2012

Image: Act now to stop legal loan sharks ripping people off! After years of campaigning, Parliament finally started to act to protect people on low-incomes by supporting legal controls on the price of credit. But your voice is urgently needed to ensure these changes come into force as quickly as possible. The new Financial Conduct Authority will have the power to cap credit costs when it takes over regulation of the market in 2014. But in the mean time the Office of Fair Trading remain responsible and they should take action promptly to protect borrowers from the extortionate charges made by legal loan sharks. Act now to stop legal loan sharks ripping people off!   Read More...
Image: One million disabled people left vulnerable by Autumn Statement At least one million disabled people are not 'protected' by the autumn budget statement, despite government claims, says Disability Rights UK. "If you listened to the Autumn Statement and thought you heard 'disability benefits are protected' you may wish to know that Employment Support Allowance (ESA) is not protected and will be subject to a 1% increase for the next three years," the coalition points out. (Ekklesia)    Read More...
Image: Government set to cash in on anti-welfare propaganda

The government's further slashing of the welfare system is being justified through a systematic campaign to allege or imply that a huge number of people receiving support are workless, feckless, dishonest and trapped, says Simon Barrow. This message has been reinforced by the Whitehall emphasis on "strivers not skivers" and a huge tabloid-led media assault based on talking-up, exaggerating and distorting stories of "scroungers". But what is the reality behind these stereotypes and who is really being made to pay for austerity? (Ekklesia)



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Image: Capping the cost of credit – a victory 10 years in the making Almost 10 years to the day from Debt on our Doorstep’s lobby of parliament, the Government yesterday announced it has finally agreed to introduce a cap on extortionate cost of payday loans   Read More...
Image: Breakthrough! 11 European countries unite behind a Financial Transaction Tax Things are moving fast in Europe. 11 countries have now written to the European Commission requesting to implement an FTT under the ‘Enhanced Cooperation Procedure’ (ECP). This passes the nine-country threshold needed to initiate the ECP, meaning this group of progressive countries can now move towards implementation. Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Germany, Greece, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Slovakia and Slovenia will introduce a broad-based FTT covering shares, bonds and derivatives next year which will raise an estimated €37 billion annually.
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Image: New Course from the Craighead Institute

Integrating Life and Faith Course 2013. Each of the four modules of ILF takes place over two days (Saturday and Sunday) from 9.30 am – 4.30 pm.   Would you welcome an opportunity to deepen your appreciation of God’s presence in your everyday life? Then Integrating Life and Faith may be right for you.

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Image: Close the Gap: Ask your MP to speak out on tax dodging Tax dodging has been in the news again. The scale of tax avoidance by international names such as Facebook, Starbucks and Amazon has been exposed. Some MPs are now calling for a Parliamentary Inquiry into these practices. If we act now, we can get more MPs to join them. This is the next step after the highly successful Tax Bus tour, where 5,000 people visited the bus, calling on Cameron to push this issue on the world stage through the 'Tick for Tax Justice'. Email your MP now, telling them to demand a tax dodging inquiry!   Read More...
An interesting radio broadcast on the place of Catholic Social Teaching in modern politics can be found on the BBC iPlayer. It is useful in giving a secular perspective on the place of CST, particularly on the political left, but including conservative views and the place of CST in business.  Unfortunately, if unsurprisingly with the BBC these days, the context is restricted to England. A far better programme would have resulted from including Scottish applications of CST.
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Image: One in five UK workers paid less than the Living Wage One in five workers in the UK – some 4.82 million people – are paid less than the ‘Living Wage’, new research from accountancy firm KPMG shows today.  In a difficult climate of rising prices and increasing costs of living, the impact is falling hardest on these low paid workers with over four in ten saying that their finances are worse now than they were just one month ago.   Read More...
Image: 16 Days of Action For The Elimination of Violence Against Women 25th November to the 10th of December
For the 16 days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence the Scottish Women’s Aid faith communities’ campaign, in collaboration with the Edinburgh Inter Faith Association, will be launching an online exhibition. The 16 Days Campaign provides an opportunity to reflect on what we can do to hold our governments to account and challenge the structures that allow gender-based violence to continue.
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Image: International Day for the Eradication of Poverty - 17 October

This year’s International Day for the Eradication of Poverty will be marked by an event in George Square in Glasgow  between 12pm and 1pm.  The annual event brings together choirs, rappers, poets and musicians to share stories and song. Soup will be available for all that attend.

