22 June 2015
Housing the homeless
Green Pastures is a national Christian social enterprise that provides homes for the homeless and those in most need. The social enterprise houses and supports 669 people through a network of 40 partners. Each partner houses the homeless in properties identified by the partner and purchased by us. These partners place the residents, provide pastoral care, maintain the property and receive ongoing support from us. Investors in Green Pastures receive a 5 per cent return on their investment.
Director of Green Pastures Pastor Pete Cunningham shares one of their inspirational success stories:
"A few weeks ago I had the privilege of visiting our partner at the Vineyard Church in Coleraine –a fabulous church doing so much in their community. We bought them a block of 12 flats 15 months ago. These were only five years old and in superb condition.
"It was important for us and the partner that we visited tenants and had the pleasure of meeting a man who had been a homeless pensioner. The flat was beautiful and the walls covered with memorabilia. On the way to the accommodation our host informed us that they had now housed 21 people and 14 of them had come to faith. That was a terrific statistic – 56 per cent of all that had been housed had put their trust in Christ. Fantastic.
"On leaving the pensioners flat our guide asked us to wait while he knocked on the door of another flat. The door opened, revealing a tall, handsome young man in his late 20s. In his arms was a young child of about 18 months and hanging on to his leg a beautiful little girl around about the age of three, who was shy but smiling up at us. After introductions and a brief chat we left and this story was told to me. A year ago this young man was homeless and on the streets. His wife had moved away leaving the children in care. People from the church had met him, taken him in and looked after him. They had housed him in this flat, he had come to faith, got a job, and was helping in their social enterprise. What a transformation over the last 12 months. Then I was told that this was the first time he had his children home for a weekend.
"My eyes fill with tears now to think of the goodness of God in the land of the living. He takes the weak to confound the mighty and the fools to confound the wise. From the "are nots" of this world, He creates the army of God. I thank God that every tenant that is housed by partners across the country. This is truly God in action through a Church that is totally dedicated to serving its community."
Image: Pastor Pete with some of the people the enterprise has helped