FULL HOUSE FOR HOUSING JUSTICE ROADSHOW
A full house of 80 delegates representing over 45 charities and organisations, including local authorities, joined the Housing Justice conference hosted by Caritas Diocese of Salford on Thursday 16th April. Housing Justice is the national voice of Christian action on housing and homelessness, speaking out and enabling practical church and community responses.
The Manchester Roadshow brought together people from churches, housing and homelessness organizations, and others from the voluntary and statutory sector. The aim of this ecumenical event was to encourage and motivate churches to be part of the housing solution in Manchester and to work in partnership with others.
Mark Wiggin, CEO Caritas Diocese of Salford welcomed delegates from the Greater Manchester housing and homelessness services; Rt. Rev John Arnold Bishop of Salford led the gathering in prayer and reflection on the Christian response to poverty and homelessness. Alison Gelder, CEO Housing Justice set out the national context and Amanda Croome, CEO The Booth centre and Chair of the Multi-Disciplinary Homelessness Form in Manchester set the local and regional needs and service gaps. Across the nation and in Greater Manchester, homelessness and lack of decent housing have a devastating impact on lives. The introduction of welfare benefit reform has made this situation worse for many families and single people. The information presented revealed a very difficult situation of raising needs an falling resources but a solidarity and determination of providers to work together to address the growing needs of people.
Workshops explored Faith in Affordable Housing: using surplus church, land and buildings for affordable homes; Night Shelters – the importance of night shelters for homeless people & how churches can get involved; Mentoring & Befriending – how supporting people in housing need changes lives and also a workshop on addressing the needs of homeless migrants with no recourse to public funds
There is significant housing need in all areas of the country and the Roadshow gave an excellent opportunity to share good practice and discuss how working together can bring real change to communities. Hopefully, a legacy form the Roadshow will be a strengthening of collaborative working between service providers and a more united voice on the issues of homelessness in the region.