The reason we house the homeless is Jesus. Giving someone a home is who we are, it's our nature as believers. It's our very nature to serve the least and the marginalised. Christ in you, the believer, is the hope of glory to the rest of the world. As believers we aren't given a choice by God, but we are commanded to house and help the needy. What we call choice, God calls disobedience. Furthermore, how can you deny your true nature, to do so is to live a lie in Christ. We don't want to do that.
In Southport we started by seeing the need and then acting. Today we have 70+ Partners all over the UK who are housing 1,000+ formerly homeless people. We have seen some amazing changes in people simply from giving them a key to their own home. Alcoholics are now free from their alcohol addiction, drug addicts are now free from their drug addiction, unemployed young people with life skills problems are now working, mothers who had been brutally beaten are now housed with their children, and so much more. But most wonderful of all is the number of people who have come to Christ, not through our preaching of the Gospel, but by our doing the Gospel.
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During 1997 in Southport, we started providing temporary accommodation in our church building for homeless individuals and families. We used our fellowship room, a converted garage, a caravan on the church site and the church cellar. All these places we had sought to make as pleasant as possible, but the local environmental health department informed us that, though we were providing a valuable service, it was contravening the law. So, in March 1999, when a young family stood on the steps of our small church, we decided to purchase two flats and Green Pastures was born! The years since then have been some of the most wonderful that we have experienced in the service of God.
Our first resident, a single mother aged 21, had been living in one room with her baby. What a joy it was to be able to help her and to fulfil God's word. In Galatians 2:10 Paul writes: 'They desire only that we should remember the poor: the very thing that I was also eager to do.' It had appeared to us that the 21st Century church was not so eager to help the poor as the early church had been. Perhaps through Green Pastures we shall be able to encourage that eagerness to return. In 2005 we started our first Partnership outside Southport and started housing the homeless in Stoke.
For over 20 years we have been purchasing property and providing experienced support for churches and Christian charities so that they can reach out and house the homeless in their area. In December 2018 through our 70+ Christian Partners we reached a total of 1,000 bed spaces providing homes and holistic care for homeless and vulnerable people across the UK and are seeing God transform so many lives. In Partnership with the local church we aim to be housing 2,000 people by 2024.
We act very simply and enable your ministry to get from A to B in your service to the poor and needy. If you think we can serve you, we look forward to hearing from you.
We are pragmatic whilst always being directed by the Holy Spirit. Each of our Partners become good friends as we build the Kingdom of God together.
We dream of the Church ending homelessness in the UK. But its much more than a dream, it will happen as the body of Christ keeps stepping into its identity and houses and supports those in need. We dream of every church in the UK having one house to house the homeless. That would mean an additional 120,000 people who would be housed and cared for.
Housing is a great start, however we also believe in supporting Christian organisations to offer social enterprises to assist residents access employment or meaningful activity. We support Partners to provide mentoring, training and work experience to our residents. It enables residents to gain the skills they need to work for an employer or run their own business. From teaching ex-addicts trades in Rotherham to helping residents grow and sell produce in Woking we believe that many lives are being transformed through training.
We believe that through providing a home to everyone who needs one, and equipping them with the training and skills necessary to gain independence, we can see homelessness become an issue of the past.