Project: Hope into Action Lincs
Aim: Enabling the church to house the homeless

We are currently working on a  project responding to the social injustice of housing poverty in Lincolnshire through a programme of sourcing private investment and enabling the church to house the homeless. We train and enable churches to engage with and befriend those living in each house and provide the necessary professional support to church and tenant.

We meet our residents when they are homeless, feeling lost and at rock bottom and we begin the upward climb of hope together.  The first step is to read and review their application form, carry out checks and then invite them for an informal chat with support worker and church volunteer.  Lots of paperwork later but often within a week we are able to decline or invite the homeless person to become a resident.

There is real need to be addressed!

Lincolnshire, with a population of 718,000 has:

  • 4,500 children on the breadline
  • 11,000 people live in the most deprived communities in the country
  • 1 in 5 people earn less than £10,000 per year
  • 4,500 children live in poverty (1 in 4 in Lincoln City)
  • 30,000 meals served in 1 food bank in 1 year
  •  6,500 at risk of fuel poverty

as well as..

  • 10,242 cases of domestic abuse reported (LCC community & public safety report 13/9/14)
  • 580 children in care plus further 400 placed here by other authorities 

HomeMatchmaker enables churches to relieve the needs of socially excluded assisting them to integrate into society, initially  by providing these vulnerable people with a home.

Each home is introduced with the backing of a local church. The church decides if they want their home to be offered as male or female only,  HomeMatchmaker trains and enables the church to engage with and befriend those living within the home.

The model is based on leasing homes from social investors at lower than the market rate. Each home will normally have accommodation for two tenants providing them with 2 private rooms per person, as well communal space and facilities. The rent is low and affordable.

Central to the success of HomeMatchMaker is the partnership arrangements that it is forging with local churches; professionals and agencies involved with the homeless; Church bodies; Lincolnshire County Council; and, Hope into Action (Peterborough).

The success of HomeMatchmaker will see lives transformed, people healed and relationships restored. We measure success on the number of tenants being housed and the outcomes for tenants where they have:

  • Maintained their tenancy
  • Abstained from crime and substance abuse
  • Got Employment, Education Training (EET) or volunteered
  • Improved family relations

Success is also when church members get out of their pews and engage with vulnerable tenants who then feel loved.

What impact does this have?

The residents benefit from having a safe home, a peer network of support, a support worker and church befriender/mentor.

We believe that we can assist them to progress to independent living over a period of time (supported by HIA data). Residents arrive with many other needs, nearly always including financial management, health and broken relationships through our support outside programmes, professionals and agencies are identified, engaged and if need be tenants are taken to appointments and assisted with homework to ensure maximum benefit is gained. 

Feedback from residents already shows they feel different about themselves and the outside world.  They learn to let down barriers, build trust and value relationships through the friendship and support of those around them, especially their church befriender/mentor. The impact of the project is not limited to the residents themselves but it can also have a positive effect on the people who volunteer, the churches who partner, the resident's families and the local community around them.   

Who & How is this achieved?

The work has been undertaken for the first year on a voluntary basis, building the business model, partnerships, business infrastructure including policies and relationships with potential investors, churches and tenants. To move forward with expansion plans for more homes and churches the project requires a part-time    co-ordinator/support worker (and through other funding a part-time administrator).  We have been fortunate to access the skills of Ardva Boyes-Brewer, so far, in a voluntary capacity.  Ardva has had experience working in local government and with local charities for over 20 years, as well as having an honours degree in Business and Finance and a winning property development scholarship last year.

The main aspects of the co-ordinator/support worker will be:

  • Project management and development of the project
  • Identifying and recruiting investors
  • Identifying suitable property to convert into multi occupancy accommodation
  • Identifying suitable tenants and putting them through the referral procedure
  • Moving tenants in
  • Providing ongoing professional support  and signposting for tenants
  • Identifying and recruiting local churches to provide the befriending teams
  • Ensuring that the church volunteers have had suitable training and providing ongoing support to the mentoring and befriending teams
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