On average, homeless people die at 47, far below the UK life expectancy of 81 years. A homeless rough sleeper is 35 times more likely to attempt suicide than someone who has never faced homelessness, 13 times more likely to be a victim of violent crime and 47 times more likely to be a victim of theft.
Homelessness is on the rise in the UK, in Birmingham and in Erdington.
As Christians we have traditionally been at the forefront of trying to do something to help homeless people. This remains the case. But faced by a rising problem we need to rise too. We need to step up and be salt and light for our brothers and our sisters who find themselves without a secure place to live. Christmas is often a time when we feel even more challenged about this issue.
Unashamedly, I want to challenge us all. What can we do to help the people on our streets, in our community who have nothing, have no stable place to live, have so many problems that they have been through and still face such complex challenges?
Once again, there is a list either included with your email or available at church, of places and projects where we can get involved. Also, with other Christians in Erdington we are currently seeking to set up a weekly support project aimed especially at people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. It would be once a week during daytime. Could you help?
And, we are preparing ourselves to be ready to open our doors to individuals who would otherwise be sleeping out in the deep cold as an emergency measure when the need arises. Could you be part of our team of volunteers? We also remain committed to be one of the host churches for a Birmingham Churches Night Shelter next winter. Meanwhile, I urge us all to pray, do what we can as individuals, act and vote in a way that reflects our Jesus values on this issue and more widely!
God bless, Gerard.