Maidstone Churches Winter Shelter (MCWS) first opened it’s doors in December 2013, following news from leading homelessness charity, Porchlight, of an almost 50% rise in rough sleeping in Kent at that time.
There are many factors behind homelessness including unemployment, national austerity, family and relationship breakdowns, migration, substance misuse, 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 decided that the obvious response would be to find an empty building in the town centre and set it up as a shelter for the winter. Eventually it was decided that a church-based winter shelter, run mainly with volunteers, would be the way forward – and so Maidstone Churches Winter Shelter began!
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.
Undertaking such other purposes in relation to the needs of homeless people as the Trustees may from time to time determine.
Supporting homeless people to find long-term accommodation