Hope into Action: Black Country is a housing charity that is seeking to #MakeHomelessnessHistory by partnering with others including the Church to break individual and systemic cycles of poverty.
Our Mission and Values
We are seeking to Make Homelessness History.
By that we do not mean that we are going to eradicate homelessness altogether. There will always be family breakdown, alcoholism, drug addiction and other issues that can and do lead people to losing their home. We do believe however that in many circumstances homelessness could be prevented before it happens and where it is perhaps inevitable that it would only be temporary and short-lived with immediate solutions to hand.
Using a multi-disciplinary team approach we break the cycle of housing poverty, addressing the poverty of relationships and increasing our residents’ capacity to maintain a tenancy.
Poverty of relationships particularly within the context of homelessness is where people lack the necessary positive and supportive relationships necessary to thrive. At a significant point of crisis, they find themselves lonely, isolated and at risk of homelessness.
Our approach to tackling cycles of housing poverty is different to other providers. our multi-disciplinary team approach provides professional, empowering support; regular voluntary friendship building; a family through the local church; and long-term tenancies at affordable rates from genuine social landlords.
How do we do this?
We build positive and supportive networks around individuals through:
Empowerment – Our paid professional Empowerment Officers help keep residents focused on maintaining their residency, accessing public funds and obtaining employment, where this applies.
Relationships – Our trained volunteers are ‘friends with a purpose’ that journey through life with the residents on a weekly basis; and
Family – Our partner churches are available and open to welcome those on the fringes of society, bringing a sense of family by adopting those who society has socially excluded.
We increase our residents’ capacity to maintain a tenancy by providing:
Long termsolutions – Our investors are willing to put their money to a social and spiritual return as well as a financial return. This is genuine long-term help rather than temporary, get-rich-quick investors.
Affordable rents – We increase affordability by firstly not passing on the charity’s costs of support to the tenants (i.e. low service charges); and secondly, by charging rents low enough to encourage the transition from benefits to paid employment; and
Genuine Social Landlords – As landlords we are patient and tolerant and act with integrity. We are landlords who care. Our dedicated Facilities Manager ensures our houses are well maintained. We are sensitive to the issues our residents face such as the awkwardness of moving from refugee thinking to belonging; or being unable to get to grips with keeping a space clear and usable, or sharing space with others.
We currently have 23 tenants living in 7 houses mainly in Wolverhampton, but we want to do so much more. Our 10 year plan is to have 50 houses across the four boroughs of the Black Country. Ultimately we are beginning to dare to dream that together in partnership with others we could #makehomelessnesshistory across our region.
The Role of the Church
We believe that the role of the church in doing this is essential. We would love to see every church supporting at least two people in a vulnerable situation (homeless or refugees), in suitable, quality, affordable accommodation.
In seeking to achieve this we partner every house we open with a local church. As part of that partnership we provide the technical expertise: purchasing, investing, renting, tenancies, legalities, maintenance and professional empowering support.
Our partner churches - through their teams of trained volunteers - provide a sense of community, family, acceptance and love to the residents.
They do not judge them because they recognise how all are made in the image of God.
They befriend, they mentor, they support.
They are often more capable than others of recognising their own flaws and shortcomings and so are quicker to forgive and be patient, caring and tolerant with the residents’ shortcomings.
They are sensitive to the awkwardness of moving from refugee thinking to belonging.
They are sensitive to rough sleepers and ex-offenders being unable to get to grips with keeping a space clear and usable, or sharing space with others.
Our theory of change is that when people have a safe, secure home, surrounded by loving, non-judgmental relationships, they will find the strength and motivation within themselves to make positive life choices. We accept people of all faiths and no faiths, all ethnicities and sexualities without any form of discrimination. In fact many of our tenants in our refugee properties are Muslims who have fled persecution. The church is however central to how we operate because our residents are adopted into a family. The church volunteers work hard at building lasting, loving non-judgmental relationships which is a key element of making homelessness history.
Safeguarding and Complaints Policies
At Hope into Action: Black Country we take safeguarding of tenants, staff and volunteers very seriously. To view our latest safeguarding and complaints policies please click below.
Is not this the kind of activity I have chosen … to provide the poor wanderer with shelter