Empowerment Workers are the heart and soul of our work. They are trained professionals working alongside tenants during their stay with us. They’re brilliant people; passionate about supporting tenants to turn their lives around, kind, funny and resilient, and willing to give so much of themselves to help others. 

Our team in Peterborough is made up of five empowerment workers who support up to fifty tenants at any one time. We caught up with them recently to find out what life is like as an Empowerment Worker. 

Watching people’s lives change 

“Being part of changing someone’s circumstances and showing them there is hope. That’s what being an Empowerment worker is all about.” 

Empowerment Workers often meet people at their lowest moments. Our tenants come from a range of backgrounds but so often have one thing in common; they have nowhere to go, and no one to turn to. 

Graham joined the team in Peterborough at the start of 2024. He said "The world can seem like a horrible place for some of our tenants, especially when you learn about their back stories. I love building relationships with tenants, treating them like real people whatever their circumstances."  

"Success looks different for each of the people we support. One of the tenants I support has struggled with addiction for a long time, and so in the months I've been supporting him, reducing that dependency becomes a priority, a measure of success. For others, helping them rebuild relationships or find work is the key; I believe our role is to bring as much light as possible into our tenant's lives." 

Of course, there are times when we aren’t able to offer the support and space that someone needs. One Empowerment Worker said “The hardest thing about the role is turning people away because we don’t have enough space. And at the other end, when a tenancy ends in eviction, as people are unable or unwilling to receive the help they need, its really tough because you feel like you’ve been unable to help.” 

Learning every day 

In the middle of the challenges, pressures and joys, each empowerment worker also spoke about the growth they’ve seen in themselves and their own lives. 

“I experienced homelessness with my children myself”, said one Empowerment Worker. “People go through so much trauma in life, and you never know what’s going on until you get to know people. Sometimes people react to certain triggers, or present themselves in an extremes, but that’s not necessarily who they are. I love that we’re able to get alongside people, in the middle of their pain and brokenness, out on the streets with the people Jesus would be with. 

Empowerment might seem like a strange word, but this is our model; empowering churches, to empower their communities and volunteers, who then empower tenants to change their lives. Our front line staff carry this with them wherever they go. 

“I have learnt that I need to put my limitations into God’s hands as His love and power are without limitation. I look to God to empower me, so that I can help our tenants when I’m feeling out of my depth.” 

“Cruel things happen in this world, and in the lives of our tenants, but there is beauty to be seen too”

Thanks to the Peterborough Team, Annet, Rachel, Graham, Chloe and Jaimie who contributed to this article.