Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Greener pastures

May 20 2009
Churches and charities should take a more dynamic role, says Pastor Pete Green Pastures has called for leading charities and the Church in Britain to take a more dynamic role in providing permanent homes for the nation's homeless. Rev Peter Cunningham, founder of Green Pastures, said that there was a huge discrepancy between the Government figures and the exact number of those who are considered to be sleeping rough. "Government counters are purposely misleading, to avoid alarming the public and generating bad press," he said. "The Ministry of Misinformation fails to tell us that there are 500,000 homeless people in Britain and 750,000 empty houses." The problem of homelessness would be resolved with the acquisition of 220,000 empty homes, fewer than a third of those that appear on the empty homes register, he said. In 1999, Pastor Pete, who used to be a stockbroker, promoted a new ethical investment company in the property business, designed to buy property for homeless families by renting it to investors. The objective was for investors to gain interest equivalent to what they would receive on other financial instruments, as well as shares in the rising value of property. With just £26,000, Pastor Pete purchased a ramshackle building that had two self-contained flats. Since this first step, the company has grown to 136 units with about 300 tenants. Green Pastures has also made the somewhat controversial suggestion of using church land as a source of finance. Churches are usually surrounded by hectares of land that could be used to set up internet cafes, or conference, leisure and sports centres. A well-intentioned Government could come alongside with mortgage and contract guarantees.