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11 October 2017

Member of the month: Hope into Action

Member of the month: Hope into Action

This month we're celebrating Hope into Action, a charity in Peterborough working to help people out of homelessness.

How did Hope into Action get started?
Hope into Action was started seven years ago by my wife and I. We had met an ex-offender who was homeless on the streets and could not believe that any church in our city was doing anything to give him or people like him a home. Now there are 17 homes in Peterborough run by churches to house the homeless. 

We had an inheritance of £30,000 and rather than keep it in a bank and thereby 'share it with the rich' we felt it better to 'share it with the poor' by buying a house for the homeless. We asked our church if they would like to support it and they did. One home group agreed to support two men; one of those we supported began his journey with us when I went into the prison and met him there, then met at the gate on his release, and then transported him to the home. 

We now have 50 homes across the country for the homeless. Each home is in partnership with a church. Together with our paid and professional Empowerment workers we are able to maintain – at our heart: spiritual passion and professional excellence. 
Tell us a little more about the people you support.

While we started off with a heart for men coming out of prison - and that remains our heart - the model has now been expanded to a wide variety of homeless groups. We combine investment capital with professional staff and the volunteers from churches and now provide support for former prostitutes, those in recovery from addiction, street homeless, those fleeing domestic violence, mothers with their kids who are homeless, refugees, asylum seekers, and those freed from modern slavery.
We believe that underlying their physical homelessness – having nowhere to sleep, addictions, and involvement in crime – lies a relational poverty. They have nowhere to go because they have noone to go to. That is why the support from the Church is so vital: churches provide a relational richness so needed to meet the underlying causes of homelessness.  
You've recently become a member organisation of the Evangelical Alliance – why is being a member important to you?

We asked Steve Clifford, general director of the Alliance, to speak at our conference and he did a great job. Following on from that we just felt we ought to be a part of the Evangelical Alliance because the Alliance is all about unity - it helps us share our model with other churches who might want to adopt it or learn from it. 
What are some of the biggest challenges you face?

Keeping afloat as a charity. There are major challenges to funding in the charity sector - the charity my wife works for went bust last year and four other charities in Peterborough have recently closed down as well. In our last financial year we ran a deficit also. 
How can Christians in the UK support Hope into Action?
We believe that every church has the latent financial, social and spiritual capital needed to run an excellent home for the homeless. Do you have an inheritance or bonus and are wondering what to do with it – why not invest it in a house for the homeless? Are there some people in your church who are able to provide time and friendship for the 'stranger' in your community? 
Of course, we always appreciate prayer and there are opportunities to give to Hope into Action financially. But in the main, if you want your church or churches in your town or city to house the homeless then get in touch. We would love to partner with you or help you work out how you could make it work in your area.   

Find out more about Hope into Action and how you can support them: hopeintoaction.org.uk

As a member of the Evangelical Alliance, Hope into Action is one of 600 organisations supported by the Alliance. We facilitate members' initiatives and campaigns and offer support to increase their impact and provide training for organisations on how to engage with the local government and media.

If you would like to become a member of the Evangelical Alliance as an organisation, church or individual, you can find out more here