Tribute to Lodging House Mission Director Stephen Mitchell, who dedicated his life to helping the homeless
Tributes were paid to a man who dedicated his life to helping the homeless and marginalized population of Glasgow.
Stephen Mitchell, Director of Lodging House Mission, died on February 7 at the age of 60.
A two minute silence will take place this afternoon to remember Stephen, who has been described as a “dedicated and caring champion for the homeless and marginalized in Glasgow”.
For over thirty years, Stephen worked tirelessly to help those most in need first through the Wayside Day Center (later known as The Marie Trust) and then the Lodging House Mission, of which he became director. in 2018.
Through his work, he has created a caring environment for the city’s homeless men and women, helping them with everything from welfare benefits to food and emotional support. He was known to go above and beyond to make anyone he came into contact with felt welcome.
Martin Johnstone, who worked alongside Stephen at the Wayside Day Center and Marie Trust, said: “I remember one client, whose recovery Stephen had supported, called him tirelessly every week for many years since. Canada where he had resettled. Stephen had left his mark. And I’m sure the customer too. Stephen remembered the people. He let them in and didn’t forget them.
He added: “He developed relationships where it became possible for some to begin to trust those who previously couldn’t, confident they were of his care, warmth, and acceptance of them. He did it all with a lightness and humor that encouraged and strengthened crushed spirits.
“That his job in homelessness was his life is true, but only in part. Having been his colleague, and hopefully a friend, for many years, it was evident that Stephen’s priorities were primarily his family and his faith. His work model was to always start early. It was no accident. His goal was to return home and have as much time as possible with his family. So while he was a social being who enjoyed a gathering where he was faster than anyone with a pun or punchline and didn’t hesitate to sing enthusiastically, he was always kept in his time with his. family and his church. Stephen spoke openly about his faith and his family. ‘God bless you!’ would generally be his words on separation. I was lucky to know him. ”
As the coronavirus pandemic began in early 2020, Stephen quickly adapted the work of Lodging House Mission to focus efforts where they were needed most and could have the greatest impact.
It is through her work that other agencies across the city were able to provide essential items, including emergency clothing and hot meals, to people who were homeless during the crisis.
Deacon Claire Herbert said: “When Lodging House Mission had to close due to Covid-19 in March 2020, Stephen himself was ill. Within weeks he got back to work and ensured that LHM’s resources (space and donations) were able to support the entire homeless sector.
“He reached out to our partner agencies and was able to multiply the effect of the impact that we were able to have. Stephen was generous with the provisions he had at his disposal, never losing sight of what was given was for the benefit of others and not to promote us.
“Our team was on leave until November and during those months Stephen worked with a small team of dedicated volunteers to continue to achieve the mission’s goal of – reducing the damage caused by the experience of homelessness. and poverty, he completely reorganized working methods, and serving, to better help the most vulnerable in the city.
“Partner agencies have been given offices to continue their support, food supplies have been donated to Marie Trust and the Glasgow Overnight Welcome Center, a meal voucher system has been set up with a local take-out restaurant for ensuring a hot meal was available, emergency clothing, toiletries and kettle food packs were packed by volunteers from donations delivered by churches across Glasgow. These articles have been delivered to groups such as the Red Cross, Ubuntu, Street Soccer Scotland, Turning Point, Fares for Free and Simon Community to help their customers.
She added, “It is Stephen’s investment of time and his personal touch throughout the challenges and continuous changes of 2020 that made this wide range of work possible. at home, meeting clients at the door or talking with them on the phone and even having a socially distant meeting to celebrate our chef’s long service, Mark, in November.
“Stephen was only 60 years old and celebrated his birthday with the LHM team this summer. Despite his brief stint at LHM, everyone here felt his loss. It was a great frustration to him that the lockdown meant he couldn’t enjoy the great outdoors as much as he would have liked as an avid hiker. “
Since 1988, Sister Marie has worked closely with Stephen at the Wayside Day Center, Marie Trust and Lodging House Mission and described him as “working tirelessly to improve the lives of those with whom he came in contact.”
She added: “My experience of him as a colleague at The Wayside and most recently when I volunteered with both The Marie Trust and The Lodging House Mission was that he was constantly looking for new opportunities to improve the lives of those who looked to him for help. Stephen, my prayer for you now is that you reap the rewards for your work in Heaven. “
Vicent O’Donnell, who worked with Stephen at the Wayside Day Center, said his energy and personality were instrumental in creating a safe environment where people received practical help with their difficulties.
He added: “He was just spending time with those who came to the center, befriending them and making them feel welcome and special. He was warm and great company. Always ready with the joke. foolish or mind aside; always looking to ease the burden of those who have come his way. Always looking for the opportunity to make life a little better for others. And there were many people whose life was better for having met him. I consider myself one and am very saddened by his suddenly leaving us. “
Among the organizations affected by Stephen’s work is Social Bite, who described him as “a man of heart who has dedicated his life to supporting the homeless in Glasgow”.
They said: “Stephen went above and beyond the efforts of the emergency response to Covid and assisted many other key partners in their distribution of food and essential items. He has been especially kind to help cook and prepare hundreds of Christmas dinners in the Glasgow area. to support those who need it most. We are honored to have known such an incredible person, may he rest in peace. “
A two-minute silence will be reserved for Stephen at noon today. Lodging House Mission invites people to take a break wherever they are to remember his loved ones and their own memories of him.