World Homeless Week runs from 8 to 15 October,
and includes World Homeless Day, which is marked every year on 10 October to draw attention to the needs of people experiencing homelessness.
10 October is also World Mental Health Day, and this shared date offers an important opportunity to talk about how these issues are related.
It has been our custom for some time to pass on the alms and collections taken during this week to St Mungo’s, the homeless charity and community housing organisation with which we have close links. Please give generously to this good cause, and please Gift Aid your donation if you are able, so we can claim a further 25% on top of your gift from the Government.
Our friends at St Mungo’s remind us that
“There is never a good time to be homeless but the cold winter months can be the worst of all. Staying dry and warm is a constant battle and these conditions can cause pneumonia and tuberculosis in rough sleepers. Winter nights are long and dark, which can be dangerous and isolating for rough sleepers – add to this hunger, fear and loneliness and it becomes clear why winter takes such a physical and mental toll.
St Mungo’s supports people all the way through their recovery journey, from first steps off the street through to training and employment.”
St Botolph’s own work with the homeless community in Bishopsgate includes the Homeless Hub, to which homeless people can come for assistance from a variety of concerned agencies. This continues to run every second Wednesday in the Church Hall, and has been successful in receiving funding from the Corporation of London which will ensure the good work it does for homeless people in the area can continue. A new initiative in partnership with a local hotel and livery company means we can provide nutritious packed lunches for those attending the Hub.
A Clinical Bus – the brainchild of former Pc Jason Foster who had been instrumental in setting up the Hub but now works with homeless people at Hackney Council – parks in Alderman’s Walk each Wednesday, staffed with a GP and nurses. Any homeless person can come to be seen, and can be registered without an address so they can receive prescriptions.