An affordable home

Mission | January 2, 2019

The house on Charlotte Street in Davenport was in bad shape. The bank had taken it back from a previous owner. It needed pretty much everything – plumbing, electrical, HVAC, a roof, and all sorts of drywall, painting, flooring, and appliances.

Along came One Eighty – an organization that knows a few things about rehabbing buildings and lives. Their dream? To renovate, each year, a handful of the dozens and dozens of abandoned and neglected houses in Davenport, and then give families with low income the opportunity to own a home.

The bank gave One Eighty the house for free. One Eighty’s work crews – the organization runs businesses to assist its program participants in returning to productive lives – worked on the house. One Eighty invested about $35,000 on materials and professionals to make the transformation complete.

“We want to take every abandoned house we can get our hands on and renovate them,” said Rusty Boruff, One Eighty’s leader. “Don’t believe people when they tell you it can’t be done. This is the new way to fight poverty, homelessness, and our affordable housing crisis. This house will be used to bless a family going through a difficult time. It’s a pretty simple concept.”

The house on Charlotte Street was the first One Eighty completed. A family of three, a couple and their son, recently moved in. Soon, in partnership with St. Paul, One Eighty will find another house to do the same. Who will live there? A family whose children attend Madison Elementary School, which St. Paul also partners with, will be chosen to start on the path to homeownership.

An incredible need
Last year, the All St. Paul Reads selection was Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond. It prompted a discussion: What can St. Paul do to eliminate the housing barriers people in poverty face, while also stabilizing neighborhoods through homeownership?

Over the past several months, the St. Paul Mission Board engaged in detailed conversations regarding local options for affordable housing. They brainstormed and investigated a number of ways St. Paul might make a meaningful and substantial impact for some low income individuals in search of stable housing.

“We recognize there is an incredible need for local, stable, and safe housing, particularly in the neighborhood that serves as the residential base for Madison Elementary School, our partner school,” the Mission Board said in its report to the Congregational Council. “We believe there is substantial merit in identifying and assisting working families whohave so much in place to succeed in life, but who cannot land or afford safe and dependable housing. We’ve wondered together how we might help foster safe and affordable housing that would, in turn, allow other basic necessities for human flourishing to fall into place for at least a few families.”

As part of this agreement, St. Paul will make an upfront monetary gift of $43,000 to One Eighty for the express purpose of One Eighty acquiring and rehabbing a home in need of repairs in the Madison Elementary School boundary. One Eighty will own the home. The family selected for the program will make a reasonable payment each month to One Eighty, based on their income. In this rent-to-own model, One Eighty will eventually turn over ownership of the home once program expectations are met.

All the while, a team of people from St. Paul will help refurbish the home, and then support the family as they move from instability to stability. The hope is that this pilot project is the beginning of an extended partnership.

Choosing the family
Christina Taylor, who is Madison Elementary’s social worker, will guide the process of selecting a family. She also was involved in the selection of the family now calling Charlotte Street home. Oftentimes, even with working two or more jobs, it is hard for families to afford a home.

“It was one of the most fulfilling projects I’ve been involved with,” she said. “The family was so deserving. They work so hard. It felt so, so good. The key thing is finding the right family.”

The pride of ownership, and accountability for what happens in their neighborhood, is an important part of the initiative, Christina said.

“It offers stability for children – moving from house to house and school to school isn’t good for them academically,” she said. “And it builds strong relationships.”

The family selected for Charlotte Street lived in a run-down studio apartment, the mom said. She grew up in Davenport, and never imagined she could own a home here. When she walked through the door of her new home a month ago, the people of One Eighty had fully furnished it – including a Christmas tree.

“I’m so very blessed,” she said.

On that day, staff from Madison Elementary School came to celebrate. Rusty noticed when one of the teachers, as she was leaving, said to the family’s child: “I’ll see you tomorrow, buddy.”

“This is 100 percent built on relationships,” Rusty said. “The only way this concept works is when families are surrounded by people who care about them.”

