Homelessness: Are We Really Helping?

Homelessness: Are We Really Helping?

On Thursday 30 April, Together Middlesbrough and Cleveland, in partnership with DePaul UK, hosted an event called ‘Homelessness: Are We Really Helping?’ at the Trinity Centre, North Ormesby, which aimed to provide people from local charities, organisations and faith groups with an opportunity to learn, share and reflect on their responses to homelessness. The event was a major success, with an attendance of 120 people.

At the present time, there is a growing concern amongst faith groups for people struggling to provide the basic necessities of food, clothing and shelter. The hope was that by bringing people together, they could explore how the charitable work of local groups can complement the work of larger organisations and statutory agencies to support the most vulnerable people in our communities.  The keynote speaker Jon Kuhrt said:

“In homelessness, it’s so vital that people work together and talk with one another if we’re going to make as much difference as we can.”

Audio files will allow you to listen into the day.

The conference opened with a message from Rt. Revd. Terence Drainey, RC Bishop of Middlesbrough.


The day was led by Jon Kuhrt, Executive Director of Social Work, West London Mission.  He spoke about issues that lead to people becoming homeless: poverty of resources, relationships and identity.  These issues are summarised in the Church Urban Fund publication Web of Poverty which can be accessed here: http://www.cuf.org.uk/research/web-poverty           


Stories of Hope: introduced by Terry Doyle, Positive Pathways worker at the John Paul Centre, two ladies shared their experience of homelessness, the reasons behind it and their journey to rebuilding their lives.


The Rt. Revd. Mark Bryant, Bishop of Jarrow and a trustee of DePaul UK spoke about “What does faith bring to our approach to homelessness?


Sharon Caddell, principle homelessness and domestic violence officer for Middlesbrough Council explained the law around homelessness and local authority provision.  The Powerpoint slides give an excellent overview.

<Audio> and <Powerpoint>

Jon Kuhrt also spoke about being honest around the problems faced when working with homeless people and how organisations can understand each other better and work together.  His key theme of Grace and Truth helped people to explore how we express compassion, whilst helping people to face their issues.

<Audio>and <Powerpoint>

The Rt. Rev. Paul Ferguson, Bishop of Whitby, lead the closing reflections of the day.


Author: Lynsey Robinson

Date: 08 May 2015