Due to the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic and the latest Government guidance, we are unable to offer overnight accommodation (dormitory-style in church halls) for our local homeless community at the present time. However, we are working closely with Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) who are endeavouring to ensure that everyone is kept safe and off the streets this winter. Here you can read our joint Press Release with Maidstone Borough Council for winter 2020-21.
We are continuing to provide support to those most in need in our community with the provision of home-cooked meals and food parcels. For further information on this support, please refer to the 'Help out to Eat out' article below.
HELP OUT TO EAT OUT
Help is available this winter:
With winter here, homeless charities across the UK have warned that rough sleepers are now facing a 'double threat' of coronavirus and cold weather. It is becoming increasingly difficult to mitigate these threats with lockdown restrictions in place.
Despite these challenges, the Council Housing teams along with community partners have worked incredibly hard during the pandemic. They have helped more people find homes than ever before, dealing with 1231 new housing register applications which led to the register growing by 34%.
Also, a further 600 households who have found themselves at risk of homelessness or actually homeless have been supported by the Housing Advice Service.
Council Housing support helps the homeless survive the winter, but the experience can be isolating.
Maidstone Churches Winter Shelter work closely with Maidstone Borough Council and with the Outreach Team.
This year, due to Covid, we have been unable to operate our normal programme of offering a night shelter to those who find themselves homeless. The National Lockdown also prohibits us from safely offering a sit down meal.
However, with the support of local churches, we have responded by offering a home-cooked, hot takeaway meal two afternoons a week together with food parcels to cover the other days of the week, so that no-one should go hungry. This drop-in service takes place on Monday and Wednesday afternoons from 2.30 - 4.30pm and operates from the Union Street Methodist Church, Brewer Street entrance. We will run this provision from Monday 04 January 2021 until, and including, Friday 26th March 2021.
We are also distributing hot home-cooked meals via the Salvation Army food banks on Wednesdays and Fridays (this provision will run until Friday 26 March). The meals go out with the usual food parcels distributed by The Salvation Army, to those in need.
As previously, we are working closely with Maidstone Borough Council and especially with the Outreach Team, to ensure there is a joined-up approach to assisting Rough Sleepers and Homeless in the town.
We are working within the current Covid guidelines to ensure that, between us and MBC, we help those most in need.
£10 pays for a home-cooked meal plus a takeaway breakfast pack this winter. If you wish to help, donations can be made here:
The Winter Shelter is making a big difference to the lives of people who, in circumstances often beyond their control, find themselves homeless.
According to Crisis the number of rough sleepers is forecast to rise by 76 percent in the next decade.
Whilst homelessness continues in Maidstone, Kent, Maidstone Churches Winter Shelter will be there to provide help and support, working alongside other agencies and organisations, including volunteers and team members.