News by email Donate


St Mary Magdalen Church
UK News

Priest calls for homeless shelter to be reopened

by Eno Adeogun

Fr Peter Groves, from St Mary Magdalen Church in central Oxford told the Oxford Times that some people have been taking shelter beneath scaffolding which was erected while a £400,000 renovation of the roof was being completed.

He said: "A few people have turned up in recent weeks and set up makeshift shelters in the churchyard but we tell them it is not safe for them to stay.

"We offer them a cup of coffee and then refer them to the city council's homelessness team and other agencies including the Gatehouse charity.

"It's a great shame there has been a reduction in local authority funding to tackle homelessness in Oxford in recent years."

Creative Commons

Lucy Faithfull House, a 61-bed homeless hostel on city council-owned land, closed in January last year after Oxfordshire County Council withdrew its annual £500,000 funding.

Fr Groves said staff at Lucy Faithfull House "did some fantastic work" and urged the city council to consider reopening it.

He added: "There is a certain amount of migration and often people are trying to get somewhere else, to return to a place where they have family contacts."

A city council count of rough sleepers in Oxford last November said on one night there were 39.

Mike Rowley, city council board member for housing, told the Oxford Times: "Rough sleeping is a growing challenge nationally, and the Government simply doesn't provide enough funding.

"But here in Oxford we're not prepared to just let the situation worsen, which is why the city council has chosen to pick up an additional, non-statutory burden in tackling rough sleeping to try to plug the gap after the county council was unable to carry on funding some support due to this tightening of the purse strings by the Government.

"We have kept our budget allocation at £1.4m to keep our support at the same level for the majority of currently funded organisations."

A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us
Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email