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Christian homeless charity is expanding in Norfolk

Hope into Action is a Christian charity whose unique purpose is to enable churches to house the homeless, and their work is expanding across Norfolk as well as other parts of the UK. Tony Rothe reports.

Work began in summer 2010 with a handful of Christians passionate about changing homelessness in the city of Peterborough, having engaged with a lonely man drinking in a park who had been released from prison just the day before. Working with their local church, the group of friends purchased, decorated and furnished a house ready to welcome two young men in a homeless situation.  Crucially, they settled in with the support and friendship of the local church team. 
 
So, Hope Into Action (HIA) was formed, and now operates from four centres in the UK - Peterborough, Norwich, Cambridge and Nottingham, working with 50 churches to provide 87 houses accommodating over 270 tenants.
 
The work in Norfolk in particular is thriving, with the charity offering 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.
 
Tony Gray, leader of the Norwich Hope into Action team, explains: “Lighthouse Community Church in Sheringham has responded to the homeless need they see by opening a house with Hope into Action near their church.  The house is in the final stages of refurbishment with members of the church helping with decorating and preparing it to become a wonderful home, which will open very shortly.  As a church with such enthusiasm for the work and a range of skills, they will be brilliant at walking alongside the tenants in that house.”
 
Ian Savory, senior leader at the Sheringham church, said “Lighthouse Community church is very much looking forward to our partnership with Hope into Action – We have huge respect for all the organisation does in bringing the reality of community that changes lives for the better. One of our values is Transforming Communities, and HiA brings a whole new level to that goal, one person or family at a time.”
 
This will be house number 13 for Hope into Action in Norfolk.   The house in Gorleston, recently opened with St Mary Magdalene Church, is now established and has taken two tenants. Church members have supported them in many practical ways and involved them in the local community.
 
The Norwich team is now partnering with Wellspring Church to open a house in Dereham, and are in the process of buying a property.
 
Hope into Action Logo750Kate Doran-Smith, Head of Network for HIA UK, said: “To see every one of those 44 people in Norfolk 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.
 
The charity is now encouraging others to use the HIA model by franchising the idea, and is currently recruiting for a Franchise Administrator.  If you are interested, see the job advert on the Network Norfolk website, or the HIA website.
 
If you or your church would like 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  or call 01733 558301. You can also support HIA financially or be added to the news mailing list via their website.
 
Read our previous story about Hope into Action here.

The picture, top, shows volunteers Tony Rothe and David Bickford decorating the Sheringham house

This story has also appeared in the Good News for Norwich and Norfolk paper recently distributed around the county.
 



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