Thursday, 26 February 2009

Residents on the move!

Returning from a weeks holiday means catching up on lots of work. and that means that I have not been able to start blogging until now.

The end product of a low support housing project working well is to see residents moving on into their own accomodation with really good support. In the next week 2 of our residents will be moving onto their own places and that is a cause of great celebration. Both have got good support and friends. As a project we will stay in contact and provide support and help when necessary. One way to help is by providing furniture and there are a couple of items .

There is still need for the following: chest of drawers x2, table and chairs and a bike.

If you can help please contact me.

Monday, 9 February 2009

26 Residents!!

Today we open the 6th house and achieve our goal of 26 residents. I will get photos on the blog very soon and in due course look to mark the event in some way. However there are lots of practical jobs that have to be done and then working with the residents to establish the house on good foundations.

Thanks to all those who have worked so hard to make this house happen.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Giving to the Jericho Road Project 1

I have been planning to blog about giving to the project for a few days and this morning to my complete surprise there was an anonymous donation of 10 sleeping bags. Which is very timely indeed!

There are numerous offers each week from people who want to give to the JRP. These can be summarised as

1. Direct financial payment to JRP
2. Indirect payment (purchase of items that are required such as a microwave or sleeping bags)
3. Time volunteering at events, key working, providing lifts, helping with cleaning/painting
4. Donating household items / clothing
5. Wisdom (People who have skills/knowledge/contacts that contribute to lives on the project)

All of the above are significant for the project and I will break it down into five different blogs with details about how each one works.

Obviously in the church / community that we are involved in, giving happens that is beyond the 'official' project routes I have described above. I immediately think of individuals who have put up curtains in flats or paid for events and these are fantastic demonstrations of care.

The one guideline that we have always encouraged is for people not to give cash directly to people, whether that is at the Feast or at church or even elsewhere. When asked by someone begging on a train or in the street, we have encouraged people to buy food or a hot drink rather than hand over cash. The other answer if you want to support homeless people is to give to a charity that is making a difference in people's lives and getting people off the street and into homes.

I will also add a further blog which explains in further detail what the project gives out to people in need and how this happens.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Rob returns to the Feast

This is Rob and Debbie who attended the Feast last night. Rob first came to the Feast in May 2002 and he became the first ever resident on the housing project in September 2004. During this time he became a Christian and began to volunteer at the Feast. With help from his key worker he began to rebuild his life including replacing his teeth which had had years of damage. In 2007 he moved to Bedford to work at a nightshelter where he is now a paid member of staff. It was really inspiring to hear him encouraging people who have lost their way to persevere. The Feast continues to offer hope to the hopeless every week and Rob is a living demonstration of where hope can take you!

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

New house news

Next week is the start of the sixth house! There will be a couple of residents moving between houses and then 3 new men moving into the project. Later on next week there will be a new resident moving in when one of the girl's moves into her own place. Therefore if you have any time on Monday (9th) or Friday (13th) where you could help people move that would be really helpful. Ideally a couple of hours during the day and if you have a car that would be fantastic. Please call me or email me. Also we may need a single or double bed, if you have a good quality bed that you no longer need please do contact the office.

The AA big book book discussion group has been put back a week and will start on the 15th February 2009 at the changed time of 7.30 at King's Church Centre.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Neighbours on the Jericho Road

Well the snow changed a lot of plans! It prevented our new fortnightly housing surgery from starting and the newfrontiers (the group of churches we are connected to) 'prayer and fasting' days are not happening hence I am in the office rather than in Peterborough. In fact I love the snow and spent most of yesterday out sledging with my family. With no buses running and plenty of community time it felt like Christmas Day. But I am also aware that for those who are sleeping rough or the elderly or those lacking the means to heat their flat it is a deeply miserable time. Earlier in January on this blog I made reference to the Jericho Road story that Jesus told which hinges on the question "who was a neighbour?" and the answer is the man who showed mercy.

At the last two Feasts we have had many rough sleepers. We continue to send people to the winter shelters around London and especially the Deptford and the Bromley shelters. How vital that these shelters exist! I am in regular contact with these centres to make the connections for people turning up at King's who are without shelter.

I also know from years of managing a night shelter that when you are running these shelters it can be very challenging. Maintaining appropriate behaviour demands much from those running these centres. Often there are very difficult decisions are required. When Jesus said 'Go and do likewise' (show mercy) he obviously knew that not everyone who is cared for is going to be nice and respond gratefully. Caring for our neighbours will always require us to go beyond our selves, whether it is a religious divide, a language barrier, a moral mess or a time challenge!

Next Monday we start a new house (our sixth) meaning that 26 residents will be housed and supported. Some of these new residents are currently staying in the winter shelters I described earlier. I am waiting to confirm what we will need to provide for the new house but in general it will be well furnished! Later this week I will be blogging on how you can contribute to the work. There are numerous inquires each week about furniture and ways that you can help people directly, others want to know how to give financially. More of that later on.

Whilst writing this I have been pulled away to be a 'neighbour'. Firstly a drunk, slightly abusive lady who I have never met before and secondly a man I have not seen for over 2 years who continues to try to find a way through his addiction/mental health issues and his Christian faith. As I have said before there are many people who have been beaten up by life on the Jericho Road.