Southend churches open their doors to the homeless

Echo: Shoebury Baptist Church, Delaware Road, Shoebury. Gillian Linzey, Joanna Jarvis, Louise Merrets and Hazel Read - kitchen volunteers. The church is one of seven in the town offering shelter for the homeless overnight, seven nights a week. Shoebury Baptist Church, Delaware Road, Shoebury. Gillian Linzey, Joanna Jarvis, Louise Merrets and Hazel Read - kitchen volunteers. The church is one of seven in the town offering shelter for the homeless overnight, seven nights a week.

CHURCHES have opened their doors to the homeless this winter.

Seven churches in Southend have got together to open every night of the week to make sure no one is left out in the cold.

Volunteers open up at 7.30pm, providing a hot meal, companionship, somewhere to sleep and breakfast John Simmons co-ordinator for the winter night shelter project, which has been organised by the Love Southend group of churches, said Southend Council had they decided to help following a request by Southend Council.

The council has a statutory obligation to provide shelter for rough sleepers when the temperature drops below freezing for three consecutive nights.

Mr Simmons said: “Southend Council approached us last year to help with their emergency shelter protocol but we said that would be very awkward to do. We wouldn’t be able to open at a moment’s notice like that so we said we would open every night.

“It was at quite short notice though so we only managed to get three churches to take part.

“This year we have seven churches involved in providing overnight accommodation during the coldest months.”

Mr Simmons who organises a night shelter at Westcliff Free Church in London Road, said the project was also being run in conjunction with the Homeless Action Resource Project (Harp).

He said: “People are referred to us by the Harp. They only send us people who are assessed to be low risk. People who won’t threaten us with violence or who aren’t drugged or drunk.”

Gary Turner, service manager at Harp in Valkyrie Road, Westcliff said: “This provides another option for us when our night shelter is full or when the weather is particularly cold. People who come to our day centre are referred to whichever church is operating on that day.

“We manage the numbers and the risk in conjunction with the night shelters so hopefully no one will be sleeping rough or dying of cold.”

Phill Warren, Southend Council’s housing needs manager, said funding had been provided to co-ordinate the scheme and to provide sleeping bags and roll mats.

He said: “ The council has strong working partnerships with the Love Southend faith group and Harp.

“These partnerships have resulted in winter night shelters being provided in churches across the borough from the start of November to the end of February.

“This arrangement ensures that nobody has to sleep rough in Southend during the coldest months of the year.”

Mr Warren added: “It goes above and beyond normal best practice, where winter night shelter provision doesn’t normally start until the beginning of December.

“However, our provision operates every night during this four-month period regardless of how cold it is, ensuring people can access food, shelter and companionship.”

*HOMELESS people are grateful for the work of the charities.

Marie, 30, who came to Southend from Basildon to escape her violent partner said, “When you are homeless you have to make a choice each day, do you concentrate on finding somewhere to live, or something to eat. This service takes that pressure away so I know every night there will be somewhere I can eat and sleep so I can concentrate on finding somewhere to live during the day.”

In the kitchen, head chef Hazel Read cooked 30 meals for the visitors and the volunteers, “I opted for a meat pie, gravy, peas and roast potatoes followed by fruit crumble and custard. I tried it out on my granddaughter the night before and she said it was just like school dinners!”

Tony Poulter, 25, who has been homeless for many years, appreciated the meal, “It’s great to come somewhere where people really care. Harp connected all of us with this scheme. I have been clean of drugs since August 2011 and that in itself is stressful, but with the right help and advice I know I can change my life now. I want to have kids, and join a gym, and work in the fitness industry.”

 

Comments (20)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

9:13am Mon 12 Nov 12

reptile says...

It's a great idea as long as they are helping Southend's homeless and not drawing in the rest of the countries homeless.
It's a great idea as long as they are helping Southend's homeless and not drawing in the rest of the countries homeless. reptile
  • Score: 4

9:37am Mon 12 Nov 12

Olivia2847 says...

Just waiting for the knockers to start ......
Just waiting for the knockers to start ...... Olivia2847
  • Score: 3

9:51am Mon 12 Nov 12

Nebs says...

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish and you feed him for life.
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish and you feed him for life. Nebs
  • Score: 4

10:02am Mon 12 Nov 12

Soouthchurch59 says...

The only surprise is that it hasn't been thought of before. Buildings like these (all over the country) lay redundant for 95% of the time - whilst people on the street are freezing/starving to death.
The only surprise is that it hasn't been thought of before. Buildings like these (all over the country) lay redundant for 95% of the time - whilst people on the street are freezing/starving to death. Soouthchurch59
  • Score: 3

10:18am Mon 12 Nov 12

Olivia2847 says...

