People in churches showing the love of Jesus are an essential part of accomplishing Hope into Action’s mission to house the homeless.

It can seem that if you’re experiencing homelessness that the answer to your immediate need is a handout or a roof over your head. Our experience at Hope into Action is of a wider issue beyond that: the lack of relationship or relational poverty.

Government stats seem to back this up. Approximately two thirds (66%) of those leaving prison go on to re-offend. The rate for those living in stable accommodation is lower, 51%. At Hope into Action that figure drops even further to 11%. For every ten people leaving prison to settle in a Hope into Action home, surrounded by the love of a church, one might re-offend (and even then we often re-home them).

Bishop Graham Tomlin explained it well in our Call to Alms webinar last spring.

“What so often is needed is not just a home but a stable community to come around them and support them in their life and to be part of, to make their contribution to society.”

And that is why we believe the church is such an important player in this field. The Christian Church has a presence in, and a commitment to, every community across the nation that few other institutions have. The church is strategically placed to answer the problem of homelessness.

Our mission at Hope into Action is to enable churches to do just that, to show hospitality to the poor. Our partnership with churches is designed to create experiences that grow and inspire. As people volunteer with their churches in partnership with Hope into Action, we see people growing in their discipleship.

In our digital age and compounded by the social distancing of COVID, it can be easy to forget the living presence of the risen Lord in our lives. Where then, and how, can we meet Jesus each day? We believe one of the ways to meet Him is in loving service to those who live on the periphery of society, the homeless.

People who have experienced the trauma of homelessness don’t need just food handouts. Practical help, skills and friendship combine to give dignity and inclusion. As Church volunteers walk alongside, listen, and sometimes challenge, they build life changing relationships.

“I know they are not going to give up on me, I’ve become more confident” Chelsea, tenant.

Whilst you don’t need any special skills, befriending is not always easy. Some of the toughest aspects are due to the relational element of the role as people journey out of the trauma of homelessness. Sometimes people don’t turn up for appointments, there can be tensions between tenants in a house and signs of alcohol or drug abuse relapse.


“I’ve always been a Hope into Action volunteer with our church – but it hasn’t always been a bed of roses when new tenants come in. We get a huge amount of support from Hope into Action, which is really valuable, especially in situations where we feel outside of our comfort zone.” Helen, Church Volunteer

Our HOPE training prepares you for situations that might arise. Our teams are on hand to support you every step of the way. We offer monthly training online and the opportunity to connect at events and prayer days. And volunteers tell us there are highlights in the seemingly everyday:

  • “Spending a day with the team getting a house ready for a new tenant, scrubbing, mopping, drilling, planting and putting furniture together.”
  • “Listening as a tenant opens up”
  • “Sitting around a table and enjoying food and family”
  • “Seeing a tenant at church”
  • “Developing trusting relationships with other volunteers in the group, recognising how our contributions complement each other”

So volunteers can concentrate on relationship building, Hope into Action takes care of fulfilling the legal and compliance side of tenancies. Once your tenant has moved in, Hope into Action are responsible for collecting rent / housing benefit. We regularly inspect the house and co-ordinate any repairs.

Is God calling you in your church to meet the homelessness need and bear witness to the love of Christ for those people experiencing homelessness?

If you are already doing this work, thank you. If you would like to find out more about how you can be a part of this, then do contact us here.

“Sometimes I ask myself ‘Where does God want me to be?’. I think my work with Hope into Action is a small part of where He wants me to be – but a very important one. Also, I’ve realised that it’s just as much for my benefit as it is the people I support; it’s incredibly humbling to be a part of someone’s transformation.” Helen, Church Volunteer