Brighton Churches Homeless Shelter Project

I received this email from a young woman in the Elm Grove Community at St Joseph's, Brighton...


"What you did to the least of these you did to me" (Matthew 25)

'We have been invited to share with other Christians in Brighton and Hove in a national project to offer shelter to homeless men and women during the cold months of February and March.

The only night shelter in this area, St Patrick's, will close its doors and cease to be from the end of this month.

The Brighton and Hove Churches Nightshelter Project will go some small but real way to helping the most vulnerable. Already the project is up and running in other parts of the diocese and around the country. The key is that it will be professionally overseen by a full time coordinator and properly resourced and managed. I have consulted with the Diocese who are happy for us to be part of the project.

What will happen...what's our commitment?

From beginning of March, St Joseph’s will be part of a 7 night rota where 15 homeless people move each night between 7 church venues. We have agreed to host the 4 x Tuesday nights of March (Sacred Heart Parish in Hove will have done the Tuesdays in February). We will have a 12 hour session each Tuesday where the Milton Road Hall will accommodate 15 men and women for the night: all bedding will be provided; guests will be properly referred (i.e. not come randomly off the street) and registered each evening by the project coordinator.

We need as many volunteers as possible to help out for a few hours each Tuesday of March (depending on the number of people who volunteer it may not even be every Tuesday). Volunteers will help preparing the meal, talking and befriending the guests ... then a few will be on duty through the night ... finishing with breakfast and departure at 7am.

The commitment is very manageable. Please consider being part of this project.

Volunteer forms are available at the back of church or contact the office – please complete and return to the office ASAP. We need the forms back THIS WEEK (ending 16th Jan) There is a training session for all volunteers across the churches on Tuesday 24th Jan.

This is a great way to build bridges with other people in the parish and also other churches ... to witness to our faith in the wider community ... to offer a Christ-like outreach to those in real need. Thanks for your positive response to this invitation to be one of the 30 volunteers!

If you are interested contact Jo Gilbert on



Anonymous said…
It's something isn't it. We have been doing the same thing here this winter. However it's a bit middle class. The homeless have to be 'invited' and the truly needy but scary ie drunks, druggies, mentally ill are not 'invited'.
The Bones said…
Yes, I share your concern.
The Bones said…
Hi, (formerly anon), It's a shame you don't want your comment published because I agree with you, the really desperate men are not 'referred'.
DomJP said…
This is a great idea. There has to be some sort of referral system in place as the project is going to be largely staffed by volunteers from churches, probably women, most likely lovely little old ladies. I do a bit of volunteer work at a Christian homeless shelter and am more than happy to look after the "scary ie drunks, druggies, mentally ill" but I am a big grizzly builder and love spending time with those guys, having at one time or another belonged to all 3 of those categories to a greater or lesser extent. I would not however want my granny, mum or sister in an environment with anyone who wanders in off the street, still under the influence and possibly with a history of violence. That would be no good for the guests or volunteers.

Lets thank God for plans like this then see what we can do to accommodate the hard cases i.e. set up our own shelters or take people into our own homes or direct them to places like the Cenacolo Community or the Jericho Benedictines.

1 Corinthians chapter 12 comes to mind:
[11] But all these things one and the same Spirit worketh, dividing to every one according as he will. [12] For as the body is one, and hath many members; and all the members of the body, whereas they are many, yet are one body, so also is Christ. [13] For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether bond or free; and in one Spirit we have all been made to drink. [14] For the body also is not one member, but many.

By the way I love this blog and your heart for the abandoned, thanks for writing it.