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Image: Cuts throwing young onto the scrap heap YOUNG people in Scotland are bearing the brunt of sweeping welfare cuts, so much so many are in danger of becoming abandoned by the system.  Charities this week have said UK Chancellor George Osborne’s plans to cut housing benefit to under 25s would result in increased homelessness and unemployment amongst young people.  It also came as a new report from the Scottish Parliament’s Equal Opportunity Committee concluded that young homeless people
in Scotland are being failed by support services, leaving them vulnerable and isolated from mainstream society. (Robert Armour Third Force News)
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Image: National Ethical Investment Week  14 - 20 October 2012 With public interest in ethical finance at an all-time high, churches and faith groups are being urged to use this autumn’s National Ethical Investment Week (NEIW) to spread the word about green and ethical savings, investments and other financial products. Now in its fifth year, NEIW’s 2012 Churches’ Action Guide offers practical information to help raise awareness and worship materials.   Read More...
Image: 11 European Countries Sign Up to a  Robin Hood Tax 11 European countries did something incredible. They pledged their support for a Robin Hood Tax. Now, they can work together in taking the next step in making the tax happen – via ‘enhanced co-operation’ in the European Union. Those 11 countries – Austria, Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain - should be very proud.
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Image: Have you ticked for tax justice yet? - Tax dodging hurts the poor The Tax Justice Bus Tour of Britain and Ireland to bring people together in a bid to end the injustice of tax dodging at home and abroad. Everywhere it goes, it's starting conversations with MPs, councillors, comedians, campaigners, church leaders and anyone else who wants to get on board. The message to them all is simple: it's time for tax justice, at home and overseas.
The're asking everyone to add their own ticks to a petition for tax justice, which will be handed to David Cameron in October.  Add your own tick online, even if you can't catch the Bus yourself.   Read More...
Image: Poetic Justice: an evening of poetry, story and song Part of the Edinburgh World Justice Festival and organised by the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh Justice & Peace office and The Lauriston Jesuit Centre. A cabaret style evening with poets, singers and storytellers sharing their songs, stories and poems inspired by justice and injustice! Come along to be entertained, inspired and reinvigorated for the work of justice and peace! £5 ticket price includes admission and a glass of wine. Thurs 11 Oct, 7:30pm, Lauriston Hall, 28 Lauriston Street Edinburgh.   
Image: Poverty Truth Commission The Poverty Truth Commission have been asked to be a part of the Scottish Government's Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill Reference Group. The Poverty Truth Commission has been a two year project bringing together some of Scotland's civic leaders with people at the sharp end of poverty. They have worked together to discover the truths about poverty, and explore real solutions to it.   Read More...
Image: Welfare reform - the threat behind the incentive Scottish Churches Housing Action, Seminar followed by their AGM, 28 Sept, 2102. Edinburgh City Chambers
The Westminster Coalition says benefits reforms are creating a fairer system that will help claimants into work and protect the most vulnerable – while saving taxpayers’ money. Scottish Churches Housing Action says they will make people homeless, setting back the last 10 years’ progress in Scotland.    Read More...
Image: Lack of affordable housing puts young lives 'on hold' One in five 31-44 year olds who do not have children are delaying starting a family because of the lack of affordable housing. More than one in four (26 per cent) of those who decided to wait say they have been doing so for five years or more. The figures, revealed in a YouGov survey commissioned by the housing and homelessness charity Shelter, represent a 63 per cent increase since 2009. (Ekklesia)
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Image: Barclays makes £500m betting on food crisis Outrage as bank revealed to be major speculator while millions face starvation. Barclays has made as much as half a billion pounds in two years from speculating on food staples such as wheat and soya, prompting allegations that banks are profiting handsomely from the global food crisis. Barclays is the UK bank with the greatest involvement in food commodity trading and is one of the three biggest global players, along with the US banking giants Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, research from the World Development Movement points out.  Tom Bawden, Indpendent, 1/9/12.
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Image: Tax Justice Bus Tour 2012 Seven weeks, 50 towns and cities across Britain and Ireland, one goal: Tax justice for the poorest communities locally and globally
This autumn, Christian Aid and Church Action on Poverty are joining forces to take the campaign for Tax Justice on the road, with a seven-week Tax Justice Bus Tour. Find out when the bus will be visiting Scotland   Read More...
Atos, the company that conducts Work Capability Assessments (WCA) for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), is sponsoring the Paralympics. The irony of this is almost beyond words.
A company causing fear and distress to countless disabled people is attempting to improve its image by associating itself with the achievements of other disabled people, says Bernadette Meaden. (Ekklesia)
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Image: Make Fruit Fair: Last call for supermarkets to stop abusing their buyer power at EU level!!   Following the excellent news that the Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill will be introduced in the UK, Make Fruit Fair would like to ask for you help with their final push to 'Stop Supermarkets abusing their buyer power' at EU level. The international reach of many retail chains means that wider EU measures are needed to ensure fair practices for workers, small producers and consumers.  Please promote thr petition for European regulation of supermarket buyer power.   Read More...
Image: Minimum wage now worth less The national minimum wage is now worth less than it was in 2004 and a higher rate should be introduced for workers aged 25 and over, according to a new report. The Resolution Foundation, an independent think-tank, found that the recently announced increase from £6.08 to £6.19 this October will leave the minimum wage 6 per cent below its 2009 peak in real terms because it has been rising by less than inflation. Andrew Grice, Indpendent, 17/04/12   Read More...
Image: 3rd Scottish Assembly for Tackling Poverty

