Nationally Produced leaflet from Churches Housing Trust and Housing Justice

published autumn 2017

Download here

Read these Blogs about how best to help

Tip of an Iceberg: A Christian Response to Winter Homelessness (click here)

How should we respond to people begging? (click here)

John Kuhrt argues powerful that the change that is needed is more than a few coins.


Please don't be tempted to organize a city centre "soup run" or take our hot food unless you have talked over your plans with professionals working with the homeless, in order to find out what is appropriate and helpful.

If you want to collect for the homeless it is generally much better to raise money for a charity or project working with homeless people, than to collect food, warm clothing, blankets and sleeping bags. There are a limited number of rough sleepers who can benefit from them and most centres and shelters already have a large supply. At least before you start collecting and delivering STUFF please contact the project and ask them what they really need.

Encounters With Homeless People:

Most of us only encounter homeless people when we see them in the streets of the city centre. We may notice them because they are begging, selling the Big Issue magazine or drinking in the street or on a park bench. It's easy either to ignore such people, or to make an emotional response, especially in cold weather or in the period before Christmas.

There are several problems with this approach. First of all it is a stereotype and it's unfair to label all homeless people as "down and outs". Secondly what you see in the streets fails to notice many more vulnerable people in hostels, B&Bs or supported tenancies. You don’t see the hundreds of others who just about get by, sleeping on friends sofas, in empty buildings, or are in and out of institutions like hospitals and jails. Or the families who struggle to find a decent affordable home, or have lost a job and face repossesion of their home. Thirdly limiting one's perception of the problem tempts people to offering a simplistic response such as setting up an emergency shelter on the floor of a church hall and saying that anyone in need of a bed is welcome. Experience shows there are serious problems with most such schemes and the Preston Homeless Forum is convinced that this is not the right way forward in our city. Real long term solutions need to address underlying problems which include poverty, the failings of the housing market and for some people chaotic lifestyles.

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