18 Over to you  Be informed  Local context: housing, regeneration  Unmet needs? Who else is concerned or already doing things?  Limited resources, conflicting priorities  Possible to work together with other churches/faiths/groups?  Prayer  Change lives for the better!

19 Alison Gelder Chief Executive Contact info


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