Soouthchurch59 wrote:
The only surprise is that it hasn't been thought of before. Buildings like these (all over the country) lay redundant for 95% of the time - whilst people on the street are freezing/starving to death.
Soouthchurch59 - I am not a Devil dodger but you are totally out of touch .....
[quote][p][bold]Soouthchurch59[/bold] wrote: The only surprise is that it hasn't been thought of before. Buildings like these (all over the country) lay redundant for 95% of the time - whilst people on the street are freezing/starving to death.[/p][/quote]Soouthchurch59 - I am not a Devil dodger but you are totally out of touch ..... Olivia2847
  • Score: 2

10:30am Mon 12 Nov 12

thesouthendone says...

I can't help but wonder will the cat woman of Aldi be making an appearance!?
I can't help but wonder will the cat woman of Aldi be making an appearance!? thesouthendone
  • Score: 1

11:04am Mon 12 Nov 12

Soouthchurch59 says...

Olivia2847 wrote:
Soouthchurch59 wrote:
The only surprise is that it hasn't been thought of before. Buildings like these (all over the country) lay redundant for 95% of the time - whilst people on the street are freezing/starving to death.
Soouthchurch59 - I am not a Devil dodger but you are totally out of touch .....
Out of touch? You must be confusing me with someone else....!

What's hard to understand about the fact that 'the church' does little (in real terms) to address the issue of
homelessness....whil
st being in possession of enough 'shelter' to accommodate *all* those that need it?
[quote][p][bold]Olivia2847[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Soouthchurch59[/bold] wrote: The only surprise is that it hasn't been thought of before. Buildings like these (all over the country) lay redundant for 95% of the time - whilst people on the street are freezing/starving to death.[/p][/quote]Soouthchurch59 - I am not a Devil dodger but you are totally out of touch .....[/p][/quote]Out of touch? You must be confusing me with someone else....! What's hard to understand about the fact that 'the church' does little (in real terms) to address the issue of homelessness....whil st being in possession of enough 'shelter' to accommodate *all* those that need it? Soouthchurch59
  • Score: 1

11:05am Mon 12 Nov 12

SUFC1906 says...

So will these churches be open from April 2013 to help deal with the effects of the forthcoming Government bedroom tax in the rented sector & consequent results of elderly or unemployed tenants being evicted from council or private rented properties when they can't pay the 14% or 25% extra rent required as a result of that change?
So will these churches be open from April 2013 to help deal with the effects of the forthcoming Government bedroom tax in the rented sector & consequent results of elderly or unemployed tenants being evicted from council or private rented properties when they can't pay the 14% or 25% extra rent required as a result of that change? SUFC1906
  • Score: 0

11:28am Mon 12 Nov 12

Nebs says...

SUFC1906 wrote:
So will these churches be open from April 2013 to help deal with the effects of the forthcoming Government bedroom tax in the rented sector & consequent results of elderly or unemployed tenants being evicted from council or private rented properties when they can't pay the 14% or 25% extra rent required as a result of that change?
Simple solution to solve both problems. Make those tenants take in a homeless lodger. The unused bedrooms are used, the homeless have a roof over their head.
[quote][p][bold]SUFC1906[/bold] wrote: So will these churches be open from April 2013 to help deal with the effects of the forthcoming Government bedroom tax in the rented sector & consequent results of elderly or unemployed tenants being evicted from council or private rented properties when they can't pay the 14% or 25% extra rent required as a result of that change?[/p][/quote]Simple solution to solve both problems. Make those tenants take in a homeless lodger. The unused bedrooms are used, the homeless have a roof over their head. Nebs
  • Score: 2

12:12pm Mon 12 Nov 12

SUFC1906 says...

Most tenancies prohibit tenants from receiving income from lodgers as only the council or social/private landlord can receive rental income. Exception is MP's who can do what they like & claim their rent on 2nd or 3rd homes back on expenses. The affected bedroom tax tenants would also have a further percentage disallowed anyway, as rental income from a lodger reduces the council benefit liability calculation but not the bedroom tax extra tenant rent liability. A lot of people with extra rooms had family who moved on or died or otherwise broke up. Many entered tenancy agreements years before the Tories brought out the rule changes & could not have predicted the effects. Expect the bedroom tax to unravel after April with increased evictions likely.
Most tenancies prohibit tenants from receiving income from lodgers as only the council or social/private landlord can receive rental income. Exception is MP's who can do what they like & claim their rent on 2nd or 3rd homes back on expenses. The affected bedroom tax tenants would also have a further percentage disallowed anyway, as rental income from a lodger reduces the council benefit liability calculation but not the bedroom tax extra tenant rent liability. A lot of people with extra rooms had family who moved on or died or otherwise broke up. Many entered tenancy agreements years before the Tories brought out the rule changes & could not have predicted the effects. Expect the bedroom tax to unravel after April with increased evictions likely. SUFC1906
  • Score: 2

12:20pm Mon 12 Nov 12

lawbreaker says...

