Night shelter guidance for churches

07 November 2018

Churches have a long tradition of helping those in need, and so it is no surprise that many churches open their doors to provide shelter to homeless people every winter.

Icy hands wrapped in gloves
Every shelter project is unique and there are many different variations of them. Most run during the winter months, anytime from November to the end of March. Many will open for a set period during this time, whilst others operate for the full five months. Some churches run night shelters as part of a wider, cold weather scheme with other churches and charitable organisations in their area. Here, they work together on a rota basis to provide a warm and safe bed for the night. 
In many shelters, churches offer more than this providing a range of other support services. 

Types of support services

  • Providing a hot evening meal and breakfast 
  • Advice on housing support, debt counselling, domestic violence and getting a job 
  • Washing facilities  
  • A warm place to sit and chat.
Whatever the shelter project, it is essential that steps are taken to make sure they remain safe places for both those in need and those who run them. Our guide provides the information you need to meet your legal requirements and help you keep people safe.