Maidstone Churches Winter Shelter (MCWS) first opened it’s doors in December 2013, with the aim of supporting the many people in need of shelter and help in our town over the coldest winter months. At that time, leading homelessness charity, Porchlight, warned of an almost 50% rise in rough sleeping in Kent.
There are many factors behind homelessness including unemployment, national austerity, family and relationship breakdowns, mental or physical illness, addiction and/or substance misuse, migration, poverty and debt, the struggle to return to independence after prison or care & acute shortages of affordable housing. The list of reasons is endless.
Also, a minority of people refuse help and some drop in and out of support. Others, especially migrants, have no recourse to public funds and are especially isolated.
The team making the initial plans for a Winter Shelter in Maidstone considered a number of potential options, but the final decision was to operate a church-based winter shelter, run mainly with volunteers.
Since day one we have been overwhelmed with the support we have received from our local churches, our many volunteers (both secular and non secular) and our funders/donors. Without this support, we wouldn't have been able to open our doors each winter and we are incredibly thankful for all the kindness and generosity we have received, and continue to receive, which enables us to support our guests each year.
Providing Hospitality and overnight shelter for homeless people in the winter months
Engaging members of churches in Maidstone and other volunteers in building supportive relationships with homeless people in Maidstone, without discrimination on the grounds of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation or religion.
Supporting homeless people to find appropriate long-term accommodation
Undertaking such other purposes in relation to the needs of homeless people as the Trustees may from time to time determine.