Ethics & Christian living

Hope doesn’t house people. Action does.

The New Testament book of James challenges the idea that Christianity is chiefly about what is going on inside of our heads: our thoughts, beliefs and feelings.  

Faith is easily turned into an intellectual exercise, a doctrinal debate or an emotional experience. But abstract thoughts, beliefs and feelings cost us little and don’t change much.

But James is clear: authentic and living faith means taking action. Like Jesus’ sermon on the mount, James is relentlessly practical:

“Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?”

Christianity is built on a hope about what God has done, is doing and will one day complete through Jesus. 

But our faith in this hope must be expressed through action. Authentic faith is expressed through concrete commitments.

Ordinary Christians

I am 3 weeks into my new job with Hope into Action. I have visited 5 different towns and cities where we have established homes for people who have been homeless.  It has been a privilege to speak with tenants who have told me about their journey through trauma and homelessness and how they are doing now.

And its the actions of ordinary Christians which is right at the heart of the Hope into Action model. Each house is connected with a church who offer befriending and support.  I have heard inspiring stories from tenants about how their befrienders have walked with them through their ups and downs, offering time, kindness and connection.

These befrienders don’t have to be experts or have lots of experience. They just need to be committed to offering love and friendship. And it makes all the difference.


When it comes to addressing homelessness, good quality accommodation is vital. But actually, providing a roof is not the hardest part. As well as the resource of a house, people need homes where they build positive relationships and begin to restore their identity. As Simon Dwight puts it, homelessness ends in community.

To address homelessness in the UK, we need more than just bricks and mortar. We need a movement of love which can rebuild community and empower the vulnerable to rebuild their lives.

Hope into Action has a vision where every local church is supports a home for people who have been homeless.  In 13 years, we have attracted over £20m of investment from people willing to put their savings into buying houses. We now we run over 100 such homes across the UK with over 350 tenants.

Rise Up Conference

We are holding a conference on the 16th March 2023 in Peterborough called Rise Up. Its going to be a brilliant day with a great list of speakers including Les Isaacs who started Street Pastors.

The conference is not just about what Hope into Action does. It’s for anyone who cares about homelessness and wants to see faith make a practical difference.

It’s for church leaders and members who want to be equipped to serve their community.

It’s for community activists looking to be inspired in their work.

It’s for professionals working with homeless and vulnerable people.

It’s for those interested in how investments can be put to work in faithful and effective ways.

In 2019 I went to the Hope into Action conference. Afterwards, I wrote about how the whole day deeply excited, energised and challenged me. At the time I had no idea that 4 years later I would be their new Chief Executive.

Rise up, repair and restore

This year marks 30 years since I started my work with people affected by homelessness.

More than ever, I believe in the difference that faith can make. This is because time and again, I have witnessed the re-building that Isaiah speaks of (58:12):

“Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.”

If you want to see the Church in the UK Rise Up further in response to homelessness and be part of it, then it would be great to see you at the conference on 16th March.

Let’s get together and be inspired about how we can put our faith and hope into action!

Book a place at Rise Up: Hope into Action Conference

2 thoughts on “Hope doesn’t house people. Action does.”

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