Steven Webb, Brentwood’s Director of Development, is set to sleep under the stars for the benefit of young and homeless people in the diocese. Homelessness and the housing crisis are concerns close to Steven’s heart. Alongside his development role and responsibility (with Fr Dominic Howarth) for Caritas Diocese of Brentwood, Steven serves as a trustee for Caritas Social Action Network (www.csan.org.uk) and knows how serious this matter has become.
He says: “It’s still completely unacceptable that thousands of people are having to sleep rough every night in one of the world’s richest countries, and in our diocese the problem should concern every single one of us.”
The Sleep Out at Walsingham House at Abbotswick on Friday 12th April is supporting young people and homeless people in Brentwood Diocese. Since November hundreds of people in Essex and East London have found warmth, food and shelter in church halls and other projects supported by our diocese. Steven is keen to recognise and support the work of countless parishioners who help and accompany homeless people.
Brentwood’s diocesan Caritas is a part of CSAN, which at national level has been working hard with the Bishops of England and Wales to formulate a strategic approach to these issues.
At their plenary meeting from 12-15 November 2018, the bishops agreed on the following resolution:
‘The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales received and noted the report from CSAN on the “Housing Crisis” and recognised the need in society for the availability of housing. We encourage Catholic charities and associated institutions to make this work a priority until 2030. This timescale aligns with international engagement by the Catholic Church and her official agencies on the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2016-30.’
Abide in Me
On 20 November 2018 at the Houses of Parliament, Rt. Rev. Terence Drainey, Bishop of Middlesbrough and Chair of CSAN, launched Abide in Me, a report based on collaborative work between CSAN and the ecumenical Centre for Theology and Community. It is subtitled: Catholic Social Thought and Action on Housing Challenges in England and Wales, 2018-30. In parallel, CSAN published a set of housing case studies, with actions and options for new and renewed lay social action that are realistic in our context. CSAN has also identified significant scope for long-term advocacy in relation to housing, planning and land law, drawing on Catholic social thought.