Sleeping in a church? Thats when you know youve failed in life.
Sleeping in a church? Thats when you know youve failed in life. lawbreaker
  • Score: -2

12:51pm Mon 12 Nov 12

Nebs says...

lawbreaker wrote:
Sleeping in a church? Thats when you know youve failed in life.
I don't think I have failed in life, but some of our Vicars sermons......
[quote][p][bold]lawbreaker[/bold] wrote: Sleeping in a church? Thats when you know youve failed in life.[/p][/quote]I don't think I have failed in life, but some of our Vicars sermons...... Nebs
  • Score: 1

1:10pm Mon 12 Nov 12

Brunning999 says...

reptile wrote:
It's a great idea as long as they are helping Southend's homeless and not drawing in the rest of the countries homeless.
Agreed
[quote][p][bold]reptile[/bold] wrote: It's a great idea as long as they are helping Southend's homeless and not drawing in the rest of the countries homeless.[/p][/quote]Agreed Brunning999
  • Score: 0

1:16pm Mon 12 Nov 12

Aint it just the truth says...

Olivia2847 wrote:
Soouthchurch59 wrote: The only surprise is that it hasn't been thought of before. Buildings like these (all over the country) lay redundant for 95% of the time - whilst people on the street are freezing/starving to death.
Soouthchurch59 - I am not a Devil dodger but you are totally out of touch .....
Err no he's not, churches are pointless monuments to a redundant idea that are empty most of the time.
[quote][p][bold]Olivia2847[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Soouthchurch59[/bold] wrote: The only surprise is that it hasn't been thought of before. Buildings like these (all over the country) lay redundant for 95% of the time - whilst people on the street are freezing/starving to death.[/p][/quote]Soouthchurch59 - I am not a Devil dodger but you are totally out of touch .....[/p][/quote]Err no he's not, churches are pointless monuments to a redundant idea that are empty most of the time. Aint it just the truth
  • Score: 2

1:43pm Mon 12 Nov 12

Olivia2847 says...

Soouthchurch59 wrote:
Olivia2847 wrote:
Soouthchurch59 wrote:
The only surprise is that it hasn't been thought of before. Buildings like these (all over the country) lay redundant for 95% of the time - whilst people on the street are freezing/starving to death.
Soouthchurch59 - I am not a Devil dodger but you are totally out of touch .....
Out of touch? You must be confusing me with someone else....!

What's hard to understand about the fact that 'the church' does little (in real terms) to address the issue of
homelessness....whil

st being in possession of enough 'shelter' to accommodate *all* those that need it?
You didn't read the article properly or did mum take your crayons away ....
[quote][p][bold]Soouthchurch59[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Olivia2847[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Soouthchurch59[/bold] wrote: The only surprise is that it hasn't been thought of before. Buildings like these (all over the country) lay redundant for 95% of the time - whilst people on the street are freezing/starving to death.[/p][/quote]Soouthchurch59 - I am not a Devil dodger but you are totally out of touch .....[/p][/quote]Out of touch? You must be confusing me with someone else....! What's hard to understand about the fact that 'the church' does little (in real terms) to address the issue of homelessness....whil st being in possession of enough 'shelter' to accommodate *all* those that need it?[/p][/quote]You didn't read the article properly or did mum take your crayons away .... Olivia2847
  • Score: 0

6:25pm Mon 12 Nov 12

no god is best says...

Its about time all churches opened for the less fortunate. I hope that they will not spoil a good thing by ramming religion down the throats of those they are trying to help. I used to have to go to a church in Leigh with my parents in the 60's and always found that most of those that attended took their Sunday attitude off with their Sunday clothes .I don't think a lot has changed. I suppose they are looking for their reward in their heaven. Nicely dressed church people singing carols for money for the homeless in any high street is a total hypocrocy. All churches have plenty of well heeled members who can put their hand in their pockets. Everyone, if inclined could have a homeless person in their home at any time of year ,not just at a religious festival
Its about time all churches opened for the less fortunate. I hope that they will not spoil a good thing by ramming religion down the throats of those they are trying to help. I used to have to go to a church in Leigh with my parents in the 60's and always found that most of those that attended took their Sunday attitude off with their Sunday clothes .I don't think a lot has changed. I suppose they are looking for their reward in their heaven. Nicely dressed church people singing carols for money for the homeless in any high street is a total hypocrocy. All churches have plenty of well heeled members who can put their hand in their pockets. Everyone, if inclined could have a homeless person in their home at any time of year ,not just at a religious festival no god is best
  • Score: 1

