Chaplain to the Homeless


The Reverend Jo Richards, based in Canterbury, has taken on the role of Chaplain to the Homeless.

Jo was licensed as Rector in 2018 and became acutely aware that she was given the cure of souls to all those who lived, worked, and worshipped within the boundaries of her Benefice of St Dunstan, St Mildred and St Peter, Canterbury. During her years serving Canterbury, Jo got to know a number of homeless people.

Jo was involved with the Winter Night Shelter Scheme, when local churches working with Catching Lives provide accommodation in our church halls for three months of the year. This winter, St Dunstan's Hall in Canterbury will be used as part of the Winter Night Shelter Scheme for the first time. 

Jo said, “This was an opportunity to hear the back story as to why some folks find themselves on the street. It is a reminder that we are all vulnerable, and it doesn’t take much to begin a downward spiral: often the breakup of a relationship, or loss of a job.”

Jo’s chaplaincy work sees her be a listening ear on the street. She works closely with Catching Lives, Porchlight, Canterbury City Council, and local police/PCSOs as well as conducting her own prayer walks around the city.

Jo’s chaplaincy work is not new. She explained, “To be chaplain to the homeless is something that I am effectively doing already. It is more a case of formalising this role and raising the profile within the context of the deanery (and beyond) but also with other agencies including Catching Lives, Porchlight, Canterbury City Council, and the local police, again with whom I have a close relationship.”