A Manchester church has begun an ambitious program of action to combat the spread of homelessness in the city.
Kings church, which has a large centre near Manchester University, is hoping to buy a string of properties throughout the city, to provide a refuge for men and women who find themselves living on the street.
Church members are already involved in various community outreach initiatives, from toddler groups to work with students.
And they run a scheme known a VIP, through which they aim to ‘demonstrate God’s incredible love to people who are homeless or living in hostel accommodation.’
Through bimonthly ‘VIP nights’ the church provides much needed friendship and support as well as food, clothes and toiletries to the most marginalised members of society. They aim to give homeless and vulnerable people a place where they can feel special and loved, and where they can find friendship.
Homeless people who want to come to the VIP nights, are collected by minibuses from hostels around the city. They are brought to the church where they get to enjoy a meal, live music, and a gospel message. Before they leave, they are given free clothes, and the women have the opportunity to have their nails and make up done - again all for free.
And in between the VIP nights, church members regularly visit homeless people, to try and keep in contact with them, and help them out.
But despite the good work they and others are already doing, there are still lots of rough sleepers on the streets of Manchester, young and old, suffering with a variety of problems.
So now the church aims to begin an ambitious program of property buying, in order to provide a safe place for some of those who have no other home to go to. The first house they have in their sights is a former pub, which they plan to transform into a temporary home for homeless men.
Once it has been set up, the team plan to set up other houses, where men and women are enabled to get back on their feet, rebuild their self respect, and hopefully find a way to deal with some of the problems that have led them to become homeless in the first place.
February 14th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Simon Cross