The Norfolk and Norwich Christian community website

gorleston homeless bed 750ATHomeless charity expanding across Norfolk

Christian homeless charity Hope Into Action (HIA) UK are extending their work across the county, with tenants now in a new house in Gorleston, and another house expected to open in Sheringham later this year.

The Norwich HIA team celebrated the charity's tenth anniversary in the best way possible: by opening their twelfth house with St Mary Magdalene church, Gorleston in November last year, the first in the Great Yarmouth area. The house was beautifully prepared by the church and has now taken in its first tenants.  Several church members took part in helping to look after the house and helping with the tenants. 
Rev Matthew Price, Vicar of St Mary Magdalene said:  
"It has been so encouraging to see our friendship and support group - and the wider congregation - throw themselves into supporting the new tenants.  A particularly strong bond has been struck between one of the tenants and his mentor and we are already seeing the difference these supportive relationships can make in the lives of the tenants.  It’s one of things we loved about the Hope into Action model and it is thrilling to see it working out in practice.  One the tenants even worked alongside a couple of community volunteers to build an Easter garden in the front garden of the church!”
The Norwich project now offers 44 beds across the county to tenants ranging from refugee families to those recovering from addiction; from those fleeing domestic violence to rough sleepers. What every tenant has in common is a desire to start a new, fresh chapter of their life and address whatever obstacles may have been in their way to securing their own accommodation.
With the next house planned in Sheringham, and well on its way with the house now purchased, Tony Gray and the Norfolk team are delighted to see an increasing number of local churches respond to the call to ‘give the poor wanderer shelter’ (Isaiah 58:7). 
Kate Doran-Smith, Head of Network for HIA UK, said: “To see every one of those 44 people offered love, prayer and support from local Christian volunteers, who want to put their hope into action, is a sheer delight. Watching Tony and the local team empower not only the tenants, but also their church partners just proves that even a global pandemic can’t lockdown the hope and determination of God’s people.
“At a time when many charities have folded, or cut back, we have seen a sudden increase in not only more houses opening in our existing 23 locations across the UK, but also new locations wanting to open HIA franchises from scratch. We now have a staggering 87 houses and over 270 tenants across the UK. This is mind-blowing and a reminder that God is always able to do immeasurably more than we can imagine. (Ephesians 3:20)”
The charity is looking to add a Spiritual Advisor to their team, to ensure they remain firmly grounded in their Christian values and ethos. The successful candidate will not only provide pastoral and spiritual guidance to the HIA teams based in Peterborough, Norwich, Cambridge and Nottingham, but will also be asked to contribute to management level meetings and help shape the future and focus of Hope Into Action.  For more information about this opportunity, click here.
To find out more about Hope into Action, or to support them financially, visit their website.
To know more about how you can open a house for the homeless in partnership with Hope Into Action, please contact tony.gray@hopeintoactionorg.uk
To read our previous story about the HIA house in Gorleston, click here. 
The picture above shows members of St Mary Magdalene Church preparing the house for occupancy, and is courtesy of Anna Heydon.


TonyRothe150Do you have a news story or forthcoming event relating to Christians or a church in East Norfolk?  

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Tony Rothe, 15/04/2021

Tony Rothe
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