11:05pm Mon 12 Nov 12

Olivia2847 says...

no god is best wrote:
Its about time all churches opened for the less fortunate. I hope that they will not spoil a good thing by ramming religion down the throats of those they are trying to help. I used to have to go to a church in Leigh with my parents in the 60's and always found that most of those that attended took their Sunday attitude off with their Sunday clothes .I don't think a lot has changed. I suppose they are looking for their reward in their heaven. Nicely dressed church people singing carols for money for the homeless in any high street is a total hypocrocy. All churches have plenty of well heeled members who can put their hand in their pockets. Everyone, if inclined could have a homeless person in their home at any time of year ,not just at a religious festival
I agree with you but look around you in Leigh especially and see what charitable works these churches are now doing! No longer smell and bells and Hail Mary's but resourceful attempts to help those not as fortunate as us!
[quote][p][bold]no god is best[/bold] wrote: Its about time all churches opened for the less fortunate. I hope that they will not spoil a good thing by ramming religion down the throats of those they are trying to help. I used to have to go to a church in Leigh with my parents in the 60's and always found that most of those that attended took their Sunday attitude off with their Sunday clothes .I don't think a lot has changed. I suppose they are looking for their reward in their heaven. Nicely dressed church people singing carols for money for the homeless in any high street is a total hypocrocy. All churches have plenty of well heeled members who can put their hand in their pockets. Everyone, if inclined could have a homeless person in their home at any time of year ,not just at a religious festival[/p][/quote]I agree with you but look around you in Leigh especially and see what charitable works these churches are now doing! No longer smell and bells and Hail Mary's but resourceful attempts to help those not as fortunate as us! Olivia2847
  • Score: 0

9:15am Tue 13 Nov 12

Nebs says...

no god is best wrote:
Its about time all churches opened for the less fortunate. I hope that they will not spoil a good thing by ramming religion down the throats of those they are trying to help. I used to have to go to a church in Leigh with my parents in the 60's and always found that most of those that attended took their Sunday attitude off with their Sunday clothes .I don't think a lot has changed. I suppose they are looking for their reward in their heaven. Nicely dressed church people singing carols for money for the homeless in any high street is a total hypocrocy. All churches have plenty of well heeled members who can put their hand in their pockets. Everyone, if inclined could have a homeless person in their home at any time of year ,not just at a religious festival
Do you include all places of worship for all religions, or just churches. What about school sports halls, they would make ideal night shelters. We could even use part time police stations that close up shop as soon as it gets dark. Or how about libraries, as soon as it gets cold there are always people who look homeless sitting quietly in a corner in Southend library during the day, why not let them stay overnight. Then there is the underutilised social housing, plenty of spare bedrooms there.
[quote][p][bold]no god is best[/bold] wrote: Its about time all churches opened for the less fortunate. I hope that they will not spoil a good thing by ramming religion down the throats of those they are trying to help. I used to have to go to a church in Leigh with my parents in the 60's and always found that most of those that attended took their Sunday attitude off with their Sunday clothes .I don't think a lot has changed. I suppose they are looking for their reward in their heaven. Nicely dressed church people singing carols for money for the homeless in any high street is a total hypocrocy. All churches have plenty of well heeled members who can put their hand in their pockets. Everyone, if inclined could have a homeless person in their home at any time of year ,not just at a religious festival[/p][/quote]Do you include all places of worship for all religions, or just churches. What about school sports halls, they would make ideal night shelters. We could even use part time police stations that close up shop as soon as it gets dark. Or how about libraries, as soon as it gets cold there are always people who look homeless sitting quietly in a corner in Southend library during the day, why not let them stay overnight. Then there is the underutilised social housing, plenty of spare bedrooms there. Nebs
  • Score: 0

10:58am Tue 13 Nov 12

perini says...

Nebs wrote:
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish and you feed him for life.
..show him how to catch fish and you save yourself a fish!!!
[quote][p][bold]Nebs[/bold] wrote: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish and you feed him for life.[/p][/quote]..show him how to catch fish and you save yourself a fish!!! perini
  • Score: 0

8:19pm Wed 14 Nov 12

no god is best says...

Whilsf these facilities are in place it would be a step forward if the 'Empty Property Scheme' could be advised on together with building skills training availability as a positive long term way
forward
Whilsf these facilities are in place it would be a step forward if the 'Empty Property Scheme' could be advised on together with building skills training availability as a positive long term way forward no god is best
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree