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How to make a lasting difference

When two strangers responses sparked change for homelessness in their community

Hundreds of thousands of people in the UK today are experiencing homelessness or they are at risk. It's a rising number and we are in a crisis. For so long, it's been an issue that has been allowed to get pushed down agendas. But that day is over.

Having a heart to help those experiencing homelessness and on the edge is a great start but it's not enough. Having intentions to do something isn't what makes a difference. It takes people of courage, tenacity, and determination to get something off the ground and running. The good news is, many people are rising to take up the challenge and are making a difference in the lives of people in desperate need.

But they don't do it alone.

Restore was formed in 2010 when two people from York independently contacted Green Pastures Housing in Southport to make enquiries about starting a ministry for homeless people and ex-offenders. We put those two people in touch with one another, and they soon found that they weren’t alone. More and more Christians came forward who wanted to be part of the church’s response to homelessness in York. By the end of 2010 Restore (York) Limited had been born.

In July 2011 they opened the doors of their first Green Pastures property. Ever since then they have expanded their service whenever faith and finances have allowed. Restore are now able to provide accommodation and support for up to 41 people across 12 properties. Some of the properties they manage are provided through Green Pastures, but others are leased through local landlords and trusts who also want to support the expansion of their work. Restore employ a growing number of staff to supply the essential support needed by the residents.

One of the residents was Steve, who has now moved into his own council property.

"I was living in a hostel and I was on my last legs. I woke up in a police station - vodka was a bad thing for me. I was given the choice either to go to Restore York or to go on the streets. My friend had told me about Restore and said it was the best thing that ever happened to him. I gave it a go.

It was the best choice I ever made.

I'm so glad they gave me a chance. That was 4.5 years ago now. How I looked at people changed. At first, I was drinking every day and I didn't care. I started to build myself up. They really did help me. Now I've got my own flat that I moved into just before Christmas and I'm buzzing.

I didn't have a relationship with my sister before and I reached out to her and it's amazing now. Family is everything.

I'm in a completely different place now. I'm in contact with Restore and they help me so much." Steve (Photographed on the right)

As we expand, we are doing it for people like Steve in our communities, who need a chance and support to get back on their feet. You can be part of it.

Click here to find out more about partnering with Green Pastures.