Evangelicals Address Homelessness across Britain

The Evangelical Alliance UK has highly promoted the 30th January Homelessness Sunday. Through the occasion, the Evangelical Alliance would also like to draw people’s attention to this most pressing social problem in the UK.

This year theme "Homelessness hurts. Build homes, build lives" will focus on the impact of homelessness on children and young people. This is the 12th annual Homelessness Sunday; last year more than 2,000 churches and groups participated, holding special events and raising funds for local projects all over the UK.

In order to help churches examine the issue of homelessness, the Evangelical Alliance has produced a pack of facts and figure, including ideas for worship services and children's programmes.

According to the statistics, one fourth of the homeless are between 18 and 25 years old, and at least two-thirds of them cite family conflict as the cause of their homelessness, while 86 percent of homeless young people say they were thrown out of their homes.

In Britain, Housing Justice created from a merger of Churches' National Housing Coalition and Catholic Housing Aid Society, strives to put Christian vision in action. It believes that it must be possible to create a society in which every person has access to a home that truly meets their needs.

Meanwhile, Housing Justice and Scottish Churches Housing Action have joined with the Christian charity - Shelter - to gain a commitment from the government to end bad housing for the next generation of children.

The plan is to present thousands of signatures to Parliament while encouraging Christians to reach out to the vulnerable people around them. The goal is to tackle the root causes of Britain's housing crisis by campaigning for new laws, policies and solutions.

Currently the Church Army, part of the evangelical wing of the Church of England, is also calling for churches and agencies to make their contribution to bring love, justice and hope for the homeless.

The Church Army celebrates its success on its evangelistic project for homeless people throughout past decades. Marylebone project, since opening in 1996, has remained as one of the few schemes dedicated to helping homeless women in London.

Evangelism in this context remains a challenge, when the initial priorities focus on the provision of a safe refuge. Project Manager Edwin Bates comments, "We have developed exploring your faith and bible study groups as well as sessions on exploring theology through film which have been well received."

Church Army evangelist Steve Simmonds has been doing outreach dealing with young people who have drink, drugs and health problems in his Malt Cross project in Nottingham City Centre. He commented, "We have noticed that anti-social behaviour orders are being issued to a number of homeless people in Nottingham and it is important that as well as showing Christian compassion and love that we offer the practical support needed to deal with this additional threat that many face."