Plan for night shelter for winter’s homeless

JPCT 100912  Horsham Churches Together setting up winter night shelter at Christian Centre bookshop. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 100912 Horsham Churches Together setting up winter night shelter at Christian Centre bookshop. Photo by Derek Martin

Homeless people in Horsham could have a night shelter to retreat to this winter as part of work by the town’s churches to tackle homelessness.

Working with Horsham District Council, the town’s homeless charity Ark and the Y-Centre, Horsham Churches Together aims to run the eight-place night shelter at St John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church through December, January and February.

Brian White, moderator at HCT said: “Over the last year HCT has been praying about the plight of the hidden homeless in our town.

“These are people who, for whatever reason, fall outside of the system and do not qualify for help despite not having a roof over their heads. They don’t appear on lists, affect statistics or get counted, but HCT believes that to God they count.”

A working party from the church partnership, which represents 32 Horsham churches, has helped develop a referral system by which homeless people in Horsham will be prioritised above those from other towns.

They are focusing on the 25-to 35 year olds and ‘sofa surfers’ whom the council does not have a statutory duty to help.

The Christian Centre on South Street is preparing to provide catering, but Rev White, also pastor at Trafalgar Road Baptist Church, added that the success of the project relied on willing volunteers from the Horsham churches.

He said: “We are two nights short of the seven that we would like to cover. If we get to the end of September and don’t have those nights covered, that’s when we will be pulling the plug. We have prayed and believe this is something that God wants us to do. At the end of the day, none of us can make it happen.”

If you are a member of a Horsham church and would like to help at the shelter call HCT development worker Bryan Steele on 01403 887671 or email Bryan.Steele@HorshamCT.org.uk