It was heartening to read in The Press newspaper earlier this month that the Christchurch City Mission has received a rapid and generous response to its annual ‘Brown Paper Bag Appeal’. The groceries donated will help to keep the Mission’s food bank well-stocked through the most high-demand winter period.
But in our worship service this morning at St Paul’s, Gray Crawford, Manager of Social Services at the Christchurch City Mission, highlighted the biggest problem affecting the most poor and marginalised people of Christchurch: lack of access to decent and affordable housing. This is an all-too-familiar ongoing effect of the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010/11.
The Mission is doing its best to meet the needs of those people in the worst crisis:
- single parents living with children in cars, garages, and even the sand-dunes of New Brighton beach (!);
- homeless men sleeping in playground tunnels, in cars, or in derelict earthquake-damaged properties awaiting demolition;
- and families who’ve resorted to sharing a house with one or two other families in order to be able to afford the rent – in one case 18 people in a three-bedroom home (with one toilet and bathroom).
By all means, let’s celebrate the good news about the successful Brown Paper Bag Appeal, but don’t stop giving – the need is still great! Check out the City Mission website to see how you can help support the work they are doing to provide emergency and short-term housing.