Quaker Homeless Action is a national charity run by a volunteer Council of Trustees, the main objective of which is to alleviate the poverty and distress of homeless people in the UK.

QHA is a small and flexible organization that focuses on projects that are not funded by other organisations. The majority of funding for the work of Quaker Homeless Action comes from donations from Quakers. The charity is one example of Quaker ‘hands-on’ practical help in Britain today.

History of Quaker Homeless Action

Quaker Homeless Action was established in the mid-1960’s when some of the members of the Religious Society of Friends in London recognised a need to offer a Christmas soup run to provide food and friendship to homeless people when many other services in Central London were closed.

This initial project developed into the Quaker Open Christmas, now called The Quaker Christmas Shelter,  running from 23rd to 30th December, staffed by volunteers.

For some ten years now, Quaker Concern for Animals has contributed towards feeding and caring for the dogs who come to the shelter and, from time to time, individual Friends make a special donation to QCA for this fund.

Kate Mellor, Director of QHA, told us:

‘Lady, a guest at the Quaker Christmas Shelter this year, was the only dog willing to be photographed! She was very happy with a new coat, toy, some dog food, a bowl and some treats. Her guardian lives with Lady in a bedsit, is destitute, and came over to the shelter so he could have meals. He was very loving toward his dog companion and was so happy to have these lovely things for her.


I think life on the streets can be very hard for dogs, so we do try to make it a bit easier for them over Christmas.

Not all the dogs we meet are as valued as Lady, which is very unfortunate. Last year, we had to call the RSPCA to investigate a dog ‘owner’ who hit his lovely dog in the shelter. That owner would not let us give his dog any food or treats. It was a tragic experience that fortunately was not repeated this year.’

QCA sends our compliments and thanks to the director and volunteers of  Quaker Homeless Action, whose web site is at







  1. MH

    Many thanks for raising these very legitimate reservations, Malcolm.

    The Hope Project of the Dogs’ Trust gives a lot of help and support to homeless dog guardians and we have in fact contacted them to get more information in this sphere.

    Certainly we can all help homeless people in the way you suggest, and probably some of us do.

  2. Malcolm Winch

    I think there must be cause for concern at possible ill-treatment of dogs in custody of homeless people.
    The situation of homeless people is such that they cannot provide even the minimum standard of care. Also -and we must be realistic about this- many of them have serious substance abuse problems, and are subjected to violence themselves. Many voluntary organisations provide help in the form of food and medical treatment, but the situation of their dogs is often overlooked. There should be a greater awareness of this.
    If you give money to a homeless person, perhaps you can also provide food and water for the dog.
    Possibly young vets could gain experience by holding clinics for the dogs. Or the larger veterinary practices offer pro bono clinics.

    Malcolm Winch
    Blackheath Meeting

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