Grace Randolph has been an intern through InterVarsity for Summer 2023. She is a rising second-year at the University of Richmond, majoring in Journalism. Over the last few months, she’s been able to do a deep-dive on congregations and affordable housing. Check out her thoughts below!
The U.S. has a shortage of 7.3 million rental homes affordable and available to renters with low incomes: those whose incomes are at or below the federal poverty guideline or 30% of their area median income, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Extremely low-income renters face shortages in every state and central metropolitan area; In Virginia, only 32 affordable and available rental homes exist for every 100 extremely low-income renter households.
Churches across the nation are responding to the affordable housing crisis by recognizing the value of their underutilized land and repurposing it into affordable housing. Most faith groups have a history of filling housing needs and embracing the vulnerable of our society. By stewarding resources in this way, churches are expanding their social mission of justice while leaving a lasting impact in the communities they reside.
This summer I had the incredible pleasure of working beside VICPP’s Faith Organizer, Sheila Herlihy Hennessee, to create a tool kit for congregations interested in building affordable housing on their property. The tool kit outlines the steps of the affordable housing process, beginning with discernment and ending with development. It will hopefully be valuable to congregations eager but unsure of starting a new mission in affordable housing.