Making a home

News | February 22, 2024

One of the many mission commitments of St. Paul is to help provide affordable housing to those in the Quad City community. The St. Paul Affordable Housing Team is a significant part of making that mission a reality.

Caring for the community
In early November 2023, this group reconvened for the first time since 2019. St. Paul pastor Katy Warren offers support to group members Clayton Lloyd, Margaret Haas, Kathy Schutman, Keith Kutzbach, and Carol Burton. Each group member brings unique insights, and both work and personal experiences to help support those with housing insecurities. For Affordable Housing team member Carol Burton, a personal connection drives her passion for the St. Paul housing ministry.

“My oldest brother was associated with what was at the time the Handicapped Development Center (recently renamed Empowering Abilities). He benefited from an affordable housing ministry like what St. Paul has at 2025 Main Street,” Carol notes. “That opportunity provided a normal life for him. He lived in a home with roommates and was able to be more independent. That always meant a lot for us as a family, so I want to be part of making that happen for others.”

Carol is very community-focused, believing in working together for the betterment of the Quad Cities.

“St. Paul is a part of the solution. At some point our community leaders will have to create more initiatives and, hopefully, St. Paul can be part of an example of what works,” Carol said. “That’s another aspect I admire about St. Paul; we are an example of how to treat people and make a difference in the community.”

The housing team didn’t anticipate the purchase of a new property so quickly after reconvening, but when the opportunity arose, the group knew it was the right property and the time to act. In early January, the group brought a proposal in front of the church council and then that proposal moved to a congregational vote. A few weeks later, the congregation voted to purchase a new property, not too far from St. Paul, on Carey Avenue in Davenport.

When looking for a new house to provide affordable living solutions, the team focused on location. Finding properties with accessibility to a bus route, providing transportation solutions for those without their own form of transportation, close to a grocery store or drug store like Aldi or Walgreens, the possibility of handicap access, should it be needed, and something not too far away from the church.

“We discussed the pros and cons of a few properties before deciding on the Carey Ave home. It has everything we were looking for regarding being close to public transportation and close to stores,” Carol remarked. “We also wanted a property near St. Paul to establish a personal connection with the people who would be living there. It’s important to us to establish a connection and a relationship with those in our community.”

Carol and her husband Lance joined St. Paul in 2022, following their return to the Quad Cities. This team has been a way for Carol to connect with other St. Paul people and become active in the community.

“I’ve gotten to know other members of the group and created new relationships and friendships. My background is in Human Resources, I know little about housing, but my family connections to safe and affordable housing are part of my contribution to the group. The team brings together people with distinct experience levels and diversity, which is a positive for the community.”

A proven example
The large brown brick house sitting on the corner of Main and High Street appears to be just another home on the block. Its walls and doors keep the residents warm and safe inside on wintery days. But there is much more going on inside the home than first meets the eye.

This house has been a home for individuals living with long-term mental illness for more than 25 years, since St. Paul first started this mental health ministry. Right here on the St. Paul campus, residents live independently, with supportive services provided through Vera French Housing. St. Paul has enjoyed a successful partnership with Vera French over the past two decades and will be looking to duplicate a similar model with a community partner as this commitment to affordable housing expands. Affordable Housing Team member Keith Kutzbach, and his wife Dixie, were drawn to St. Paul by the congregational support of the church’s missions.

“St. Paul actively supports safe and affordable housing for the Quad City community and supportive services for those who need a little extra support. The Affordable Housing Team has had discussions about long-term goals for the housing ministry and I’d like to see something like the 2025 Main Street model continue to expand,” Keith said. “We have an incredible partnership with Vera French Housing and that program supports St. Paul’s mission in both the housing and mental health ministries.”

That Main Street house is much more than just housing for four residents, it’s peace of mind and comfort for the men’s families. Each resident in that home may be a son, brother, uncle, father, or friend whose safety and wellness impact their loved ones.

“If you look at it, St. Paul is not just helping four individuals; we’re helping four families. It’s a wide circle of care,” Keith said. “Each of those men come from different families who are also impacted by their loved ones having safe housing and long-term mental health care. At some point in our lives, we know someone who needs help. If we don’t do it, who is going to do it?”

St. Paul housing initiatives
Safe, affordable housing for people in need is a consistent St. Paul priority. Sturdy walls, shingles, and supportive services are all tangible signs of God’s immense, protective presence.

Affordable housing
St. Paul partners with One Eighty, a nonprofit social enterprise, to renovate abandoned houses in the city of Davenport. A family from Madison Elementary was chosen to become owners of a safe and affordable place to call home.

Habitat for Humanity
Strap on a tool belt and help build simple, decent houses through this ecumenical ministry. Volunteers work alongside families who dream of owning a home. The Quad-Cities Habitat chapter has built more than 100 homes, including those constructed with St. Paul funding and labor.

Mission Appalachia
St. Paul people travel to rural Appalachia to make homes safer, warmer, and drier for low-income families. The church’s partnership with Appalachia Service Project (ASP) translates into serving experiences for adults and teenagers.

One of the passions of St. Paul is housing. It takes shape in the ways above and in financial support given to organizations like Luther Properties, Vera French Housing, Christian Care, and Family Resources Domestic Violence Shelter. St. Paul continues to make a significant commitment to housing ministries and organizations.

One comment on “Making a home”

  • Scott Forsberg

    February 22, 2024 at 1:40 pm

    What a great story! Keep on making a difference!!

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