Winter Night Shelter

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.              Matthew 25. 36


Holy Innocents, along with six other churches in our area, take part each year in a Night Shelter which runs from December to March every night of the week. Holy Innocents take one night each week and open our doors to welcome homeless guests to stay in the church over night. We provide an evening meal, washing facilities, clothes, and breakfast the following morning. One of the most important things we offer is a warm welcome to guests who have perhaps been on the street all day.

Our shelter is not just about providing a bed for the night. The Haringey Churches Winter Night Shelter support guests in moving into more permanent accomodation and work. The Shelter coordinator works tirelessly in moving guests into more stable accomodation as quickly as possible. As a result, 82% of guests in winter 2011-2012 were moved on into more secure accomodation and work. The huge success of much of this work is done by hugely committed people – many of whom are volunteers.

We can only offer this work because of the generous help and energy of so many people within and without our community. There are lots of church volunteers and volunteers from the local community who help each week with the running of the shelter.

Aims of the Shelter

The Winter Shelter is a church based ‘rolling shelter’ that provides emergency accommodation to Haringey’s street homeless, those at immediate risk of rough sleeping locally and ‘hidden homeless’ during the winter months of December to March. Our maximum capacity is twelve beds. At the discrestion of the co-ordinator, we may be able to accomodate up to three extra guests for evening meal only.

We aim to provide homeless, rough sleepers in Haringey food, shelter, warmth and friendship over night during the coldest winter months. We also aim to proactively assist our homeless guests in an effort to secure 1st and 2nd stage accommodation, and effectively break the cycle of homelessness.

A community project

Many people from Crouch End and Hornsey have taken part in volunteering with the shelter. Teachers and parents from our local schools have also taken part in the project and have helped cook evening meals and breakfasts. Local schools have enjoyed bringing classes along to Holy Innocents during the Shelter to learn about issues around homelessness and what happens at our shelter. School children have also taken part in setting up beds and tables in preparation.

Local people have also been very generous in supporting the project financially. Moors Bar on Park Road have been hugely supportive in raising lots of money for the shelter with special fundraising concerts and film nights. Dunn’s Bakery on Crouch End Broadway support the shelter by giving delicious food to the shelter every week.  We are very grateful to all who have helped in so many ways to help with this excellent work of providing shelter to those who might otherwise sleep rough on the streets of our city.


How can you help?

If you are interested in taking part in the shelter then please speak to Gemma Green, our Night Shelter Coordinator, who will give you more information.

We are always looking for volunteers for our three shifts (Evening, Overnight and Breakfast),  and if you are unable to help physically, financial support is much appreciated. Donations of clothes and toiletries for the guests are most welcome.




Read about our Shelter in the press here:

The Guardian

Tottenham Journal

Holy Innocents Winter Night Shelter

Breaking the cycle of homelessness