300 campaigners, policy makers and activists attended the 3rd Scottish Assembly for Tackling Poverty held on 15th and 16th of March 2012. Delegates heard from a range of speakers and participated in a number of evidence sessions aimed at finding new ways to tackle poverty. Videos and interviews from the event are available   

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The first Annual Report of the Child Poverty Strategy was laid in the Scottish Parliament on 22 March. The report highlights some of the key measures taken by the Scottish Government since the publication of the Child Poverty Strategy for Scotland in March 2011, and references some of the activity that will be taken forward across the 3 year span of the strategy.
 
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Image: Scotland's Poverty Truth Commission

The Poverty Truth Commission has been a two-year project bringing together some of Scotland’s civic leaders with people at the sharp end of poverty. They have worked together to discover the truths about poverty, and to explore real solutions to it. Our motto, taken from post-apartheid South Africa, is: "nothing about us without us is for us". We believe that  poverty will never be truly addressed until those who experience it firsthand are at the heart of the process. The Poverty Truth Commission has been a groundbreaking experiment in social policy thinking, based on the premise that people living at the harsh end of poverty should have a defining voice in seeking genuine solutions in public life and in governance.



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Image: There's still time to email your MP about Fair Taxes before the Budget! You still have time to make sure your MP understands how important it is that we take action for Fair Taxes. If enough MPs speak out, there is a real chance that next week's Budget could put in place a 'General Anti-Avoidance Rule' (GAAR). This would prevent wealthy individuals and companies from using contrived financial structures to shield themselves from their tax bills. The poorest pay more of their income in tax than the richest. An effective General Anti-Avoidance Rule will not solve that injustice, but it is an essential first step. 369 have emailed their MPs so far about this. Please join them - take two minutes to email your MP
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Image: Close the Gap: Email your MP - make sure the Budget includes action on tax avoidance! In the UK there is a multi-billion pound industry whose aim is to find clever ways for its wealthy customers to avoid paying tax. The industry is legal, thriving, and denies UK tax-payers at least £25 billion each year. That is more than the amount the Government is trying to cut from the benefits bill - which means that tax avoidance amounts to robbing people in poverty. This is why we are campaigning for Fair Taxes.  Please take two minutes to email your MP now and ask them to support calls for a 'General Anti-Avoidance Rule'.
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The government has lost a record eighth vote in the House of Lords over its plans to severely cut and restructure the British welfare system. An amendment to the Welfare Reform Bill, overturning a move to cut payments to specific council tenants with one spare bedroom, was carried by ten votes. The bill is now due to go back before the House of Commons, with the government defiant but a huge swathe of political popular and public opinion - including charities and others making up Mr Cameron's 'Big Society' - wishing to see significant changes. Source Ekklesia

 

 

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The House of Commons debated the Welfare Reform Bill for the last time on 1 February 2012 following a record seventh defeat for the government in the House of Lords.  The coalition has a 70-seat majority at Westminster and the Prime Minister and his colleagues are determined to ignore the massive weight of opinion against them from parliamentarians of all parties, charities, churches, medical professionals, people living with disability and poverty, children's advocates, academics, researchers, community organisations, faith groups, public figures and many thousands of constituents who have been lobbying their MPs. (Ekklesia)   Read More...
A recent statement of the Bishops of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE)  discusses options for the management of the EU rooted in Catholic Social Teaching. A European Community of Solidarity and Responsibility is a significant document  for consideration at a time when Europeans face difficult choices.   Read More...
In his 2012 message to the Vatican’s diplomatic corps, Pope Benedict said said that environmental protection and the connection between fighting poverty and fighting climate change are important areas for the promotion of integral human development   Read More...
Buoyed by a stunning victory in the House of Lords, disabled rights activists and their supporters are pledging to step up the campaign for welfare justice. Now Labour MP John McDonnell has tabled a Parliamentary Question asking for a statement from the Government in response to the 'Responsible Reform' report (also known as the Spartacus report) produced by disabled people themselves. This exposes what critics calls the 'sham' official consultation on Disability Living Allowance (DLA).   Read More...
Study refutes claim that foreign nationals are depriving British-born workers of jobs. There is no link between rising immigration and rising unemployment, independent economists have found - contradicting persistent claims from anti-immigration activists and politicians that an influx of foreign nationals into the UK in recent years has led to more British-born workers on the dole.
Ben Chu, Independent, 10/10/12   Read More...
Image: Poverty & Homelessness Action Week.  28 January – 5 February 2012 - Breaking Barriers Our world is filled with barriers between people. Barriers that prevent us from understanding one another. They are created by unfair benefits rules and inadequate wages. By the stigma attached to being poor or homeless. And by the growing gap between the richest and poorest people in our society. Churches and community projects can break these barriers. They can challenge prejudice, enable excluded people to live full lives, and build a fairer world. Work with us in Poverty & Homelessness Action Week 2012 to break the barriers that trap people in poverty and homelessness.
Let’s have a cup of tea day! for Scottish Churches Housing Action...during Action Week   Read More...

