What is the true worth of a church? Sure, there’s the intrinsic value that a worship community brings to parishioners, but what about the more definitive programs and financial benefits that churches bring to their communities?
Such prospects can sometimes be difficult to figure and analyze, though houses of worship are generally known for doing good works throughout their communities and beyond, with many churches funding mission efforts in lands far from their physical locations.
With that in mind, it may be concluded that the plethora of churches do far more than offer up individual and corporate spiritual fulfillment.
For instance, the Guardian recently profiled the Highway of Holiness Church congregation in Tottenham, England — a church that made an intentional decision seven years ago to open a homeless shelter called the Highway House.
After opening its doors in 2009, the Highway House became a place where individuals who couldn’t secure housing through local charities could find refuge. Today, the home houses 50 people, with a total of 750 individuals having come through its doors to receive support since it opened.
It’s a project that began when parishioners — who, themselves are largely low-income — began giving between 10 and 20 percent of their incomes to help fund the homeless outreach, the Guardian reported.
“We help those who have fallen on difficult times in their lives and need a helping hand,” reads a description on the Highway House website. “Many have misused alcohol and drugs and have lost contact with their families and friends. We work to help them rebuild their lives, rebuild their confidence and rebuild themselves.”
It’s an effort that has led the University of East London’s Institute for Health and Human Development to conclude in a recent report that, after seven years of operating its homeless efforts, Highway House is bringing 5-8 euros back into society for every 1 euro invested in the project.
Marcello Bertotti, a researcher and the co-author of the institute’s report, concluded that the Highway House “not only saves people’s lives, but also saves considerable resources to the public purse.”
The Guardian noted that the effort saves the local government quite a bit of money. On the practical side, 110,000 euros per year are saved on accommodations, with an additional 92,000 euros saved on unemployment benefits.
Additionally, there’s even an estimated 3,500 euros saved when it comes to crime reduction and 73,000 euros for health services. But it doesn’t end there.
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