Shelter from the elements is a fundamental human right and a central concern for our congregation. We are engaged in several initiatives to expand the stock of housing affordable for very low and low income members of our local community. Some of these initiatives are recurring annually and some are more project oriented.
Habitat for Humanity
We have been working with the Habitat for Humanity Huron Valley Chapter for over a decade as part of its mission in the local community. We have worked with over 20 other local churches to construct the “Good News House”, under the sponsorship of the local chapter, every year since 1997. The Good News House coalition is currently renovating existing homes rather than building new houses. HFH is purchasing many foreclosed homes, in a single neighborhood, and plans on renovating them over the next few years providing simple, decent and affordable housing for even more families.
The nice thing about this program is that it provides many ways to participate, including giving money and personal service. We provide a crew for at least one Saturday each summer. We do whatever kind of work is needed-from digging holes to putting up siding to painting and installing doors. Training is provided; no previous experience or skill is required. On that day we also provide lunch for the work crew, so baking, shopping, and/or delivering lunch are great ways to participate. In addition to working on the houses we contribute financially to the cost of the build. Contact our coordinators for more information (Mary Davis, email@example.com and Scott Diels, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry that builds simple, decent and affordable homes in partnership with those in need. Families purchase the houses at no profit to Habitat, through interest-free loans. Volunteers, joining with the future homeowner families, provide virtually all of the house-building labor. Individuals, religious organizations and corporations that support with donations of money, land and materials make the work possible.
M.I.S.S.I.O.N A2 Tiny House Community
This is a new and innovative initiative to help solve the problem of inadequate housing that is affordable to very low income citizens while also providing a sense of community and inclusion to people who are often treated as outcasts. The houses are 1200 square feet, with electricity and heat, but not running water. Bath and eating facilities are provided communally. The cost of the houses will range from $5 to $8 thousand.
Needless to say none of the current local building or zoning ordinances were written to accommodate this kind of housing, so waivers from existing laws must be sought. Our church has the opportunity to participate in organizing and being a part of a large public support campaign for this initiative. If the necessary waivers and political support is achieved, we will then have the opportunity to be part of a fund raising campaign. This is exciting work, consistent with the gospel message of love and compassion, while also being “wise as serpents and innocent as doves”. We need people to join this movement.
M.I.S.S.I.O.N. A2 is a non-profit, tax exempt private corporation dedicated to providing a path to the homeless toward permanent housing. This has been done through establishing self-governing tent communities. The tiny house community is an alternative approach to fulfilling the mission of the organization. M.I.S.S.I.O.N A2 recognizes that the homeless are empowered through self-governance and care for one another. Through advocacy, M.I.S.S.I.O.N A2 connects the homeless to the general public, and helps provide a voice for those who typically do not have one in our society. Contact Ron Gregg at email@example.com to see how you can become involved.
Mixed Income Residential Housing
Local governments sometimes own property which no longer is used for its original need. Washtenaw County owns property which was used as a juvenile detention center which has been closed. There has been a long public debate as to what to do with the property. One plan, which has received public support after a long campaign, is to use the property for mixed income housing, including affordable housing suitable for lower income persons. Our church has been involved in some of the advocacy around this issue.
We want to include people who want to work toward the expansion of the stock of housing in our community that is affordable to very low and low income persons, and who do not believe that it is ok to have people sleeping under bridges and porticos because they have no home of their own. Please join us. Contact Ron Gregg at firstname.lastname@example.org