Opening doors to the homeless in cold weather

Photo by Simon Pizzey
(Photo by Simon Pizzey)

Churches and communities around Gloucester are working together to provide decent, secure shelter for homeless people during the cold weather.

An ongoing project, led by Gloucester City Mission (GCM, which is supported solely by churches and private supporters in Gloucester, and is working in partnership with Emmaus), is providing a winter shelter to take in rough sleepers each night through the coldest months.

Dave Kinghorn of GCM said, “We can be quite proud that there’s this resource, not all cities have this; we can be proud as a city and a community”. Opening church buildings themselves in colder months may seem a simpler option, but the church would need to be heated, provide a secure space, and trained staff to provide appropriate care for those most in need. Speaking for GCM, Mr Kinghorn went on to say, “Support like this needs to have a purpose, a vision and a structure to it. People need somewhere warm and safe when they have no other option; they need somewhere they can get a shower and a change of clothes”.

In providing trained staff, this project doesn’t purely address the short-term issue of shelter, but actively supports the long-term care of those most in need.

Since it has opened, the project has been sleeping on average twelve people per night. So far, working with statutory agencies the project has been able to help move eight individuals into supported accommodation and one person into longer term, more permanent accommodation.

The total cost for this project is £32,000, the costs are covered 50/50 by Gloucester City Mission and Emmaus. As there is currently a shortfall of around £8k (and with the weather getting much colder this week, increasing rent as the project expands), GCM and Emmaus are urgently seeking financial support to help with this project. Any surplus money will be set aside for this project next year, which will run from December 1st 2018 till the end of March 2019.

Based at the George Whitefield Centre on Great Western Road, the doors were opened at night on January 5th 2018, and will continue to be open at night until the end of March 2018. This is one of the practical ways that we can show Jesus’ love as part of church mission.

Get involved

GlosLive: Read more about the opening of the project here
Further information on homelessness (on this website)
Support Gloucester City Mission →
Support Emmaus →
See also: Gloucester Food Bank
See also: Cheltenham Food Bank


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