An Island View

An Island View

21st September 2020 COVID19, Encourage, Europe

We asked Michael Manning from the Graih* homelessness project on the Isle of Man to share his reflections on his clients and his role during the pandemic:

“Many of those I know through Graih were phlegmatic about the lockdown. ‘I’ve been self-isolating for years’ was a frequent comment. It wasn’t as if people had thriving social lives to begin with.

Strange solidarity

One theme has been that of relief and an increased sense of solidarity; people felt as if everyone now knew what it was like to be isolated. Paradoxically, the lockdown meant that some people that we work with feel more connected to wider society.

Others struggled. Particularly the sociable ones and particularly as time dragged on. Remote contact and pastoral support felt just that: remote. It was better than nothing but it was hard work. As always it has been about trying to maintain calm and stability in the midst of whatever storms people are facing.

Rules and homelessness

We have also seen a lot of confusion about the rules. We know a number of people who have been fined and jailed for breaches of the lockdown. For those struggling with poor mental health it was difficult for them to comprehend what was going on. Other facilities such as residential homes couldn’t cope with people with complex mental illnesses unable to keep the rules and in some cases such people have ended up on the streets and at our shelter.

For those struggling with poor mental health it was difficult for them to comprehend what was going on

Encouraging stability

One theme that has cropped up a lot in recent weeks through our drop-in is the willingness of people to believe the disinformation and conspiracies around COVID. As people continue to struggle with substances and addiction it makes it more difficult to encourage stability when there is a lot of uncertainty and bizarre speculation in society and the media.

I think that people are more aware than ever about the big things that need to change, the transformations that need to occur in individual lives and the world as a whole. We pray that God’s Kingdom of peace and justice will become ever more of a reality in the midst of people’s wounds and a confused world.”

September 2020

*The Graih Project on the Isle of Man is a ‘Home for the homeless’ that runs a drop in center and night shelter.

Join us in prayer for The Graih Project:
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.
2 Thess 3:16