‘Government needs to see homelessness as a crisis… for a civilised society. Housing is a human right, and Government needs to be proactive, not reactive.’
Like many people who find themselves homeless after relationship breakdowns, Michael struggled to stay in temporary accommodation. Support from Manchester Methodist Central Hall helped him to find somewhere permanent and feel at home again.
He believes that churches should do more in response to homelessness. Michael highlighted Proverbs 19:17: ‘Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.’
One of the things that he asked for churches to do was to provide affordable homes themselves. That’s exactly what Ambleside Methodist Church does – see the Church of England’s case study here. Could your church do something similar?
Michael also called on churches and Government to work together in a closer way. That’s exactly what they’re doing where he is, in Manchester, where all the borough councils, the mayor, charities, social enterprises and faith communities are working together on their ‘A Bed Every Night’ scheme. Through collaboration, they’ve been more than the sum of their parts, supporting 3000 people so far and reduced rough sleeping by 37%.
Michael also believes that other things can be learnt from A Bed Every Night. This universal, unconditional offer of shelter has worked, and it should be extended – as it was during the COVID-19 lockdown – to ensure that no-one is left without a home. It also means that some groups which are currently excluded from provision – such as some asylum seekers and other migrants – would be helped more effectively.