2011

The online prayer calendar for Poverty & Homelessness Action Week 2012 has been released.  Visit the Action Week site to follow day-by-day, and explore the barriers that people face – barriers of Housing Benefit; silence; lack of support; stigma; inadequate housing supply; low pay; rough sleeping; and unjust taxation.  All these and more combine to prevent people in poverty and experiencing homelessness from full participation in 21st-century life.   Read More...
'Social theologian Fr Donal Dorr has an interesting perspective on the background and legacy of the Synod document 'Justice in the World' on its 40th anniversary'   Read More...
An amendment to the Welfare Reform Bill to protect the benefits of disabled children once Universal Credit is introduced has been defeated in the House of Lords. Three amendments were defeated altogether, as government supporters pushed ahead with their plan to make the poor and vulnerable pay for what critics say is the excess and failure of their allies in the City. The amendment was defeated by a very small margin (187 votes to 189), the closest vote seen so far - something which has given some encouragement to disabled rights campaigners over upcoming struggles.    Read More...
The Welfare Reform Bill is the biggest change to the welfare state for sixty years. It contains proposals and benefit cuts that threaten the wellbeing of children, women and disabled people. The House of Lords begins its Report Stage on the Bill today. This is when crucial votes will happen on the most controversial parts of the Bill. The votes will continue into January. Please take action by emailing at least one Lord   Read More...
'If you want to do something more than go with the flow of Christmas consumerism you could do worse than visit the CASC-Aid site for 50/50 giving. It gives ideas fort a radical redistribution of Christmas spending.'   Read More...
Image: World AIDS Day Two prayers for World AIDS day takes place on the 1st of December.   Read More...
A joint report published by the Children's Commissioner's for Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland has warned that the Government's spending cuts as well as welfare reforms could push many families and children into poverty.The Commissioners expressed fears that the most vulnerable in society are facing disproportionate hardship.   
On November 8th, following Ethical Consumer's article on the ethics at outsourcing companies, a new Early Day Motion asking the Government to exclude companies with operations in tax havens from bidding for public service contracts was placed before the UK Parliament. The Motion has six sponsors: Caroline Lucas (Green), Jonathan Edwards (Plaid Cymru)), George Andrew (LibDem), Alan Meale (Lab), Adrian Sanders (Lib Dem) and Mike Weir (SNP).   Read More...
Church Action on Poverty says it is "delighted" at the first success of their campaign to 'Close the Gap' between rich and poor through fairer taxes. The government announced earlier this week that it is to close a tax loophole that has allowed retailers to avoid paying VAT by sending goods from subsidiaries in the Channel Islands. Low Value Consignment Relief (LVCR) will not apply to goods sent from the Channel Islands to the UK from 1 April.   Read More...
Representatives from 15 faith traditions gathered at the Sacred Land Celebration in Assisi, Italy from 31 October to 2 November 2011 for the launch of the Green Pilgrimage Network, organised by the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) in association with the World Wildlife Fund(WWF).   Read More...
The Pontifical Council for Justice & Peace has just published a document about Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in a way that Responds to the Needs of all Peoples. It contains a good history of recent economics as seen through Catholic Social Teaching and would make an excellent basis for discussion by J&P groups old and new. The document can be read in under half an hour and gives a good non technical grounding to consider the present economic crisis.   Read More...
17 October
