A guest at St Barnabas.

It was the day that people were enjoying Jubilee street parties that Yanna rang my door bell. She came to me because the police, having found her sleeping out in the rain in Coronation gardens, and having given her one night of respite in the police station had no option but to send her on her way. All she had to guide her were a few phone numbers and details in a language that she didn’t understand. So I got on the phone on her behalf, and discovered that most numbers led to nothing more reassuring and helpful than an answerphone message and a menu of numbers.

Finally I found a human being to talk to,at the organisation called ‘No Second Night Out’, which is a Boris Johnson initiative to deliver what it says on the tin. I was told that they could help but only if Yanna could be located exactly when they had a team to spare who could come to see her. That is when I decided that the church lobby was the only option. Since then my eyes have been re-opened to how tough it still is for people who become homeless through no fault of their own, and how hard it is to navigate your way through a complicated system which is designed to help.

I am also reminded of the concept of grace. How vulnerable we all would be with no job or home security- in my twenties I found myself briefly in a similar situation- but also the grace of kindness and humanity that people in need can bring to those who can offer some temporary help.

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