Sunday 11th October is Homeless Sunday 2020 and we are encouraged to take time to reflect upon homelessness and the issues surrounding homelessness in the UK. In particular on how Covid-19 has impacted those experiencing homelessness and the services they rely upon.
Compared to the general public, people sleeping rough…
- are almost 17 times more likely to be a victim of violence
- die 30 years younger on average
- The average life expectancy for men sleeping rough is 47 and 43 for women
When growing up…
- 2/3 of people who sleep rough experienced violence between parents/carers
- Just under 60% had a parent/carer with a drug or alcohol problem
- About half have been sexually and/or physically abused
- 1/3 have been bullied or have been suspended or expelled from school
- 25% have been taken into the care of a council as a child or young person
- A quarter were brought up in a workless household living on welfare benefits
- 15% reported that they often did not have enough to eat each day
Before viewing the statistics below, it is important to recognise that official figures often significantly underestimate the number of people sleeping rough. For example, the latest government figures state that around 4,300 people are sleeping rough on any given night, but since the lockdown began more than 14,500 people who were at risk or living on the streets were moved into emergency accommodation.
A prayer for Homeless Sunday
Heavenly Father – Thank you for who you are and for giving us hope. Also, we thank you for everyone who is here commemorating Homeless Sunday, but help us not to forget that people are homeless every day across our nation.
We pray for those sleeping under bridges, on park benches, in doorways or bus stations.
For those who can only find shelter for the night but must wander in the daytime.
For families broken because they could not afford to pay the rent.
For those who have no relatives or friends who can take them in.
For those who have no place to keep possessions.
For those who are afraid and feel hopeless.
For all people affected by homelessness, we pray that you will help us to provide shelter, security, comfort and hope.
Jesus, help us to see your face in the eyes of every homeless person we meet so that we may be empowered through word and deed, and through all the means we have, to bring justice and peace in their time of need. Stir our hearts to move more deeply in our walk with you, so that we can be active to share your love with our neighbours and the community.
In Jesus name we pray, Amen.
There will be a service reflecting and remembering the homeless community in the city of Leeds and wider at this difficult and challenging time, coordinated by Lighthouse, St George’s Crypt and Unity in Poverty Action (UPA) on Sunday 11th October from 1 to 1:30pm. This will be live streamed on Lighthouse facebook page – further details at https://www.facebook.com/events/658004548453226/