12 members of Nottingham congregation buy house and help the homeless
Twelve members of local churches in
Nottingham have started a special housing project in the city, which is
both a sound investment and benefits those in need.
Each has invested £10,000 of their own
money and together they have bought a house in their area to house 2 or
3 homeless people.
The project, the second such with local
churches in Nottingham, in partnership with another charity called Hope
“We are delighted to support this radical use of money from
members of local churches
and most importantly see people mentor and be-friend the tenants
in the house.”
Rev Canon Alan Howe, Vicar of Christ Church, Chilwell, Nottingham.
into Action has been operating in Nottingham for just over one
year and we are delighted to partner with
Hope Nottingham and local churches to house the homeless.
There is still huge need in the City for more homes for the
homeless and our dream is to have a home linked to many more
churches in the City”
Ed Walker, Founder and Executive Director
of Hope into Action. - Shown Below
Case study 2
Phillipe-was living in a
tent before he entered one of our houses.
He has a background in hard drugs.
He wrote the following
before leaving our house and going for a bike ride round Britain: 7th
February 2013 was the last time I took Methadone, which ended a long and
sometimes dark relationship with hard drugs.
This journey will help
to completely cleanse me in body, mind and spirit; it’s part of me
getting, and remaining, clean and getting away from temptation.
As part of my spiritual
journey I find a lot of peace in the great outdoors, being on my own
will allow me to reflect and find myself.
I just need to get away
from prescription drugs like Methadone, and other drug users who try to
I want to find time to come into contact with God.
I would like to find my real purpose in life, to find out who I am.
Case study 3
From Inmate to Housemate
When I was released from prison, some member of the church met me at the
gates and took me to the house.
No-one had ever done that for me before and it made me feel a bit less
anxious. I felt like someone cared about what happened to me.
We arrived at the
Hope into Action house
and I was told that it would be my home. The house itself was so lovely.
It was clean and had everything I would need. People from the church had
pitched in to help furnish the house, so I had a bed to sleep on, a sofa
to sit on and a table to eat at. I was surprised that people who I’d
never met had obviously put in so much effort to make it feel homely for
That first night, I had a welcome meeting with Steve, the vicar of the
partner church. We had a meal together, cooked by one of the volunteers
at the house. For the first time in as long as I could remember, I felt
welcome and wanted.
Steve talked through everything with me and reassured me that the people
from Hope into Action would help support me getting back into
employment. We also went through lots of other housekeeping things
together like paying bills, so that I knew exactly what needed to be
paid and when. He said it might take a while for my benefits to arrive,
so they gave me some Foodbank vouchers to get me through in the
I met my housemate the day I moved into the Hope into Action house. It
felt a bit strange to suddenly be sharing a house with a stranger, but
in some ways, I liked the fact that I wasn’t on my own. He’d been there
a while, so he seemed very much at home and said he’d show me the ropes
over the next few days. I was pleased there was someone who I could ask
where the nearest bus stop was and the local shop.
It was an amazing feeling to have my own room for the first time in
ages. Just the privacy of not having to share a bedroom felt good. It
was really peaceful – I hadn’t realised how much the noise of the prison
bothered me until I noticed the peace and quiet of the Hope into Action
Having a bathroom felt like a bit of a luxury after sharing facilities
with loads of other blokes in prison. Someone had thoughtfully provided
some clean towels and toiletries to me to use, so that I could freshen
It’s hard to describe how I felt the first night I slept in the Hope
into Action house; I think it was a mixture of anxiety and excitement.
Here I was, in my new home, living with someone I’d only met an hour or
so before. Everything was different.
The weirdest thing was that a bunch of complete strangers from a church
I’d never been to have worked so hard to make me feel wanted and
seemed to care what happened to me. I wasn’t used to feeling like that.
It was strange…. but I really felt touched by it.
We find homes for many people who have been in prison.
The church – a refuge for those on the edge
My experience is that the church as an establishment often struggles to
love and accept the addict, but God doesn’t. God welcomes them
wholeheartedly, He loves the marginalised as they are, His patience is
never exhausted, and His love and forgiveness never runs out. Allow me
to tell you a part of my story and share with you my heart.
I have had two distinct experiences of church, two very different
approaches to me and my addiction.
In my first experience I was told to repent if I want a relationship
with God, to simply break free of my addiction if I want to continue
being an active member of the church and I was rejected by many of my
Christian friends. All this did was reinforce my need for the substances
of my choice, it drove me into deeper despair and I turned to my drink
and my drugs for the comfort and relief I needed from that despair.
The church that treated me this way looked wonderful. You could leave
your handbag unattended and let your kids play in the other room. It had
a well-equipped building, smiles on every face, no cussing, and quiet
during the sermon. It looked great on the outside, but it had no place
for the marginalised of society. If you didn’t fit into their image,
then you best go and find somewhere else to go.
In my second experience I was welcomed with open arms, loved when I felt
unlovable. I was told of forgiveness, shown mercy, and accepted as part
of the church before I acted like it. These people fought for my
freedom, helped me access professional help, and took each step towards
recovery alongside me. They helped me hold on to a slither of hope that
life might turn around, they gave me the desire to break free of
The church that loved and accepted me, as I was, looked messy; children
riding in on bikes, questions called out during the sermon, people
wandering in and out for a smoke, or maybe even a hit. If you left your
handbag unattended it might get stolen, if your teenager asked someone
for a cigarette they may get given it. There was no building, just the
renting of a small community hall. The church looked dangerous but it
Somehow the church, in my experience, has made a hierarchy of sin, it
has decided that the worst sin should not be found within its doors, and
that the worst sinners should not be found within its membership. They
have forgotten the Jesus that saved a prostitute from being stoned by
reminding her accusers that all sin is equal and we should not judge.
They do not know how to reflect the Jesus that sat and ate with the
hated by society, who healed the rejected, who forgave his own
The church has become comfortable with their bubble of good behavior and
grown fearful of anyone who threatens to burst it. Their instruction is
simply to repent and change if you are to have any hope of a
relationship with God, or a place within the church. For the addict that
is an impossibility, they can’t just stop, they can repent all they want
but changing the behavior needs love and professional help.
I wonder why if the church is the body of Christ how they can be so
judging and rejecting of the very people Christ came to save? I want to
challenge the church as individuals to care for the neighbour they would
normally ignore, to love the down and out, to try and understand the
prostitute, the drunk, the drug addict; because if you as an individual
member of the Church reflect what God is about then maybe the church as
an institution will change too.
Maybe we will see these people flood our congregations and find hope and
healing, maybe we can change society, maybe we can show that one person
that there is something worth living for, and that they are loved, clean
and sober, or drunk and high, they are accepted, and maybe that
acceptance will bring them a better life. That is my message, a message
I feel so strongly about.
I plead with you, do not be afraid of the addict, their sin is no worse
than yours. Please do not judge them, or try and change them – it will
only drive them deeper into their addiction. Love them as Christ would
love them, sacrifice your comfort for them, share meals with them, speak
love and truth into their lives.
Be Christ to the addicts in your communities,
because if you can be Christ to them maybe they will feel welcomed in
the church, and they will have the chance to find freedom. Give them
hope when they can’t imagine any for themselves. Change society by
loving and including the rejects of that very society.