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Homelessness

Volume 573: debated on Thursday 9 January 2014

7. What recent steps the Church of England has taken in the St Albans diocese to support the homeless and people in poverty. (901879)

The diocese of St Albans has supported a number of projects, particularly those working with homeless people in Hemel Hempstead, St Albans, Stevenage, Bedford, Luton and Watford. The annual December sleep-out, which was supported by my hon. Friend, has managed to raise nearly £1 million over the past 20 years to support homeless people in the diocese of St Albans by making funding grants available, encouraging volunteers and helping to raise further money.

Will my right hon. Friend join me in thanking the staff of the diocese, the volunteer organisers, security guards and the Women’s Institute, which provided hot soup all night for all of us on the sleep-out? The money raised has helped a lot of local homeless charities, not least Linton-Linslade Homeless Service, which does such good work in my area.

Indeed. Churches throughout the country support a whole number of initiatives that encourage large numbers of volunteers. I know that my hon. Friend is patron of the Linton-Linslade Homeless Service, which offers short-term emergency shelter, supplies and support to people who are homeless or about to become homeless and does invaluable work in the area.