This day is marked annually in George Square at the site of the ATD Fourth World stone, one of a number around the world. This year's event is being organised by Bridging the Gap, supported in this by Givin' It Laldie, a community music project and Poverty Alliance plus other interested individuals. It will take place in George Square on Monday 17 October 1-2pm   
Saturday 1 October 2011
'WORK AND SOCIAL JUSTICE' Renfield St Stephens Centre, 260 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4JP Registration from 10.30.  Finishes 3.45. Speakers:
• Professor Greg Philo, research director of Glasgow University Media Unit
• Geraldine Donnelly and Susan Cassidy of Communitas
• Tim Duffy of Justice and Peace   Read More...
THE number of children being brought up in Scottish households where no adults are working has increased. Under-16s living in homes without adults with paid jobs rose to 145,000 (15.8 per cent of all under-16s) this year from 141,000 (15.3 per cent) last year.   Read More...
Please ask your MP to complete the poverty survey!
Ask your MP to complete the poverty survey To mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (17 October) this year, the All-Party Parliamntary Group on Poverty are launching a survey of MPs and peers. They want to identify the key areas policy-makers should be focussng on to address the long-standing problems of poverty and social exclusion in the UK.   Read More...
Have you pledged to 'Close the Gap' yet?
This month Church Action on Poverty are calling on you to speak out about legal loan sharks where you live as thousands of low-income families are being charged 500% APR for credit.   Read More...
Scottish Churches Housing Action looks to historic target – and beyond
Scottish Churches Housing Action announced details of a seminar on 30 September 2011 to bring housing professionals and activists together to assess progress towards the Scottish Government's target of an entitlement to a home for almost all homeless people by 2012.   Read More...
The Bishop of Aberdeen and the Bishop of Menevia have issued their joint message for Sea Sunday on 10th July
The Bishops urge all to support the vital work of the Apostleship of the Sea. 90% of world trade is transported by ship, however the life of a modern seafarer can be dangerous and lonely. They may spend up to a year at a time away from home, separated from their family and loved ones, often working in harsh conditions.   Read More...
Please sign the petition, calling for action to share ownership and wealth in a co-operative way.
Church action on Poverty are working in partership with Co-operatives UK to promote this year's Co-operatives Fortnight. Co-operatives UK share Church Action on Poverty's concern at the scale of the growing gap between rich and poor. They're using Co-operatives Fortnight this year to call for action to narrow the gap, by sharing wealth and ownership in a co-operative way. They want 100,000 people to sign a petition calling for action.   Read More...
Since the recession hit, a third of families are now spending more each month than they have coming into their households. Four in 10 Britons are worried about their debt, five million are permanently overdrawn, and 22% will carry a credit card debt throughout 2011. The payday lending industry and other legal loan sharks are taking advantage of a lack of access to credit faced by many of these consumers as they try to make ends meet, lending them money on which they charge interest rates up to 4,000% or more.   Read More...
Government 'Big Society' rhetoric is toothless and may be used to wash ministerial hands of responsibility for the impact of spending cuts, the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster warns. Archbishop Vincent Nichols, spiritual head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, said he backed an expansion of voluntary and community engagement, but not at the expense of proper societal and governmental responsibility.   Read More...
Closing Gathering 16 april 2011
The Closing Gathering of the Poverty Truth Commission took place on Saturday afternoon in front of an audience of more than 350 people. A full copy of the report is now available on line   Read More...

