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About the Ministry

Information about Home Repairs Ministries and the resources we provide for service, outreach and evangelism.

Meeting Critical Needs - Stewarding Resources to Help the Most Vulnerable

House needing workWe get many more requests for help than we can possibly meet. They can range from changing out a toilet valve, to painting a room, to replacing an entire roof. To make the biggest Kingdom impact, and to help people in the most desperate situations, HRM’s focus is on meeting the most critical needs, including:

  • Providing or improving access to a home (and the outside world) with ramps and widened doorways to help the disabled live their life more fully.
  • Addressing safety issues by adding grab bars in a bathroom, repairing roof leaks, replacing rotten railings, steps and floors (especially if water is present) and changing out electrical switches or outlets which are inoperable or dangerous.
  • Avoiding fines or possible home condemnations by taking on projects to address violations and citations.
  • Preventing multi-hundred dollar utility bills for people on fixed incomes, or with low income, by providing light plumbing for water leaks .
  • Removing conditions which make a home unlivable, such as animals or pests in the home.
  • Supporting or enabling people involved in the work of the Kingdom, with projects such as renovations or repairs for families involved in adopting or fostering children.

We find that people who call us often remove themselves from consideration once we explain the priority of critical needs.


Homeowner Spotlight - Rodrick

Rodrick and His RampMeet Rodrick Peterson, or as Andre, our Urban Atlanta Ministry Director calls him, Rod the Determinator (for his resolve). Rod’s strong desire was to be able to get his power wheelchair out of the house and up the street so he could catch the bus (or a ride with a friend), visit his doctor and just live life. He could barely get out of the house and up the street on his crutches, but by the time he got there, he was completely worn out. Andre built him a ramp, which lets him get up the hill with his wheelchair, see his friends and live independently. Rodrick has asked for Andre to disciple him.


One Thing the World Desperately Need to See - The Visible Gospel

I think many in our country today share the following attitude towards Christianity: "Show me the gospel!!!" (with respects to the movie, Jerry Maguire). As society drifts away from knowledge of what the Bible teaches, I believe it's helpful for people to see Jesus (through Christians serving), so they can hear Jesus.

Jesus, Himself, in the Sermon on the Mount, directed His followers to, “...let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16, ESV). 1 Peter 2:12 exhorts Christians to “Keep your conduct among the Gentiles (unbelievers) honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. (ESV).

Decimated bathroomThat’s one of the things that’s so exciting about home repair. Homeowners, and those watching, understand how important it is to live in a safe home, and they can see the value and relief we provide, in Jesus’ name. Many of those we serve face very difficult financial decisions. Will the homeowner fix the leaky roof that threatens the structural integrity of the entire house, feed her family, buy her medication or pay utilities? Through our supporters and volunteers, HRM can help alleviate some of these financial and safety challenges, and serving them can provide an opportunity to share why we’re serving - the wonderful gift which Jesus has given us - eternal life and a personal relationship with God, through His shed blood, to pay for our sins (and it’s available to you, too, Mr. or Ms. Homeowner!).

Would you like to partner with us and help show and share the gospel with low-income homeowners? Support HRM's work




God's Heart for the Single Mother

There are many Bible passages which affirm God’s heart for single mothers and their children. In 1 Kings 17:7-24 and 2 Kings 4:1-7, God miraculously provides for single mothers through Elijah. Psalm 68:5 states, “Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in His holy habitation.” In Zechariah 7:10, God commands, “...do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor... ” Exodus 22:22-23 says “You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry...”

A Single Mother's Testimonial

A Single Mother's Testimonial

A single mother’s life is not an easy one, but it’s probably more difficult than you think. The poverty rate for single-mother families with children, in 2013, was 39.6%, nearly five times more than the rate (7.6%) for married-couple families. The rate of extreme poverty rate was 20.6%.1 Of particular interest to HRM, one third of all single-parent families spent more than half their income on housing,2 which is generally considered the threshold for “severe housing cost burden.”

However she became one, the single mother is often functionally, if not actually, a widow. She is vulnerable and may find herself desperately needing help beyond her resources. That’s the situation all of us are in before God, and why we celebrate what Jesus accomplished on the cross for us. He met our most critical need, one we absolutely could not meet ourselves, providing the payment for our sins and offering us eternal life in His presence, claimed by faith and trust in Him. He gives those who accept the offer His righteousness and takes their punishment.

HRM serves single mothers, as well as other people in need (typically widows, seniors, people with disabilities and the poor), to thank God for serving us, the undeserving, and to model the love of Jesus to them. I love 2 Corinthians 9:13 - “By their approval of this service, they (single mothers and those we serve) will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them . . . “

Would your church like to show Christ's love to single mothers and other homeowners in need? If you live in metro-Atlanta, Join us on a project. Or, if you'd like to start your own ministry wherever you live, sign up for our free resources.

You can also help us provide critical repairs, affecting safety and quality of life, and modifications to make a home safer and more accessible, by making an investment in people in need, through HRM. Make a Donation

Footnotes:
1 - National Women’s Law Center, “insecure &unequal - poverty and income among women and families 2000-2013, by Joan
Entmacher, Katherine Gallagher Robbins, Julie Vogtman, and Anne Morrison

2 Joint Center For Housing Studies Of Harvard University, “The State of the Nation’s Housing 2011” (Table A-5) ©2011 President and Fellows of Harvard College.



Attempting Community Transformation

As a nonprofit, ministry or church team, have you ever embarked on a new endeavor so big that you had no idea how it would turn out? Maybe you had a vision to help the homeless get integrated back into society, or to be a catalyst to help raise school test scores in under-resourced areas. Recently, we began to attempt something like this ourselves, by starting a new inner-city and urban Atlanta focused service area (what we call a Hub; you'll see why in a minute) to meet the need for critical home repairs for low-income homeowners and people who typically can't make repairs themselves - widows, single mothers, the elderly and those with mobility challenges.

We want to not just serve individual homeowners, but to help transform the community to collectively impact more people than we ever could alone by showing and sharing the love and gospel of Jesus Christ to those we serve.

Have you ever attempted something like that? What has been your experience? I hope that you'll share your learnings by leaving a comment at the bottom of this post.

We act like A HubHere's our model for attempting this. We've used it in our northeast-Atlanta suburban Hub. Much like the Hub of a wheel with many “spokes”, our new inner-city Hub Director Andre will connect disadvantaged homeowners with the following organizations or groups:

Spoke 1) Churches - HRM helps churches start or grow their own home repair teams to serve their congregations and communities. We also coordinate and rally volunteers from churches on projects we lead.

Spoke 2) Other nonprofits and agencies - We receive referrals, often pre-screened, from other community service organizations, and if there’s a need a homeowner has that we can’t meet, we try to return the favor by referring them to nonprofits and agencies we have a relationship with. HRM also makes it a priority to serve these organizations that help the hurting, with repairs or upgrades, so that they can serve more people, better. The community, and people with needs, win!

Spoke 3) Businesses - Community-minded businesses sometimes offer materials discounts (on occasion donations), grants and financial support.

Spoke 4) Individual financial supporters - Donors provide the "gas in the tank" that lets us go. Although they may not directly meet the many people we serve, donors enable us to do the work we do to make their homes safe and accessible!

This model has helped us complete over 120 projects two straight years, in the suburbs, and it’s one reason we’re so excited about the new Hub. Of course, nothing is ever certain in a new venture and area. If we need to make adjustments, we will! As we mentioned above, please let us know how your adventures have gone in serving the community by leaving a comment!



A Day in the Life, Part 2

In Part One of this blog series, we took a look behind-the-scenes at some of the work and networking that takes place for the ministry's work to get done. Today, we'll look at a service project day.

Day 1 - Project Day


Serving HomeownersToday is Saturday and it's our usual project day (if you live in metro-Atlanta, and are interested, please join us on a project. We need you!). I wake up early, pray, read some Scripture and think about today’s devotional for the crew.

I grab the pile of tools, boxes, compressors and hoses, extension cords and the cooler with drinks and load the truck. I am out the door by 7:30 a.m.

On site, I greet volunteers as they arrive, get waivers signed by the new ones, explain how the project should go and find out who is comfortable going up on a ladder. We have a devotional and a prayer with the homeowner and volunteers and the work begins. I always try to finish by early afternoon, if possible.

