Can you imagine a time when no-one in Eastbourne is homeless, a time when every vulnerable person has stable safe accommodation and a friend who will care for them and support them? Can you imagine a time when the church is at the forefront of providing those homes along with love, community, support and mentoring which empowers people to turn their lives around?
At Kingdom Way Trust, we can! But we know we have a long way to go.
In Isaiah 58:6-7 we read ‘Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?’
Over the last few years we have sought to ‘provide the poor wanderer with shelter’, through coordinating the Eastbourne Winter Night Shelter and through opening The Bridge supported accommodation. We believe that poverty alleviation is about releasing the oppressed and setting captives free – it includes, but is far more difficult than just giving to people, or conducting good deeds. It takes time, it means journeying with people. It’s about seeing not just the immediate poverty but those systems, issues and lifestyle choices which got them there, addressing those and therein creating an environment where it is possible to thrive.
Although we have opened The Bridge this currently only accommodates 6 men. These men need somewhere to go when they no longer need the same intense level of support and leave The Bridge. We also know there are many other women and men who need a home with the support of a caring local community.
We believe that if a number of churches in Eastbourne come together they can have a significant impact on the homeless situation in our town. We, the church, have significant resources!
Kingdom Way Trust have partnered with Hope into Action which has successfully helped churches in Peterborough, Nottingham, Cambridge, Norwich, Reading, Lincoln, Swindon and Wolverhampton to provide good quality homes and support for vulnerable men and women in their communities. In June 2017 we opened our first Hope into Action house in Eastbourne for women.
In partnership with Hope into Action, Kingdom Way Trust have a vision to enable churches in Eastbourne to open more houses. We dream of churches across our town housing the homeless. We long to see the homeless re-building their lives.
If you’re not sure about why we need a Hope into Action project in Eastbourne, click here to read more
Here’s how it works:
- Using the investment capacity of the church, church members, or from elsewhere, a house is bought.
- The house is used to support 2 (or maybe 3) people in a vulnerable situation. Each person has 2 rooms for their exclusive use – a bedroom and living space – and they share kitchen and bathroom.
- The rent / housing benefit pays the costs and a return on the investment.
- We 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.
The project takes care of all the admin and legal ‘stuff’, leaving the church to do what it does best – showing love and care for people, and providing connection and community.
We know the importance of healthy relationships for vulnerable people. We foster those relationships at The Bridge, but the men who live in The Bridge can only stay a maximum of 2 years. They should then be ready to live more independently but we want to ensure there is still friendship and support in place for them. This project is a way to provide ‘move-on’ accommodation for our residents. But there are many other people in our community who don’t require the level of support offered at The Bridge, and would really benefit from a good home and being linked to friends from a local church.
We’ve seen this proven model work in other places and believe it will bring significant benefits to Eastbourne. Our aim is to see lives transformed, people healed and broken relationships restored. If you would like to play a part in that please get in touch.
We’re looking for:
Churches who will be willing to get a small team of people together for training and between them to take on the support of two people in a house.
- People willing to use their financial resources to benefit the more vulnerable members of our community by investing in a Hope into Action house. This could be an investment of anywhere between £5000 and £500,000! It’s not a gift (although gifts are also very welcome as we need to cover the overheads of running the project) but an investment that provides a small monthly financial return as well as a social return. Investors also benefit from any gains made in the value of the property (although prices may also go down). Investors own the property and lease it to the project for a minimum of 5 years. Investors could be churches, individuals, groups of individuals, Trusts… – Perhaps you have other ideas? Or if you’re not sure, please ask!
- Grants and gifts to help purchase houses and fund the running of the project.
If you are interested we’d love to hear from you. Please use our contact form to get in touch.
The disciples shared everything they had… [so that] there was no needy person amongst them.— Acts 4