Last night, as I pulled up my car to the office, I saw a lady approach our bins, look inside of both and then wandered off, carrying 2 bags in her arms. Was she looking for something to eat or somewhere to sleep?  

The Christian faith was birthed in homelessness. Did Mary have to scavenge for food?  

I suspect that lady has suffered enormous loss. This year everyone of us have faced loss and pain also 

The pandemic has over-ruled so much of personal life and work.  At work: we had to cancel the conference, many speaking events and staff get-togethers. We changed our entire operating procedures.   We saw many house purchases go into the sand. We missed seeing each other every day. We lost one tenant to the virus. 

In it we asked ourselves: what is our unique prophetic voice in this? What should we be saying?  

We then launched an appeal: A Call to Alms. ‘The Homeless numbers will rise, there is a tsunami of need about to hit our country. Government and other agencies will struggle. The homeless need the church like never before’  - we cried. 

That was in May. 

Homeless deaths have risen this year for the 5th year running. Homelessness, as we predicted, is on the rise. The lady I observed last night is a human face of that.  

The good news is that the churches are responding. Since May we have opened 7 homes, each one in partnership with a church. Currently 70 churches supporting over 80 homes! We have 18 in the pipeline. Behind that we are about to offer new franchises to 3 new towns and have a number of other churches lined up also. From Southampton to Northumberland, from Great Yarmouth to Bristol, from Dover to Coventry – churches are providing homes and loving relationships to the homeless.  

We define success as when our tenants feel loved. We believe that if people feel safe and loved they are more likely to make good choices. We’ve heard countless stories of churches meeting with supporting their tenants AND tenants caring for and supporting our church volunteers. Our outcomes’ are indicators that our model is enabling tenants to rebuild, and once again, this year, despite our growth – they have come out very strong.  

Finally – despite the economic hardship, many people reading this have given to us, have supported us financially and in prayer. Our staff have worked incredibly hard. Our church partners have continued to look beyond themselves. People have continued to invest and pledge investment. So we say thank you. We are incredibly humbled to work with every one of you, we see Gods hand of love reaching out to the poor in every penny donated and every tiny act of outreach. We wish every blessing on everyone of you!