Affordable Housing: How Can We Help?

April 1, 2019

 

Two families in our congregation are doing their part and making a huge difference in the lives of two other families… Read on.

 

Affordable housing is in the news often…  Do you even know what it really means?  1.2 million people in North Carolina are cost-burdened, meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on housing and utilities each month.  A half million are severely cost-burdened, which means that it is over 50% of their income.  This affects people of all income levels…

 

30% of Mecklenburg County households are cost-burdened (122,809 households)

19% of homeowners (43, 947 households)

45% of renters (78,862 households)

 

What is Christ Lutheran doing about this issue that is on our back doorstep?

 

Some might say, “Not much!”  But I beg to differ.

 

Our Benevolence Committee sends money monthly (from your offerings to our Operating Expenses) to Crisis Assistance Ministries and to Urban Ministry Center.  These are the agencies on the front lines helping families navigate life complicated by living in cost-burdened households.

 

While not directly connected, McPIE and the church do much to alleviate some cost burden.  We serve up to 2 meals gratis each week.  We sponsor families at Christmas.  We provide transportation (which saves on gas or bus fare) for families.  We help stock a food pantry at McClintock and at times we have fruits and vegetables to offer to families.  We offer summer opportunities including meals and snacks.  We offer school supplies at our Scots School Supplies table at Family Nights.  Individuals commit to particular youth and children and families and dive deeply into relationships and encouragement.  A listening ear can mean as much as dollars at times of stress which are common in cost-burdened homes.  Some have welcomed people into their homes for a short term need, etc…

 

We also help families that are members or connected to us through McPIE when they experience a crisis.  Last year that was indeed a challenge when we had up to 3 families in a hotel for a length of time before they could secure housing that was affordable.  Finding a place on a fixed income is extremely difficult.  Our shelters are often full, and people with severe asthma or teenage boys cannot be accommodated well in shelters.  We decided in each of these cases that the hotel was the best short term option.  These families repay “loans” with volunteer and participation hours.

 

So – two families?  Each of them has purchased a home IN OUR AREA in order to become a Charlotte Housing Authority landlord and to accept a voucher as rent for a family which they met and know well from our McPIE ministries.  Pretty amazing.  They felt “called” to do something when they learned how hard the journey of looking for affordable housing is for people who had become friends.  Both wanted to keep families on our side of town so that their personal relationship and participation at Christ Lutheran could continue.

 

I am humbled by the faith, commitment, and calling of our members.  Relationships are the crux of all that we do. Our relationship with God and Jesus Christ is the driving force creating relationships through our ministries and changing the hearts and lives of all involved.  May God bless your relationships and your work in His name. 

 

2019 Housing Need in Mecklenburg County

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