Happy New Year to all
First off, thanks to all those who have donated over Christmas, in money or in gifts. We have had a fantastic response, which means we can’t accept any more chocolate or sweets for a while and we have plenty of clothes for the time being. However we still need your help by signing up to the Big Sleepout on 27th January!
This is because Hope is going to continue to be busy in 2017. Not because some people don’t move on from homelessness and get jobs; but because some people still need ongoing support after they have got somewhere to live and got a job, but also because there are always new people who become homeless. That number is sadly growing fast.
If you follow our social media you will see examples from the national press or BBC of what the new landscape of homelessness looks like. Some people – hopefully not readers of this blog – perhaps still think the people we see are all lazy scroungers who lay around all day drinking for fun on benefits. In practice they are likely to be people who have one, sometimes two jobs. They work all the hours they can get, but are still homeless. This is because they earn so little, with the continuing pressure of low wages, yet housing costs keep going up and affordable housing non-existent. People are simply being priced out of housing.
It’s worse of course further south, especially in London, but there are signs of it happening here too. If things don’t change, more and more people who work hard, will be homeless. We shared a story the BBC ran about a lady who worked as a school caretaker in London whose landlord raised the rent and who was told by letting agents she need to earn £38000 to get anything near where she worked. This raised a great deal of awareness about the reality of modern housing need. The situation will only get worse for young people.
Hope does it’s bit, and we can only do so with the combined efforts of all of you, supporting what we do, but what this needs is some sort of policy response at Governmental level – and its one parties of all colours have ducked for years. We hope that in 2017, with your support, we will continue to alleviate poverty and hardship with new initiatives to share and distribute food – more on that later in the year – but please also ask your MP or Councillor what they will do in 2017 to address the causes of homelessness!
“When I feed the poor, they call me a saint, but when I ask why the poor are hungry, they call me a communist” ― Dom Helder Camara, Former Archbishop of Recife in Brazil
“An essential clue to the understanding of poverty in liberation theology is the distinction…..between three meanings of the term “poverty”: real poverty as an evil—that is something that God does not want; spiritual poverty, in the sense of a readiness to do God’s will; and solidarity with the poor, along with protest against the conditions under which they suffer.”― Gustavo Gutiérrez, ‘A Theology of Liberation’