Phil Morton
Homelessness: Prevention is better than cure

Phil Morton of Derby City Mission speaks to Tim Gossling of Derby Church Net about Homelessness & Prevention:

For over 25 years, Derby City Mission have been serving the poor of the city of Derby. For the last four years we have helped to coordinate Derby Churches Night Shelter. A coming together of various chruches across the city and the county to make sure each winter no one has to sleep on the streets of Derby. 

During the last nightshelter, Derby City Mission were approached by the local authority to make a joint funding bid to look at preventing, rather than reacting to homelessness. One of the things we were keen to clarify was what controls would be put on the mission to recieve the funding. 

For example what we could say or do. But the local authority recognised our faith as one of our strengths, and encouraged that aspect of our work, rather than discouraging it. 

The bid was submitted, and we committed to pray that if this was from God and work we could undertake for Him and His Kingdom then favour would be found. The outcome was two years of funding for us to look at preventing homelessness across Derby, Derbyshire and part of Staffordshire. In total 12 local authority areas! 

It is fantastic to think that this funding came about because the local authority saw what an impact Christians and other can have when they come together and work together putting doctrinal and expressive differences to one side! 

This is a huge undertaking; Derby City Mission have reorganised and established a new ministry called  Relief of Poverty. We have appointed four new staff, Sarah Fowler in the role of Jubilee Adviser (Jubilee is a debt and benefits advice service), Suzi Allen, administration, and Sandra Dawkins a Senior Missionary to assist in this new work, to include some aspects of mentoring, a new initative we are looking at. 

We are also about to appoint a new Nightshelter Project Manager. 

For the last three years I (Phil Morton) have held this position but am now moving into a new role, overseeing Relief of Poverty, with a particular emphasis on building relationships with churches and local authorities across the 12 different areas, establishing what is already happening out in the county by lots of great churches and individuals, and identifying gaps, or barriers to seeing the homeless helped across this vast area. This is an exciting time, as we expand our influence and see what God wants to do beyond Derby. 

I've already started in this new role, and begun to make contact with churches and projects around the county. But if you know of projects, or are interested in finding out more information or want to initate something new please contact me. Email: phil@derbycitymission.org.uk or 01332 460346

Originally published for the Derbyshire Church Magazine - Issue 187 - Mid June 2017 - Part of Derby Church Net & Valley CIDS