Our mission may have been disrupted by coronavirus, but enabling churches to house the homeless is still our vision. In these times of darkness and uncertainty, we remain a people of hope. 

Our Norwich co-ordinator, Tony, described this time as being like thin jars of clay but knowing there is treasure withinThese recent stories reveal the treasures at the heart of our work. May they renew your sense of hope.  

 
1) Shelter and comfort 

 
There was delight and relief when a church moved a family into a new house in time for Christmas. 

When we first met this mum and her 3 boys (virtually) she was at a time-limited safe house. She had ended her relationship with the boys' father because of domestic violence. As the clock ticked, she was under pressure to find new accommodation. Our new house with church support was perfect timing. The move went smoothly, even during the lockdown. Over the weekend there were a few hiccups with the boiler, but it got all sorted out. Even in the short time before Christmas, the eldest boy’s school life improved! 

We pray that this family will find the safety and support they need and that the church’s enthusiasm will grow even more 

 
2) Connections  

A volunteer shared that she plays a daily online game via Facebook with one of our tenants. We provided internet access for this home at the start of the pandemic. This tenant was homeless long-term and shut off from the world. Although an online game sounds trivial, having a regular connection is making a massive difference to his mindset 

 

3) Blessings 

We are thankful for another other Church Group supporting a tenant with covid symptoms. They have offered to take care of her food shop and everything else she needs 

One of the tenants in our mother and baby house has been bidding on council properties for 18 months. She dreamed of a home in the village where her Nan and friends are. But these properties are few and far between so she had resigned herself to being further away, and most likely in a flat despite her love of gardening 

Imagine her joy when she had a call one Thursday offering her a 2 bedroom home with a garden in that exact village. She picked up the keys on the Monday! The church delivered a bed, fridge and sofa… which she said is lovely and purple, “Mfavorite colour”. Another church has provided carpets, a cooker and a freezer. 

She is feeling very grateful and loved and she and her gorgeous 8 month-old were in their new home for Christmas!  

 

4My faith is strengthened 

Sometimes a move on does not go so well at the time but a lockdown walk revealed a gem. 

Laura, Nottingham Co-ordiantorexplains how it can sometimes feel like we have failed our tenants. (I know we haven’t but I sometimes can’t help still feeling that I could have done more, if we had just tried harder.) 

When we first housed this tenant, she vowed to stay off drugs and change her life around. But her life went on a downwards spiral. Sadly, 18 months later we had to move her on for drug use and chaotic behaviour. We celebrated some positive progress whilst with us. She did reconnect with her daughter and other family members. 

A few months after she moved out, I saw her on the streets not looking well at all.  

Today I took a lunchtime walk in the park with my dog and bumped into herPleased to see me, she introduced me to her friend and said thank you for the support we had given her. She is now housed close to her daughter who she is still seeing and she has been clean for 6 months. She certainly looked much better than when last saw her. She recently texted to give me her new number and say again thanks for everything we did. This is not what she was saying at the time we evicted her, in fact, she was saying the opposite!  

You never know the full impact made on someone’s lifeIt is especially hard at the moment when we can’t always meet face to faceThis tenant showed me that even after the worst of times for hershe later felt the care and love she was offered. 

Vision and purpose 

Despite the pandemic, Churches are continuing to open homes to those in urgent need. Every gesture counts, no matter how small. Thank you for the compassion of every single one of our volunteers, donors and those who pray for us. You make our work happen and we could not do it without you. 

A new cycle is beginning in CambridgeRebekah, our city co-ordinator, has collected keys to the 10th Hope into Action house in Cambridge. As we embark alongside the church on readying the house for new tenants, we are so looking forward to seeing more lives changed and more seeds of love planted. 

You may feel this is work you are called to play a part in. You don’t have to be an expert in homelessness (or Facebook games!) to be a part of God’s work through us. We invite you to get in touch to find out what you and your church can do. We would love to hear from you.