Diocesan press releases

Bishop urges church action on homelessness

The Bishop of St Asaph will urge Christians to respond urgently to the crisis of rising homelessness in our communities.

Giving the opening address at the first Housing Justice Cymru Roadshow in Wrexham, (Thursday 27 April)  Bishop Gregory Cameron will encourage churches and community groups to take positive action together to change the reality of homelessness for people.

His call follows recent Welsh Government figures which show Wrexham as having the second highest number of people sleeping rough in Wales, second only to Cardiff. A total of 67 people were recorded sleeping out over a two-week period in October 2016.

In response, Housing Justice Cymru, an ecumenical Christian based charity is bringing together churches, and secular groups to discuss how communities in north Wales can come together to form solutions to the issues facing those experiencing homelessness and in housing need.

Bishop GregoryIn his address at the Salvation Army Church and Ark Community Centre on Garden Road, Rhosddu, Bishop Gregory will say: “In today’s Wales we are increasingly likely to encounter real life homelessness in our visits to town centres, real individuals who have suffered the indignity of losing a place to call home, and whose lives are diminished as a result.

“We are often at a loss about what to do when confronted with individual situations, but we need to respond to this situation of growing urgency.

“Housing Justice Cymru deserves our support precisely because it allows Christians to take positive action together to change the situation, and to reflect that practical love commended to us by the Lord.”

Housing Justice Cymru has helped churches to deliver approximately 30 affordable homes in the last three years under a project designed to encourage churches and Christian groups to use surplus land they own to develop affordable housing. The organisation also provides training and set up support for a number of Church and Community Winter Night Shelters, which give shelter to people experiencing homelessness and gives support to destitute migrants.

Speaking ahead of the event, the Director of Housing Justice Cymru, Sharon Lee said: “Churches and faith groups are at the front line of voluntary engagement with people in housing need in Wales. Churches are providing practical support through emergency bedspaces and drop-in centres, and also through the release of land for new affordable rented homes.

“In North Wales the challenges are no less stark than in other parts of the nation and churches can and must be part of solution to homelessness. The event in Wrexham will look at what practical responses look like, from night shelters to building affordable housing.”

The House Justice Cymru roadshow takes place on Thursday 27 April at the Salvation Army Church and Ark Community Centre on Garden Road, Rhosddu, in Wrexham. It starts 9.30am and is open to all.  You can book a free ticket at housingjustice.org.uk/wrexham or calling by 020 3544 8094.