Homelessness is something that can happen to anyone and none of us are as far from it as we may think. Haringey Churches Winter Shelter started in 2009 and as the only shelter in Haringey which caters for individuals with low support needs, serves a unique purpose in the borough.
It is a church based ‘rolling shelter’ that provides emergency accommodation to Haringey’s street homeless, those at immediate risk of rough-sleeping locally during the Winter months each year. Each church involved takes one night a week from December to March and at St James Church in Muswell Hill we will be hosting on Wednesday evenings/nights and Thursday mornings. Our aim is to provide the best hospitality we can and seek to serve up a fabulous three course dinner, a comfortable bed, friendship, warm hospitality and a hot breakfast so that each guest feels valued, supported at a difficult stage but hopefully very temporary stage in their life. The scheme also aims to proactively assist our guests in an effort to secure accommodation, and effectively break the cycle of homelessness.
This is the fourth year that we’ve had the privilege to take part in the shelter scheme and each time have found it a very humbling experience. This story from an amazing guest last year particularly moved us:
Daniel had spent twenty nights walking the streets at night trying to keep warm before the shelter opened for the Winter. On a previous night he had tried sleeping in a phone box, but had found it too cold and only managed an hour. Despite his awful situation he had still managed to hold down a job washing up for 12 hours a day, despite being paid less than minimum wage. Daniel eventually saved enough money for a deposit and first month’s rent and has now moved into rented accommodation. From the money he had saved he donated £50 to the shelter scheme. He told us that he thinks he survived because he managed to stay mentally strong, although at times felt that he was losing this strength and didn’t think he could cope.
If you would like to know more about volunteering at the shelter at St James this Winter or would like to make a financial donation towards the food, bedding and running costs please contact [email protected] or send a cheque payable to St James Church, marked ‘Winter Shelter’ on the back.
For further information please contact Rachel Elliott on 020 8442 2903