We found rotten studs behind the drywall we are patching. Sometimes projects grow in scope right before your eyes. I arrive home late, due to the surprise with the studs. I rest for a bit, then unload everything I can’t lock up in the truck. It’s been a tiring but rewarding day! Thank you, Lord!


A Day in the Life, Part 1

November 2012 Roof Project 2As I'm sure is true in many of your jobs, it can be challenging to nail down an "average day". Since we're a small organization, at least in terms of staff, we do what we have to to get the job done. We hope that you can get a sense for what running your own nonprofit, or home repair ministry (in a church), can be (it certainly doesn't need to include all of the things listed here!), and maybe stoke some ideas. Part 1 will be more focused on running a service nonprofit, and Part 2 will be show you things that happen on a project day (which will be of special interest to churches). Nevertheless, to give you a bit of an idea what we do and how we operate, here is an attempt. Please note that this average day is representational, designed to show you some of the many things that are done to run a home repair ministry.

Day 1 - Preparing for Projects and Running the Ministry


Today is a Wednesday, so Jim Eschenberg, our Director of Communications and Development, and I have staff prayer time in the morning.

I ask several team leaders from churches, serving a widow, to recruit a few people each so we can blitz the roof project and get it done in one day. We have relationships with churches all over our area, each with people that love to serve God, with tools, by helping under-resourced people.

It’s time to see what emails have come in since last night:

  • Jim requests information on a donor and copy for a newsletter.
  • Several volunteers report the results of projects and another asks for some advice on how attach a grab bar in a tiled shower.
  • A reply from a pastor indicates that he would like to meet about organizing some handy people in his church for outreach.
  • I’m reminded to make a reservation for a networking opportunity.
  • A home health agency calls about a client who had a stroke and now can’t climb stairs. A trip to the site shows me what he needs (a wheelchair ramp) and his financial situation. Now I can start thinking about design, estimate materials needed, set a budget, consider funding sources, and see whether we can get materials discounted or at cost.

  • With a quick call to a ministry in urban Atlanta, we set up a time to meet about a problem on their building that we might be able to tackle with volunteers.
    With time left, I return phone calls.
    Please come back next Wednesday for Part 2!


    Home Repairs - The Gospel in Word and Deed

    People with a high view of scriptural authority tend to be strong in word ministry but "not so strong" in deed ministry. This has often bothered me because our example, Jesus, was mighty in word and deed (Luke 24:19). So, that is why we think a church with the capacity and with interested people should be out there helping hurting people stay in their homes.

    Harvey and JohnnyComing from the other direction, just fixing houses isn't enough. If the work does not attempt to address a person's greatest need, redemption from sin, we haven't "loved our neighbor as ourselves". One reason I like home repairs is that people are inviting us into their homes. We're not selling anything, and by the way, "Do you understand why we are helping you? We're telling God, 'Thank you', for redeeming us from sin through Christ, alone".

    Isaiah 58 talks about ending religious posturing and getting practical enough to help real people in real need. Verse 10 says" "...if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday." Our world desperately needs such light. Can your church bring some light to a dark world? We have some no-cost resources for churches and organizations to start or grow their own home repair team. We'd love to help you get started. If you have questions related to a home repair ministry, please leave a comment or send us an email and we'll follow up with you.


    Avoiding the Dependency Trap

    I’ve been involved in mercy ministry for many years and feel that a home repair ministry is one of the most helpful ministries out there. Following is a bit of my heart about that. Hopefully, you’ll be encouraged, as I am, in your support of the ministry.

    I remember serving in a soup kitchen and feeling as though I wasn’t helping much. The Lord put a high value on feeding the hungry (Matt 25: 31-46), so a soup kitchen is necessary, but addressing the immediate need isn’t always enough. My sense of falling short came because feeding/clothing, etc. often doesn’t move a person beyond needing someone to provide tomorrow’s soup.

