Photo by Tierra Mallorca on Unsplash
The Mission Planning Team (MPT) is excited to announce that the Church Council has endorsed the proposal to use Jeff How’s home for transitional housing. The proposal, submitted by the Community Ministries Plus (CM+) group, aims to repair the home and gift it to our long-time community partner, The Interfaith Coalition, for use in its Bridges transitional housing program.
Through the program, families experiencing housing insecurity or homelessness are offered a limited one-year lease. The family builds rental history (with reduced rent and savings program) and is supported by case management, volunteers, and Interfaith programs as they seek permanent housing. In five years, Jeff’s home is expected to serve five or more families.
Upon approval by the congregation, volunteers will begin to repair Jeff’s house to make it “move in ready”. Mike Hess and Rick Gordon have identified the needed repairs in conjunction with The Interfaith Coalition staff. Volunteers, coordinated by Leith and Shelly Swenson, will be called upon to complete defined repair projects. Fundraising for both the needed repairs, and to repay the debt on the property will be coordinated by Mary Hess with help from Dana and Cindy Petersen and Rick Gordon.
Christ the Servant will enter into a master lease agreement with the Interfaith Coalition so that the house can be used for Interfaith programs as soon as it is repaired. Under the agreement, Interfaith will apply for a property tax exemption, relieving CTS of that expense. The congregation’s only ongoing cost would be the insurance on the property. The property will be transferred to Interfaith’ s care and control by the end of 2022.
Fundraising has already begun with grant applications beginning submitted to local foundations and requests being made to local building supply firms for donations or discounts. The Mission Planning Team is pursuing the reduction or forgiveness of the debt against the property.
CM+ originally proposed gifting the home to Interfaith immediately after completing repairs. However, the Interfaith Board recently identified two constraints:
• The property must be debt-free.
• The sewer line must be inspected and replaced/repaired based on the findings of the inspection.
The sewer line has been inspected and a section of the pipe has been identified for replacement. This is a relatively small expense and will be handled during the repair to the house. Later this summer, the fundraising committee will begin raising funds for paying off the debt on the house, primarily a result of Jeff’s nursing home care in his final months. If there is any debt remaining at the end of 2022, the fund-raising committee will coordinate with the Interfaith Coalition in an appeal to its 1,600 supporters after January of 2023. Interfaith has its own fund-raising efforts underway this fall and at the end of the year so we won’t have access to their list of names until those efforts are completed so that we don’t compete with Interfaith raising the needed fund for its operation.
Once the debt is paid off, the property will be gifted to the Interfaith Coalition.
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Mission Planning Team
CHRIST THE SERVANT
2600 Lakeway Dr.
Bellingham, WA 98229