Three billboards have been installed in the grounds of a church in Hackney in an effort to raise awareness about homelessness in the borough.
Reverend Dilly Baker, of St Mary’s Church, Stoke Newington, was inspired by the Oscar-winning film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, hoping to cause ‘shock’ by the large figures displayed on the billboards.
The first reads ‘6167 homeless in Hackney’, a figure including people sleeping on the streets, living in temporary or emergency accommodation or couch surfing. This equates to one in every 44 people living in Hackney.
Reverend Baker said: “The billboard literally stops people in their tracks, it has become a talking point, a prompt for people to recall their own stories of poverty or homelessness.
“Every day someone knocks on the rectory door asking for help because they can’t make ends meet. We live in an area of huge wealth but there’s real poverty here too. It’s a tragedy and a sad reflection on our society that in 2018 a rising number of people must resort to food banks.”
St Mary’s currently hosts Hackney Migrant Centre, a weekly food bank and a night shelter during the winter months. However, to meet increased demand for the services they need more space and better kitchen/washroom areas.
Having raised over a million pounds, the church needs a further £250,000 before they can go forth with plans to improve their facilities.
The church is urging local businesses to each donate £1,000, if you would like to donate towards the new centre or find out more, click here.
For more information, please contact Dilly Baker on 07447 902749 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.