Sometimes people suggest things, people and ideas to me. 

I like to come up with my own ideas, find my own partners, but I’m trying to grow past that. 

My friend Tom told me about a charity called Hope Into Action when we were exploring whether our church could become social landlords in our area of Nottingham. I didn’t want to hear about someone else’s great idea. I wanted to do my own.

Then I went to a networking event and heard from Ed Walker. An ex-aid worker who’d been in Darfur and similar places. A man who’d invited a homeless person into his young family after become frustrated managing large hostels after coming home. Someone who was entrepreneurial and passionate about those in need, the kingdom and the church. This was my kind of guy. 

Ed began Hope Into Action with conviction and vision. With key insight into why people found it so hard to break out the cycles that surrounded homelessness. One simple point I remember Ed making to me was that in a hostel because clients only have one room they feel they can’t invite family or friends or positive influences into their room. They can only invite fellow clients. If someone is housed where there have access to a bedroom and a living room, they are able to open their space up to good influences and rebuild relationships with family as they invite them in. HIA makes this happen, and provides those good influencers in abundance. 

How it works

The model:

The church gets in touch with Hope into Action who support every stage of the process.

Using the investment capacity of the church, church members, or from elsewhere, one house is bought in a reasonable area of their community.

The house is used to support 2 (or maybe 3) people in a vulnerable situation. (Ideally the church chose which need to target (male, female, ex-offender, younger, those coming out of re-hab etc)

The rent/ housing benefit pays a return on the investment.

HIA provide: the professional support (referrals, needs assessments, key working, sign-posting, tenancy, benefits, rent collection etc).

The church provides: community, non-judgemental relationships, mentoring / befriending, practical support and prayer.
I’ll never forget the phone call where Ed first explained this to me. I was in, but the phonecall ended with Ed being real about the fact that we needed to find an investor willing to use their capital to bless this idea. Ed said “give me a call if you get anywhere in the next few months…”

I walked out of my office a few minutes later, met a church member and asked them how they were going. It turned out their day was good one. They had just had a pay out on an endowment mortgage on their first house. (I didn’t know what an endowment mortgage was!) They had totally forgot about the endowment, it was from decades before. They said how they’d like to do something good with the money, but keep it invested in property. Sometimes God just sets you up. 

I phoned Ed back in under an hour from him giving me a few months.  It took some weeks and months to get the whole thing off the ground, but Hope Into Action has been in nottingham since 2013, and have grown from 1 house in Peterborough in 2011 to 60 tenants living in 38 houses across 12 cities today. 

This week a door opened for a potential HIA Coventry, something in the back of my mind since I arrived. 

I’m offering you the chance to see if you fancy getting involved, prayer, investor, mentor, friend, you choose…