December is a time we look back, reflect, appraise, learn from the challenges and remember the good.

We’d like to say thank you to everyone who has played a part in getting us through 2021. Staff, tenants, volunteers, churches, investors, supporters and our franchise friends; we draw so much inspiration from you all.

How do I sum up all we’ve been through in 2021? Despite the challenges of COVID, together we’ve:

  • never had such a strong pipeline of churches (22)
  • never had such a strong pipeline of homes (28)
  • never had a relationship with so many towns (35),
  • never had so many new towns coming for training (3 in January coupled with 5 in last May),
  • never had such strong outcomes (95% maintaining their tenancy for example).
  • in a really tough financial year we’ve never had such a generous response to an appeal (you raised 30% more than last year),

Perhaps most inspiring is the wide range of churches (in terms of denominations, sizes, styles) all responding to God’s heart to empower the dis-inherited. With 22 new churches opening homes – God’s church is alive and, despite all the challenges of 2021, offering love and homes to some of the most disenfranchised in their communities.

Just on Monday we opened our 95th home in partnership with our 85th Church! 

Here are just four stories which I hope give you a flavour of our work:

Last week – we opened a home in Reading. Without this home a gentlemen would have been rough sleeping – instead, thanks to your support, he was welcomed with love, cards and chocolates to the point he was nearly in tears of gratitude.
‘In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord make me dwell in safety.’ Psalm 4:8’

The week before a lady moved into another home and was welcomed in by the church. She was pregnant and, had spent the night before sleeping in a shed. A story that reminds me of the homeless and rejected Mary also carrying a precious child. We pray for her transition into motherhood. 

‘Jesus said: Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to these.’ Matt 19 vs 14

I recently visited a church with 2 homes, supporting 5 tenants all of whom have sustained a recovery from addiction and are slowly re-building their lives with work, volunteering and gardening. 2 of them have been baptised. Jesus said: I have come to release the oppressed and proclaim the year of the Lords favour.Luke 4 16-18!

I also loved experiencing the gratitude and hospitality of a Muslim refugee family who had fled violence overseas and had found safety in a church run home. I kept the flower they gave me on my desk for months afterwards.‘Be a refuge for those fleeing the killing fields,’ Isaiah 16:3

Our over-riding aim is for the tenants in our homes to experience God’s love through the local church. And in these stories I hope you get a taste of our mission; a sense that our vision is being realised as people share their wealth with the poor so a movement of churches can provide those recovering from homelessness with a home….all aspects of a home.
Have a great Christmas and New year. Thanks, once again, for your support.

Ed Walker and Everyone at Hope into Action