Church Urban Fund calls on churches to stand against homelessness

Church Urban Fund is calling on churches and communities to take part in the Advent Sleepout Challenge to raise money for homeless and marginalised people.

Groups across England are being encouraged to give up a night's comfort to raise money to fund work with people experiencing homelessness through Church Urban Fund's Together programme.

CUFChurch Urban Fund is encouraging Christians to volunteer to support night shelters.

This winter, the Together programme will support night shelters in Manchester, Birmingham, Norfolk, and Mansfield. In Manchester alone, there will be more than 2,100 bed spaces provided in night shelters across nine churches and supported by nearly 19,000 volunteering hours.

The work taking place this winter is a result of funds raised through the Advent Sleepout Challenge last year. Funds raised this year will help to keep these winter night shelters open.

The Together programme (partnerships between CUF and local Church of England diocese) supports night shelters that welcome guests warmly, build their self-esteem and confidence, and support them in to work and permanent accommodation.

CUF executive director Canon Paul Hackwood said: 'The work of churches to support people experiencing homelessness and destitution is Christian ministry at its most profound. Whether this is through a Together programme supported night shelter or an Advent Sleepout Challenge, this work is at the very heart of the gospel.

'The number of people sleeping on the streets has risen every year since 2010. As a Church, we have a responsibility to stand with these people and bring an end to the national shame that is homelessness in our country.'