​Christian organisations call for a comprehensive, long-term national strategy

Thousands of Christian communities across the UK today (Sunday 22nd January 2017) will be marking Homeless Sunday. This annual event in the churches calendar enables Christians to connect, challenge and commit to engaging  with those who are homeless in their own local community.

As part of this year's campaign, Action and Advocacy: a Christian response to homelessness is being published this morning. The statement, coordinated by Housing Justice and is signed by the Bishop of Rochester and National charities, comes as an attempt to unite the Christian homeless sector voice to both the church and to Government.

The aim of Action and Advocacy: a Christian response to homelessness is commit the church to better working with Government at national and local level to see a joined up response to homelessness.

The statement, whilst expressing it's 'absolute dismay' about homelessness at the local level, contains an acknowledgement that no one sector alone will be able to see homeless figures fall and offers a pledge from the churches to serve the needs of those sleeping rough or in temporary accommodation.

The statement also calls upon the churches to remain an independent voice holding local Government authorities to account in the treatment of those who are facing housing injustice.

Recognising the unique position of the churches, mainly through its high level of volunteers, the statement calls upon the Government to engage in regular meetin
gs with Housing Justice and other partners to see how a more proactive relationship can begin to emerge.

It calls upon the Government to develop and implement a comprehensive, long-term national strategy to end homelessness in England, starting by ensuring that every local authority has a strategy to address homelessness in their own locality.

Housing Justice, in partnership with the other signatories is calling upon local churches to adopt this statement as a sign of grass-roots support. Churches wishing to sign up can do so on the Housing Justice website; www.housingjustice.org.uk

Welcoming the publication of the statement, Housing Justice Chief Executive, Alison Gelder said:

"Born out of a symposium style event in Parliament in the Autumn, Action and Advocacy: a Christian response to homelessness is a call for the churches and the Government to seek strong relationships in the days, weeks and months ahead.

As the statement acknowledges the state of homelessness in England and Wales is an absolute tragedy and it is now time for a more cooperative strategy to developed, with input from and in active partnership with, the churches,

Publishing this statement this morning as churches mark Homeless Sunday and also in the same week in which, we hope, the Homelessness Reduction Bill will be debated for the third time, shows a  strong commitment from leading Christian homelessness organisations intentionally to unite to take part in addressing the challenges before us.

This is timely statement and I hope Government will sit up and take notice of the pledge of the churches. But also that the churches will recognise their calling to be part of the national conversation which now needs to take place."