Our Roman Catholic Church of St Swithun’s and Our Lady of Lourdes two years ago decided that we had to start helping our homeless brothers and sisters along the Albert Road. Hence our Homeless Mission was born. A couple of volunteers Diana Clark and Lisa Butler started out by just making some sandwiches and some flasks of tea and coffee and taking these to the homeless they found on the street.
We saw the increasing numbers of people sleeping rough in Portsmouth and Southsea, alongside other towns and cities in Britain. They are clearly visible in the doorways and car parks, trying to stay warm in the cold and the wet. This crisis seems all the worse because it was not like this 5 years ago. We have always had people sleeping rough but not at the levels we are now seeing.
Charity begins at home, but what about those people without a home? So as a community we decided that we must start to help our own here based in Portsmouth and Southsea in whatever way we can.
Our Church’s aim is zero tolerance to homelessness in our area but more importantly it is to help those in our immediate area with a kind word, a hot drink, providing some warm clothes if we can and maybe a place to stay. We have volunteers who cook a Sunday lunch for over 20-30 people every week. We provide assistance with travel, getting people a bed for the night, help with job applications and much more
We are also part of the Open Church Project which opens our church hall and helps to sleep over 10 rough sleepers so they can get out of the cold.
All this is voluntary and we are always looking for helpers in many different ways.
So our mission is to serve as Christ came to serve.
Please offer this prayer for the homeless :
many homeless and unemployed have no one to help them.
No one to offer shelter.
No one to affirm that their lives have meaning and are precious.
Jesus I entreat You to embrace the hearts of the unemployed and the homeless,
the neglected and the lonely, the desperate and the despairing.
through the practical love and personal kindness of others,
to provide affordable shelter;
and where there is need, to help them to rehabilitate;
to obtain where necessary required medication or counselling;
to supply education, jobs, retraining, or support;
Bring to them those who are respectfully willing to share their food with them;
and with genuine love and wise practicality,
to affirm their unique sacredness.
and to inspire them to have faith in Your merciful love, and their eternal destiny with You.