RBK’s Executive Member for Housing has praised the “fantastic” work of Kingston Churches Action on Homelessness (KCAH), for setting up a month-long pilot project to provide night-shelter in the borough.
Cllr Penny Shelton said: “This has been an exceptionally cold winter with snowfall bringing delight to many Kingston residents -- but for those sleeping rough, the cold snap will be distressing and dangerous.
“Kingston Churches have worked with amazing speed and sense of community spiritedness to offer comfortable shelter to Kingston’s street homeless for every night in February.”
The project, organised by KCAH and run by local volunteers, provides beds and hot food on a rotation basis in local churches. They expect up to 10 guests a night.
Shelton explained that: “The Council is unable to house homeless people in the local YMCA if they have not signed up to the central government benefit system. This project has provided an excellent opportunity to connect the borough’s most vulnerable people with the advice they need to access future help.”
She added how impressed she has been with the planning and organisational skills of KCAH: “they have led the project by gathering advice, expertise and training so that the whole scheme was devised and running in just two months.”
“Local churches have shown great leadership and goodwill, employing exceptional logistical skill to draw together the equipment, materials, funds, church spaces as well as the people to make it happen. “
“The willingness of volunteers and the huge commitment of participating churches and church members had provided a night-shelter service for people who might otherwise be sleeping rough in a bitterly cold spell of weather.”
Cllr Shelton added: “I am immensely impressed by what our churches have achieved so far, and very much welcome their intention to provide a more regular winter service in future years on the basis of this pilot.”