Friday, 10 February 2012

Action for Homelessness

On a cold and icy morning a depleted congregation gathered in the Victoria Room (as the heating in church was playing up again) for Sunday morning worship.

On a morning when many were glad to be able to stay warm and safe in their homes, those who were able to make it were reminded of the harsh realities for people who are homeless, and heard about the work being done by The Wallich in Wales.

Amy Lee, PR and events Co-ordinator at The Wallich, spoke to us of their work, which ranges from hostels for those in crisis, to intermediate supported housing projects and mediation work to settle disputes within families, or between tenant and landlord. The breakdown of relationships is the number one reason for homelessness, we heard.

Over recent years there has been an increase in homelessness amongst young people, and an increase amongst women. It is an obvious and visible problem in towns and cities, but rural homelessness, which remains more hidden, is of growing concern too.

One shocking example was given of a teenage homeless person who explained that when child benefit payments to her parents stopped when she turned 16, they could no longer afford to keep her at home!

These are tough times for the Wallich. The forthcoming changes to Housing Benefit will create a barrier that excludes many more people from living in a decent home. In this short video clip, Alison Gelder of Housing Justice explains the injustice of the Housing benefit barrier.

They are even tougher times, of course, for those without secure housing.

The Wallich was our chosen Advent charity this last year, and we were pleased to be able to hand to Amy a cheque for over £700.

As part of our ongoing concern to 'close the gap' between rich and poor, one practical thing you can do, is to subscribe to Church Action on Poverty's e- action mailing. It is a way of keeping up to date with the latest campaigns on poverty and of taking part by, for example, sending a message online to our MP. It is a good basis for informed prayer.
Take a look and sign up here.