What is the Durham Winter Night Shelter?
The Durham Winter Night Shelter is a Christian initiative that seeks to answer the Christian call to social justice and care for the vulnerable in society. It is a project that aims to provide emergency winter accommodation for the homeless population of Durham City. It is run by the registered charity, North East Mission.
It will have capacity to provide emergency overnight shelter for 15 guests for 3-months in the worst winter months. Each guest will be accepted regardless of individual life choices, sexuality, gender or religious affiliation. The Shelter will be a safe space in which each guest can get a good night’s sleep, food and access to vital services that will help them start on the road towards permanent housing. We will also aim to provide guests with the ability to tackle the causes of destitution.
How will the Shelter function?
The Shelter will operate on a rotational basis. It will alternate location depending on which venue is hosting each week. We will advertise the location of the shelter at relevant services and churches. Basic inquiries will be made as to whether they are eligible for a night in the shelter (whether they do or do not have accommodation). This link will hopefully be made by housing services/the homeless outreach worker who has a relationship with the guests.
The Shelter will provide the guests with a basic meal and refreshments until 11.30pm. At 12am, the main lights will be turned off. This will allow the guests to get a full night’s sleep before being woken at 0700 for breakfast and more hot drinks.
To make the shelter a safe place for both the guests and the volunteers, a strict no alcohol or drugs policy will be enforced. This is done through the removal of all non-essential belongings.
New this winter, as part of our work to see not just the end of homelessness but to also work towards the end of the causes of homelessness we are running a weekly workshop. This workshop will bring together local health, and housing agencies along with supporting charities. Meeting one morning a week to form a "one-stop-shop" to help rough sleepers back into accommodation and deal with some of the causes that lead to there situation.
Interested in helping out with the Durham Winter Night Shelter? We're always looking for more willing volunteers willing to show love and compassion to those most vulnerable in our communities.