Luke Skipper: The Christian Crisis Caravan Initiative
Luke aims for a fleet of caravans to house homeless people
Luke Skipper serves in the army and is an ordained Christian minister, so he’s no stranger to serving others.
He is now spearheading an innovative short-term housing solution for Moreton Bay people displaced by domestic violence or poverty as there is no service suitable for families in the area.
Traditional bricks and mortar housing was not an option, so Luke originally suggested tents. But he and his colleagues decided that was too temporary.
“We settled on caravans. Depending on where the need is, we can move them around,” says Luke, who has been on a pastoral placement with Rivers Church of Christ since 2016 and will eventually return to the army as a chaplain.
The housing initiative is a partnership between his church and several other churches. At present, there is funding for one caravan, but the plan is to eventually have a small fleet.
The caravan plan is a pet project for Luke, but he has been busy during his time in the area. He is the founding chairman of a community group, Moreton Bay Community Matters, which gives out more than 100 food hampers a week.
He has also set up a community garden for marginalised people and oversees a special needs program in conjunction with the local Pine Rivers Special School where children can develop valuable and practical life skills in a safe and friendly environment.
Since setting up the food scheme and food garden, the church has come across many people who have found themselves homeless or on the verge of becoming homeless.
“We get referrals from a wide variety of places, including hospitals, the Salvation Army, local churches and the police about people struggling with no place to go,” says Luke.
He’s pleased to be voted a Westfield Local Hero but says the most important concern is getting two caravans into service as soon as possible.
The churches have already set aside money for one caravan and the Rivers Church of Christ will use its $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes grant to buy a second caravan much sooner than expected.