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'We simply cannot meet all the need we are facing'

Homelessness is growing across the UK, believes Hope into Action chief executive Ed Walker …

Homelessness is growing across the UK, believes Hope into Action chief executive Ed Walker.

Writing in the Peterborough-based charity’s latest newsletter, he says:

“I’ve discussed this with colleagues at other homeless organisations and they see it the same way: while it’s hard to get accurate statistics, anecdotally we are all  feeling a marked increase.

“I am noticing more people on the streets of Peterborough and people I don't recognize. I met one man last week and as I offered to pray for his hurt leg, tears welled in his eyes. A lady interrupted my lunch the next day begging me for money. I’ve never experienced that before.

“Then yesterday I was stopped by someone as I was walking along instead of giving him money I asked a few questions, his name, his history and then the subject of his child came up:  ‘How old is your boy?’ ‘Three and a half’ he replied. ‘A good age’ I said.

“At which point he began to weep. He struck me as sober and said he had been in the army for seven years: ‘I just hate missing him grow up. Being on the streets is so hard.’

“We also received one call a local ranger about a man sleeping in his park. Thankfully we have been able to help and house him (and others recently) but we simply cannot meet all the need we are facing. We recently counted up 40 referrals in Peterborough alone.

“The good news is we are continuing to find new churches and new investors all the time who are wanting to put their time, love, investments into the vulnerable. I am greatly encouraged by this and we now have more houses and churches in the pipeline than we have ever had before. (

“We are also looking to house a Syrian refugee family in one – (in good company with the Archbishop!). It so encourages me when I see churches stepping up.”

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