Derry church leaders concerned as chronic homelessness among young men increases pressure on Derry hostel

editorial image

Chronic homelessness among young men in particular has increased pressure on the Methodist Mission’s hostel in Crawford Square, according to Rev. Peter Murray, who raised the matter at a meeting of Christian leaders in Derry.

Rev. Murray, the Superintendent of the Methodist Mission in the North West, said: “More younger men than ever before are homeless these days.

“So, the Mission has appointed Neo Maboee – a young South African graduate – to get in touch with local churches, schools and students in college, in an effort to help people understand the causes of homelessness.”

He was speaking at a meeting of Christian leaders, which was hosted by the Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, Ken Good, at See House in the city to mark a ‘Week of Prayer for Christian Unity’, which began on Thursday.

Rev. Murray and Bishop Good were joined by the Bishop of Derry, Donal McKeown, the Bishop of Raphoe, Alan McGuckian and Rev. Craig Wilson, who was representing the Moderator of the Presbytery of Derry and Donegal.

As they gathered, the church leaders recognised the threat posed by the current cold snap, particularly to anyone who was homeless.

During the meal, the local clergymen discussed a range of issues, including the Food Pantry, which is sponsored by the four main churches in the North West.

They observed that data from the Food Pantry, which provides food parcels to families and individuals who are experiencing financial distress, show that pressure on its services is continuing to grow on an annual basis.

The church leaders shared their concern that the demands being made upon the Food Pantry were increasing year on year.

The Christian leaders also discussed the ongoing uncertainty over Brexit and the political situation at Stormont, both of which are likely to have a huge impact locally.

They said they were thankful that talks between the main political parties in Northern Ireland and theBritish and Irish governments were scheduled to begin again next week in an effort to restore devolution.

They asked the members of all churches taking part in this ‘Week of Prayer for Christian Unity’ to pray for a successful outcome to the talks.

The church leaders said the gathering was also an opportunity to demonstrate their personal friendship and to discuss aspects of church and community life that called for a united approach.