4 Comments on “An affordable home”

  • Carol Seitz

    January 5, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    Projects like this are what make St Paul the strong , vital church it is – always looking outward instead of inward.

  • Georgia Dugan

    January 4, 2019 at 10:17 pm

    This makes my heart happy.

  • Sue Drobushevich

    January 4, 2019 at 10:12 am

    That is awesome!

  • Pamela Spear

    January 3, 2019 at 3:52 pm

    This is a wonderful outcome from St. Paul’s meeting last year about affordable housing. A big thanks to the Mission Committee and everyone involved in this approach to make more affordable housing available. I believe this will work well now and in the future, as more people get involved.

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Isaiah 9:2-7

Psalm 96

Titus 2:11-14

Luke 2:1-14

Isaiah 63:7-9

Psalm 148

Hebrews 2:10-18

Matthew 2:13-23

Jeremiah 31:7-14

Psalm 147:12-20

Ephesians 1:3-14

John 1:10-18

Isaiah 42:1-9

Psalm 29

Acts 10:34-43

Matthew 3:13-17

Isaiah 49:1-7

1 Listen to me, O coastlands, pay attention, you peoples from far away! The Lord called me before I was born, while I was in my mother’s womb he named me. 2 He made my mouth like a sharp sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me away. 3 And he said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.” 4 But I said, “I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my cause is with the Lord, and my reward with my God.” 5 And now the Lord says, who formed me in the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, and that Israel might be gathered to him, for I am honored in the sight of the Lord, and my God has become my strength— 6 he says, “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” 7 Thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One, to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nations, the slave of rulers, “Kings shall see and stand up, princes, and they shall prostrate themselves, because of the Lord, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”

Psalm 40:1-11

Thanksgiving for Deliverance and Prayer for Help To the leader. Of David. A Psalm. 1 I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. 2 He drew me up from the desolate pit,[a] out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. 3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord. 4 Happy are those who make the Lord their trust, who do not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after false gods. 5 You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you. Were I to proclaim and tell of them, they would be more than can be counted. 6 Sacrifice and offering you do not desire, but you have given me an open ear.[b] Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required. 7 Then I said, “Here I am; in the scroll of the book it is written of me.[c] 8 I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” 9 I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; see, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O Lord. 10 I have not hidden your saving help within my heart, I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation. 11 Do not, O Lord, withhold your mercy from me; let your steadfast love and your faithfulness keep me safe forever.

1 Corinthians 1:1-9

Salutation 1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, 2 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord[a] and ours: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 4 I give thanks to my[b] God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, 5 for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind— 6 just as the testimony of[c] Christ has been strengthened among you— 7 so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8 He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

John 1:29-42

The Lamb of God 29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.”[a] The First Disciples of Jesus 35 The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed[b]). 42 He brought Simon[c] to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter[d]).

Isaiah 9:1-4

The Righteous Reign of the Coming King 9 [a] But there will be no gloom for those who were in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. 2 [b] The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined. 3 You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. 4 For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian.

Psalm 27:1-9

Triumphant Song of Confidence Of David. 1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold[a] of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? 2 When evildoers assail me to devour my flesh— my adversaries and foes— they shall stumble and fall. 3 Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war rise up against me, yet I will be confident. 4 One thing I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple. 5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will set me high on a rock. 6 Now my head is lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord. 7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me! 8 “Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!” Your face, Lord, do I seek. 9 Do not hide your face from me. Do not turn your servant away in anger, you who have been my help. Do not cast me off, do not forsake me, O God of my salvation!

1 Corinthians 1:10-18

Divisions in the Church 10 Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,[a] by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. 11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters.[b] 12 What I mean is that each of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” 13 Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God[c] that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power. Christ the Power and Wisdom of God 18 For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Matthew 4:12-23

Jesus Begins His Ministry in Galilee 12 Now when Jesus[a] heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. 13 He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: 15 “Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— 16 the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.” 17 From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”[b] Jesus Calls the First Disciples 18 As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him. Jesus Ministers to Crowds of People 23 Jesus[c] went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news[d] of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.