Leicester’s Homelessness Charter launched at the Cathedral


 

The Bishop of Leicester, Leicester’s City Mayor and Leicestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner have joined forces to launch Leicester’s Homelessness Charter.

 

The charter aims to improve the way organisations and individuals work together to tackle homelessness in the city, and to harness the enthusiasm of those who want to get involved but don’t know how.

 

More than 100 people from charities, the voluntary sector, local businesses and statutory organisations attended the launch, which took place at Leicester Cathedral and included a poem by Mikey, who has been part of SoundCafe which is run by the Diocese of Leicester to provide creative space and friendship to people who have experienced homelessness or who are vulnerably housed.

 

The Rt Revd Bishop Martyn Snow, Sir Peter Soulsby, and Lord Willy Bach, launched the charter by signing a pledge committing their organisations to support the aims of the charter.

 

Bishop Martyn said: “This is all about working together with the different groups within Leicester who have expertise on this issue for the good of people who experience homelessness. I am delighted that the Diocese of Leicester has been able to host and facilitate the development of this charter so that we all work together in genuine partnership to meet the needs of individuals at the heart of all we do.”

 

Sir Peter said: “The city council has a five year action plan to prevent and tackle homelessness in the city and we are spending more than £5 million a year to deliver this, working closely with many of the organisations here today. We know there are many other people working with energy and passion to support those experiencing homelessness in our city, and look forward to working with them to achieve our common aim.”

 

Lord Bach said: “There are many reasons why people are homeless including ill-health and drug or alcohol abuse.  Sometimes it can be the result of crime and other times people turn to crime to try and survive.  Society, public services and businesses need to work together to help people out of a revolving sequence of events that results in homelessness.”

 

It was also signed by the Very Revd David Monteith, Dean of Leicester, who said: “We work with homeless people and try to tackle homelessness but in truth we often don’t know what others are also doing. This Charter gives us with others a way to work together to address this complex challenge with both compassion and imagination.”

 

The charter was also signed by many of those attending, including representatives from the University of Leicester, Highcross Leicester, and faith groups. People who have themselves experienced homelessness took part in the event and have contributed to consultations on the charter.

 

Local MPs have pledged their support of the charter. Leicestershire Police Chief Constable Simon Cole and the Lord Mayor of Leicester and High Sheriff also attended its launch and many organisations attending the event signed up to the charter. People from different faiths, areas of specialism and the civic and business world pledged to abide by the charter including:

Shelter Housing, SoundCafe, LOROS, Churches Together in Leicester, Park Lodge Project, Straight Path Resettlement Project, University of Leicester, Bid Leicester, Leicester Progressive Jewish Congregation, The Bridge – Homelessness to Hope, Action Homeless, Centre Project, Help the Homeless, Leicestershire Cares, De Montfort University, Edith Murphy Foundation, Hits Homes Trust, McDonalds, EMH Houses, Street Pastors, St Philips Centre.

 

The charter provides a vision, values and principles that can be shared by all of those working to prevent homelessness in the city, and to support those affected by it. It aims to reduce duplication, improve communication between those working with homeless people, and to raise awareness of services and how the public can help.

 

A draft charter was developed by a group comprising representatives from Leicester City Council, Action Homeless, SoundCafe Leicester and the Church of England’s Diocese of Leicester, people who have experienced homelessness and practitioners who all met to share their thinking and all recognising the need for a charter.

 

As a next step, many attendees at the launch have signed up to join identified action groups around particular aspects of homelessness, with dates already fixed for the first meetings. People experiencing homelessness will be involved in this work.

A website will shortly be created, which will track progress and enable other individuals and organisations both to pledge their support and to join in in practical ways. This will mean organisations working together and others perhaps lending expertise or giving of money and time.

A copy of the charter is available here: https://www.leicester.anglican.org/exploring-faith/social-responsibility/housing-homelessness/

 

 

More information on how people can support the Charter is available by emailing Homelessness.Charter@leccofe.org