News Release from Housing Justice:
6 June 2019
For Immediate Use
Bishop speaks out against housing as a ‘Commodity for Profit’
Housing Justice’s new Board Chair, Bishop Rob, has spoken out against housing as a commodity for personal gain or profit.
He said: “When we see homelessness, or substandard housing as something which is accepted in a society, we have missed the point. Housing has been, for too long, a commodity to be used for personal gain or profit. Somewhere to be ourselves, a place of identity, a place to build community, and a place of safety is key to flourishing. Houses are not purely economic units, but need to be places of liveability and flourishing.”
In an article for the website of the national Christian homelessness charity, the Bishop, who is outspoken for the religious beliefs of any faith said: “The easy thing would be to wash our hands of the misery of others, but I believe that any social issue can only be tackled with an adult conversation, where society takes a role in accountable responsibility.”
Bishop Rob, who has been actively involved with housing Justice for 18 months, took up his new role in March.
Homelessness issues have been a defining feature throughout his ministry, working with churches to provide night shelters, appreciating and witnessing at first hand the impact they can make.
As Housing Justice prepares to open grant applications for community projects to provide night shelters for rough sleepers this coming this winter, Bishop Rob said: “I long to see a Britain where night shelters are not needed, but in the current period of time, Christians are stepping up and supporting, loving and cherishing those with no home, for whatever reason. Our night shelters are needed now more than ever.”
Housing Justice provides grants for up to £20,000 for individual community projects to improve their impact on those experiencing homelessness. Last year more than £220,000 was awarded over the winter helping more than 20 night shelter projects to create 169 additional winter night shelter beds, and to projects which aided 300 people to move to more settled accommodation. The Housing Justice team also held dozens of events, trained volunteers and provided a range of support to projects across the capital.
There has been a 165 per cent increase in rough sleeping in England since 2010. At the same time faith based night shelters such as those supported and directly provided by Housing Justice have doubled in number. There are now 124 such projects across England and Wales offering a route out of homelessness. Housing Justice provides these projects with practical support, set up advice, grant funding and a Quality Mark scheme.
Bishop of Edmonton since 2015, Rob Wickham has always served in the Diocese of London. He has 25 years direct experience of working with homelessness and housing need.
Notes to Editors: 1. Housing Justice is the successor organisation to the Catholic Housing Aid Society, UNLEASH and Church Housing Coalition. In our various guises we have been organising church responses to homelessness for more than 60 years. Today we are the only national ecumenical voice on homelessness and housing need. 2. Housing Justice’s core belief is that a central component of human dignity is having a home that truly meets your needs. Our mission is to mobilise Christian action on homelessness and housing need through love, justice, advocacy and nurture.
The latest rough sleeping statistics for Wales:https://gov.wales/sites/default/files/statistics-and-research/2019-02/national-rough-sleeper-count-november-2018_1.pdf
The latest rough sleeping statistics for England: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/781567/Rough_Sleeping_Statistics_2018_release.pdf
For further information /photos contact: [email protected]
Housing Justice, 256 Bermondsey St, SE1 3UJ, Tel: 020 3544 8094
https://www.housingjustice.org.uk/News Release from Housing Justice:
Previous News Releases:
Housing Justice Calls for reform to Universal Credit
Details of Homeless Sunday '19 confirmed
Bishop Rob Wickham takes the chair at Housing Justice:
Click here for Welsh Government Statistics on rough sleeping 2018
Click here for Government Statistics for England on rough sleeping 2018