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Monday, December 5, 2016
UK churches to focus on 12 million living in poverty
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¬†A coalition of Christian charities: Housing Justice, Scottish Churches Housing Action, Church Action on Poverty and the Church Urban Fund, are planning a series of public poverty hearings as part of Poverty and Homelessness Action Week (26 January to 3 February 2008). One in five people living in poverty Government figures show that 12.7million people (22% of the total) live in poverty in the UK including 7million adults (3.1million of whom are parents), 3.8million children, 1.8million pensioners. Others figures show that over 526,000 families, including almost one million children live in overcrowded accommodation, and over 80,000 homeless families are having to endure temporary accommodation whilst they wait for rehousing. At the same time over 1.6million families are on local authority housing waiting lists. "Churches rightly pay lots of attention to poverty and hunger in the third world but often fail to appreciate the extent of the problem at home," said Chief Executive of Housing Justice Alison Gelder. "it is a scandal that in this the fifth biggest economy in the world more than one in five people are living in poverty." "We hope that the Poverty and Homelessness Action Week events will cause Christians to reflect on the situation here in the UK. For most people in poverty in Britain it is not about literally being homeless or having no money but about not being able to fully participate in society." "The hearings will provide a voice for the experiences of people at the margins of society such as families having to endure cramped overcrowded accommodation, asylum seekers who are suffering destitution, disabled people having to live in inappropriate housing and families forced into debt in order to afford everyday items." As well as the poverty hearings churches will be marking the Action Week with special services and events such as sleep outs to raise awareness and raise money for local services. The Poverty and Homelessness Action Week is the first stage in a bigger year-long national campaign, aiming to raise awareness and gain commitments from all political parties to eradicate poverty in the UK. Gelder concluded: "the evidence we gain from the hearings will feed into our campaign to get the government and opposition parties to include pledges to end poverty in their next election manifestos. The government is already committed to ending child poverty, we would like to see this extended to ending all poverty." Poverty in the UK People are considered to be living in poverty if they have incomes below 60% of the median income level after housing costs and taxes. This definition is accepted by the UK government and European Union and is widely used for international comparisons. For the UK the median income level is £363 a week. Using this definition people are living in poverty if they have less than £217 a week to live on. Events during Poverty and Homelessness Action Week Banbury ≠ Poverty hearing. Quaker Meeting House. 1 February, 5:30pm Boston ≠ Poverty hearing for Lincolnshire. St Christophers Church. 29 January, 7pm Bradford ≠ Poverty hearing: Speak out on poverty. Impressions Art Gallery. 1 February, 11am Chatham ≠ Sponsored sleep out. 26 January, 9pm Chippenham ≠ Sponsored sleep out. St Andrews Church. 26 January, 7pm Gloucester ≠ Poverty hearing: being poor in Gloucester. St Johns, Northgate. 1 February, 2.30pm Leamington Spa ≠ Forum to explore poverty and homelessness in Leamington Spa. Dormer Conference Centre. Saturday 2 February Letchworth ≠ Opening Doors, Opening Hearts: a forum on homelessness. Norton Parish Centre. 30 January, 7:30pm Liverpool ≠ Telling it like it is: poverty hearing. Quaker Meeting House. 1 February, 10am London ≠ Poverty hearing. Trinity United Reform Church, Camden. Monday 29 January, 8pm London ≠ Connecting Voices: an evening of poetry, music and visual arts. St Pancras Parish Church, NW1. Thursday 31 January 7pm London ≠ Open house film screening: Ken Loach will introduce Riff Raff. Prince Charles Theatre. 5 February, 6.15pm Lytham St Annes ≠ Poverty hearing. YMCA. 30 January, 11am Luton ≠ Shop a soup: homelessness awareness raising in Luton town centre. Organised by Luton Accommodation and Move-on Project. 24- 26 January, 2pm Oxford ≠ Street Hearing: opportunity to hear local people describing their experiences of poverty and homelessness, organised by Oxford Gatehouse and New Road Baptist Church. Sunday 27 January, from 12pm Portsmouth - Poverty Hearing at St John's Discovery Centre, 3.30pm, Friday 1st February. All welcome. For more information call: 01329835585 or e-mail: estephenson@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk Reading ≠ lunch and meeting at Churches in Reading Drop in Centre. Thursday 31 January. Sheffield ≠ Poverty hearing. St Winifreds Centre. 28 January, 7pm St Austell ≠ Homelessness in the community: day of workshops. St Augustines Church. 26 January, 10am Tamworth - Cardboard box sleep out and all-night prayer vigil. St Johns Church. Saturday 26 January Weymouth ≠ sleep out on the beach to highlight tough conditions endured by homeless people in the area. Tuesday 29 January Worthing ≠ frugal lunch and poverty hearing. Tabernacle Church. 31 January, 12pm For more details see: www.church-poverty.org.uk/
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