Contact details for candidates in the Scottish election and initial responses to the survey on Trident have been added to the Scotland’s for Peace website 

Churches vote Being responsible Christians requires us to assess the candidates who are standing for election and to do this in light of the values of the Gospel. The aim of this website is to assist Christians in that task by making known the policy positions of parties and by drawing attention to important teachings of Christianity

Scottish Catholic Parliamentary Office

Compare the Parties

Hustings Guidance

Stop Climat Chaos Scotland - A manifesto for climate action 2011 Scottish Parliament elections

  

Say Church Action on Poverty
George Osborne has completely failed to acknowledge the genuine hardship that millions of people in this country are now facing. The Budget speech did not make a single mention of people in poverty, or of the huge cuts which are about to affect the benefits system. The Government has not kept its promise to protect the poorest and most vulnerable from the impact of its spending cuts   Read More...
Planning an Election Meeting   Read More...
In a landmark case human rights activists hope will reduce a culture of impunity for sex crimes in the beleaguered central African country, a military court has convicted a lieutenant colonel in the Congolese army to 20 years' imprisonment for mass rapes committed on New Year's Day. Simon Akam, Independent, Tuesday, 22 February 2011   Read More...
Email Chris Huhne now
Help Stop the UK Poverty Rip-Off
If you think that poorer families - who are paying the poverty premium - should get the automatic rebate, take one minute to tell Chris Huhne now   Read More...
Email your MP today to stop legal loan sharks
There is a debate in Parliament on Thursday 3 February about consumer credit regulation. Britain is unusual in that we do not have a law capping the total cost of credit companies can charge. This debate is an opportunity to start changing that - and you can help.
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Image: Poverty and Homelessness Action Week Poverty & Homelessness Action Week 2011 will run from 29 January to 6 February. 30 January is Homelessness Sunday and 6 February is Poverty Action Sunday. Raise your voice and make sure that everyone is counted!   Read More...