Thursday, February 2, 2012

as cuts bite, volunteers of all faiths and not quietly into the ditch and staff of night shelters for homeless people in churches across the country

It's late on a cold Thursday night. The streets are deserted, even the kebab has become night. However, across the street, the windows of the great Victorian church are lit with colored lights. Inside, a decent dinner is in progress. The tables are arranged on top of the ship, where 20 people sit and eat the chili con carne empanadas. It's a surprisingly quiet dinner - perhaps because drinks orange juice and mineral water - but one of the guests, a young-looking man with a smart blue shirt that he saved my life

Holy Innocents is one of a group of 14 churches in the London Borough of Haringey to provide food and beds to sleep all winter local. Seven of the churches take turns hosting the ones listed by recognized organizations. Other contributions, food, clothing, bedding and funding

In all but seven of the 33 districts of London and in several towns and villages across the country, groups of the other churches are quietly sleeping, improvising between banks, the adaptation of church halls in homes and recruiting volunteers to cook dinner, chat with customers and take turns sleeping on a mattress under the same roof.

"The number of households is growing rapidly, although it is difficult to obtain exact figures, because the groups are local and the base are not known at the national level," said Paul Reilly, Charity Housing Justice, who wish to support the churches to establish their own regimes.

"Some are havens for many years, offering a high level of support in terms of work and assistance in case of" pass "a home. Others are new, they founded their organization and funding can just give the basics of housing, food, hospitality and attentive and friendly. "

Holy Innocents

to establish their regime three years ago and since then has provided food, beds and supportive housing for 195 homeless. In their first winter, 95% of those presented were assisted in permanent housing.

"We realized that there was nothing of this nature in Haringey," said Lia organizer Leonis. "The board told us that there were only eight people homeless shelter in the city, but our customers are looking for perfectly normal people so how could they say? "

The banality of the guests is alarming. Surveys dinner tables is impossible to say that those who are sleeping rough and volunteers. A woman, dragging a garbage bag full of goods to the groove of the partition where your mattress in a window, use a long, shiny earrings bought from a charity shop. The men, aged from 18 to 60, are well washed spruce with shirts and jeans. Churches provide clothing, toiletries and shower, and volunteers wash and dry contaminated clothing. It is a vital plank in the restoration of dignity and self-esteem in people who have lost hope.

Many of the guests taste the meat pies were recently fired, were unable to pay their rent and were found in the street. Mohammed, 38, lost his job and his rented room in early December, and the thought of his first night on the ice roads would kill him. "I found a piece of cardboard and lay down in it, but it was so cold that I could not feel my legs, so I ducked into a phone booth for an hour until I thought I would die cold, "she said. "And so I walked all night, until the metro opened and I sit inside."

He discovered the plan of night shelter on a Web site to a local library and has been coming every night since. He now works 12 hours a day, six days a week, washing in a chocolate factory and it is to save his salary for a deposit. Leonis called the owners are trying to find a room and you are sure it will be fixed in a new home before next week is out. "The shelter has been my savior," he said. "He encouraged me, gave me confidence, gave me faith in human nature."

A client was an alcoholic for 50 years, who came one night after having a row of flames of his own reflection in a window. He was thrown into a canal by a gang of teenagers, away from the city center for violent behavior and had come to the rectory and tried to pull down Hudd. It was introduced in the lobby of the church every night through all the winters, received advice and practical support, and has spent the last five years in the shelter of the house of the pastor. "I still drink occasionally, but he has a dog walking every day," says Hudd. "Without the shelter would have died."

a similar project in Wiltshire churches combined, the night shelter, Swindon, operates throughout the year, so do not turn no one away policy. "Very occasionally, we need to ban people for a couple of weeks, if their behavior is unacceptable," said organizer Becky Davison. "Customers are very protective of the house, so if someone comes and starts to be removed."

Two churches take turns hosting the sleepers and 12 provide donations and volunteers for the plan to provide back to work, rehabilitation and resettlement initiatives. "I do not sleep much when you're on a night shift in the morning," said Davison. "We believe that the guests were so tired that I go to bed, but most of them are very lonely and want to talk."
Vicar David Houlding has set up a free night of All Saints in the north-west London, because I wanted to do something to make a difference in the lives of people around the parish and would involve the congregation. "It really caught their imagination," he said. "They can do the shopping and cooking and washing and listening and really feel like they put their faith into action. It's become much more aware the outside world and brought a lot of prejudice and fear. "

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