WHAT DOES THE EVANGELICAL HOUSING ASSOCIATION DO?
Since its inception in 1974, the Evangelical Housing Association (EHA) has been providing housing for retiring ministers and missionaries from FIEC and Grace Baptist churches to rent at a reasonable cost.
When pastors retire some are not provided with housing by their churches, so find themselves without anywhere to live. The EHA works with these individuals and their spouses to provide a home for them in their retirement. Although the increasing trend for church pastors to own their own homes is to be welcomed, there is a continuing need for EHA to provide housing. They offer support to those approaching retirement through purchasing and managing the rentals of suitable properties.
Peter Buckle is a retired pastor of FIEC churches in Lancashire and Norfolk. He and his wife Anne are one of several individuals and couples who have been helped by EHA.
“We did not imagine that when we stopped working we would be living in a new build bungalow in such a beautiful location on the edge of the Lake District,’ says Peter. ‘We have lived very happily here for over five years…..The Lord certainly kept the best till last. Of all the properties we have lived in during our married life this is the best.” Peter Buckle, retired FIEC pastor
HOW IT WORKS
Candida Morris, EHA’s secretary, talks about how they work: ‘We don’t hold a stock of properties, but will buy a home as near as possible to where the applicant would like to live, subject to price and availability, as and when a need arises. Ideally, two to three years’ notice of a forthcoming retirement is helpful to assist with planning and budgeting.’
The stages of the process:
- Applicant registers with EHA
- An expected retirement date is given
- An area of the UK they would like to live is identified
- EHA buys a property
- Rent is paid on that property and the tenants have security of tenure in retirement
Over the next two years, there are four ministers approaching retirement who have requested EHA’s assistance. One pastor explains his situation and how support from EHA is so important: ‘We made early contact with EHA. If their funds permit they will supply us with a two-bedroom bungalow in an area of the country of our own choosing. This will enable us to select a region where the amount we will need to pay will not be the eye-watering rental and council tax demanded where we presently live. That provision is the second brightest star in our future. The first, of course, is that the Lord always provides.’
Tenants pay rent below the commercial rate and this restricts the amount EHA can borrow on a new property. The balance is funded from the proceeds of selling vacant properties and from the support of trusts, churches and individuals. Rick McClure, EHA Treasurer, explains more: ‘We are grateful for the support we have received over the past 40 years, but we do need continued help if we are to go on meeting the need for housing. We anticipate that we will need to raise a considerable amount over the next three years simply to cover the needs that we are currently aware of.’
If you would like to support EHA, either on a regular basis, with a one-off gift, or via a legacy, then please contact EHA Secretary, Candida Morris, via the FIEC office or the EHA website: www.evangelicalhousingassociation.org.uk.