Image Credit: The News, Portsmouth

Homelessness is such a big issue here in Portsmouth. As a church, we talked and prayed about it long and hard before embarking on our Hope into Action adventure. We wanted to ensure God was on board with our ideas and to invite other churches to be involved, so that it was something that belonged to the whole city, not just our church.

When Ed and Nigel came to do a presentation outlining Hope into Action’s holistic approach to tackling homelessness in January 2018, it felt as if half the city council came along. They really bought into the idea, reassured that once the Hope into Action – Portsmouth franchise was set up, all they’d need to do was to keep communicating with us to help us reach the people so desperately in need of our support. The council committed £4,000 to get us registered and it’s fair to say we hit the ground running from the start; managing to get not one, but two houses up and running in record time.

It’s not just about the bricks and mortar though; meaningful relationships are what help to rebuild broken lives. Just giving homeless people a home and leaving them to get on with it without any back-up isn’t what we’re about; through the Hope into Action model, we can give them the tools and support they need to put their lives back together again. It’s about empowerment. Hope into Action has a robust and resilient tenant process, which has been incredibly important to us in our work to support our recovery houses. When people with addictions come out of rehab, it’s vital they have somewhere dry and clean to stay, because if their recovery has any chance of being maintained, everyone living in the house must share the same goal – to stay clear of their addictions.

Portsmouth City Council has already seen the benefit of Hope into Action – Portsmouth’s work to house and befriend the city’s most vulnerable people; 92% of our tenants maintain their tenancy and they’re not reoffending. As a result of these positive outcomes, they’ve promised to hand over more council-owned properties to us to manage. Hope into Action is actively encouraging other franchises to work with their local councils. We have other private rental properties in the pipeline, so it looks like Hope into Action – Portsmouth is set to continue growing apace.

For supporters looking for a tax efficient way of investing in God’s Kingdom, the Hope into Action model is a win-win for everyone; investors can rest assured knowing that the value of their rental property is increasing, but without all the hassle of being a landlord. It’s a no-brainer really. In addition to the various support groups our tenants have access to, we run a faith-based recovery course in conjunction with two other churches, which has proved really powerful. All this seems pretty impressive when you consider that North End isn’t a big, sexy megachurch – we’re just a small congregation of about 60 people. But let’s face it, when God’s involved, anything is possible.

If you are inspired by Tracey’s story, then get in touch with us to find out how your church could join in.

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