    TrainingMinistries that teach people skills to improve their current situation, such as job training, are classified as a developmental. But even that has sometimes left me feeling unsatisfied. My training is that I should aspire to become an advocate for “the poor,” working to change laws that hold people in the chains of oppression. So I can always find things to make me feel guilty about ministry, whether from biblical teaching or just my personality problems (of which there are many!). Ministries of mercy can be very complicated, even downright messy.

    The good news (not specifically the Gospel, this time) is that a home repair ministry is in a unique spot. First, many of the people we serve are in situations where a repair is not likely to create a recurring dependency - an immediate need gets addressed and is unlikely to happen again soon after. On top of that, the situations we encounter seldom are due to a homeowner’s vice (unless neglect due to a lack of income is a vice) but all things are in decay. We help address the problem or needed change and the person gets on with her life. For example, a team builds a handicap ramp and the homeowner can now get in and out of the house. Good to go. Or an old roof is replaced with one that will outlive the owner and the structure of the house is protected.

    Building a rampDevelopmental training of home owners to do home repairs isn’t often helpful, though tips on maintenance can be. Training an elderly diabetic amputee about wheelchair ramp construction isn’t likely to be useful to him. As for political advocacy, apart from legislation against people aging and homes decaying, there’s not much to do apart from more government funding of unlimited needs from limited resources.

    In the last couple few years, several books have been written by people who have extensive experience working with “the poor”. Just hearing the titles of the books makes me stop and think: When Helping Hurts by Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett, and Toxic Charity by Robert D. Lupton. To a simple person like me who likes to address problems wearing a tool belt, while helping others to do the same, all of that knowledge tends to be “bad news” – making efforts to help people even more complicated and messy.

    But now, let me take you back to the “good news”: The issues raised in these books generally don’t apply to our ministry. The people we serve face some very difficult situations, but their problems are not usually brought on by laziness or chronic dependency. While we can’t fix all of their difficulties, we can keep homes from becoming a toxic problem that hurts!

    Oh, and wouldn’t it be great if a project were followed up by relational people who visit the homeowner (who didn’t learn to fix the roof) and bring some of our monthly mailing envelopes to stuff, together, while talking about the love of God demonstrated in the sacrifice of Jesus (the BEST NEWS of all). Dependency on the Savior is exactly where He wants us! I Peter 5:7 — "...casting all your anxieties on Him, because he cares for you." If you have good relational, evangelistic skills, and live in the Atlanta area (even if you don’t have tool skills), we can use you. Please contact me and we’ll plug you in.


    Delivering the Gift

    Delivering the Gift.

    freeimages.com/Charles Thompson

    Have you ever given a special gift to someone, perhaps your child, and been so excited, it was all you could do not to give it away beforehand? I think that God finds great delight in providing the many blessings (His gifts to us - often spiritual) that He lavishes on His children (Matthew 7:11). Did you ever stop and think that there’s a sense in which God allows those of us involved in mercy ministry to be gift-bringers on His behalf?

    For His children, God makes many promises in the Bible. Some of them, relating to God’s mercy and love are:

    • To be their Provider (Philippians 4:19, Matthew 6:31-33)
    • To bless them and watch over them (Jeremiah 29:11-13, Romans 8:28-29)
    • To be a shelter in the storms believers face (Psalm 18:30, Isaiah 41:10)

    Through common grace (God blessings to all mankind, such as restraint of evil, the basic requirements for life like air, water and food, other people, skills to do jobs, shelter etc.), God even gives tremendous gifts to those who have not given their lives to Him through Jesus.

    How cool is it, then, when God allows us to be the bearer of the awesome gifts that He bestows on people? Maybe we even share with the homeowner God’s ultimate gift - salvation, peace, eternal life and life more abundant here on earth, and a relationship with the God of the universe through Jesus Christ!

    Mr. or Ms. Handywoman, when you build a wheelchair ramp, remove rotten siding, replace a leaking roof or even fix a simple toilet flapper, you are personally delivering God’s love gift to that person.

    If you’re a handy person, but have not formally gotten involved in ministry, how about using your skills and abilities to love and serve others, and be a “deliveryman” from God with the message, and the proof that, “He loves you!”. If you’re interested, send us a note and let’s talk through it. We'd love to help you get started. If you live in metro-Atlanta, why don't you help deliver the gift with us here on a local project.

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