Moderator of the Church of Scotland, The Rt Rev Dr Russell Barr, has met with Grant Campbell, our Chief Executive, calling for a “collective endeavour” to end homelessness.
Grant said, “The Moderator is taking this year to use his office to highlight homelessness to church and government. It was good to chat about Glasgow’s unique homelessness challenges. As part of his office, he has the opportunity to take our story of what’s happening in Glasgow to the First Minister and the Housing Minister."
Dr Barr praised Glasgow City Mission, saying we are an example of good practice in serving homeless people. He said, “From the high quality of their building which offers a safe and welcoming place, to the valuable services they offer, Glasgow City Mission is doing crucially important work with some of Glasgow’s most vulnerable people. But what has impressed me most is their aspiration to put high-quality relationships with people at the centre of their work.
“Homelessness is about poverty and the heart of poverty is poverty of relationships. All successful work with people starts with building relationships.”
Dr Barr has been working with homeless charities across the UK to draw attention to the human cost of the problem, and the fact that the figures have not changed significantly in the last 10 years.
“If we are to end homelessness we will need a collective endeavour that involves everyone working together toward the same goals,” he said.
Grant told the Morderator, “An external evaluation was carried out last year and what people said was that they feel loved and cared for here. In fact that was one of the reasons they come to us, because our services are done professionally and we treat people with dignity.
“We get to know people well and we like to call people by name. It is important that people who come to us talk about how we express love in what we do. We always look at the humanity of the individual in front of us.”
The two men had a wide-ranging discussion on Scotland’s homelessness problem and what is needed now to reduce it. The Moderator also explained how Fresh Start, the charity he founded, helps people settle into homes after they have been homeless. “The fact that people are interested and that they care is what makes the difference. Of course you need a kettle to have that cup of tea, but what a difference it makes when someone sits down and has a cup of tea with you.”
Both men welcomed the Scottish Government’s commitment to building 50,000 new homes of which 75 percent will be social housing. We do need more suitable housing and we need to make sure we are making the best use of the housing we have,” Grant said.
Read more about the visit on the Church of Scotland website.