VOLUNTEERS have united to launch a charity to house and befriend the city’s most vulnerable people.
Worshippers at North End Baptist Church will support those on the margins of society when they register Hope into Action – Portsmouth later this year.
Stemming from a national initiative founded nearly seven years ago, the faith-led drive will provide permanent shelter to people in Portsmouth battling issues including homelessness, addiction, domestic abuse and crime.
It will house people in two and three-bedroom properties jointly bought by investors – who it is hoped will receive a targeted two per cent annual return.
Minister of North End Baptist Church, Tracey Ansell, is the chairwoman for the new branch of the charity, which will be officially registered in the autumn.
She said: ‘Hope into Action – Portsmouth is all about giving vulnerable people the tools and support to put their lives back together again.
‘Just giving homeless people a home and leaving them to get on with it can be problematic – we want to give them a family and friends too.
‘That’s why constant, non-judgmental guidance is so key to this project and our overall mission to be a part of the homelessness solution in Portsmouth.
‘I’m delighted to be a part of it and the fact this long-standing idea is coming to fruition is an answer to prayer.’
The registration of the charity is possible thanks to an early £5,000 investment, including £4,000 from Portsmouth City Council’s (PCC) community and communication department.
But further fundraising for the project has already begun, with private investors already keen to support its bid to secure two properties within the next year.
Leaders have praised Hope into Action – Portsmouth’s aim to join forces and invest with fellow city churches to fight homelessness.
The council’s deputy leader, Councillor Luke Stubbs, said: ‘It’s a growing problem right across the country but this is exactly the right way to tackle it – together.’
Between 2016 and 2017, Hope into Action housed 152 people in 12 UK cities.
Among those using its services, 89 per cent of offenders abstained from crime and 81 per cent battling addiction reduced their intake.
As it gears up to expand, founder Ed Walker, said: ‘We enable churches to take a meaningful, holistic approach to tackling homelessness and we are unbelievably excited to come to Portsmouth.’