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Ministry Resources

A description of some of the resources that you can find on the website for service and outreach.

Food, Mortgage or Repair - The Crushing Choice

Imagine that you don't have enough financial resources to meet your basic needs - food, shelter and bills. Then you're hit with a critical home repair need affecting safety, or your independence is threatened because your ability to access the home is jarringly impacted because of aging, disease or disability. Or your already scant funds are being drained through utility problems, like leaky plumbing. Think these are just isolated cases?

A Critical Home Repair Need35 million metropolitan homes in the United States, or 40 percent, contain one or more health and safety hazards.1 An October 3, 2012 survey by HomeServe shows that one in five homeowners faces a repair expense they cannot afford.2 To give you some context from our part of the country, according to Families First®, “1.8 million Georgians do not have enough money to meet basic needs, such as food, housing and medication.”3 People facing these needs are forced into a very difficult decision. Do they cut a necessity or live with a known safety or health hazard in their home?

What Can You Do?

Our experience has been that homeowners in these situations are typically widows, single mothers, seniors or people with disabilities. There are a couple ways you can help them.

First, if you are a member of a church, and you have some handy skills, probably the most effective thing you can do is start your own team. Sound daunting? It doesn't need to be. In fact, you can start small, perhaps handling lawncare needs for seniors in your church. We provide no-cost resources that can help you think through starting a team. Home Repair Ministry Resources

Second, if you live in the Atlanta area, join us on a project. We have much more need than we can meet!

Third, invest in the lives of struggling, low-income homeowners by making a donation to Home Repairs Ministries. Last year, HRM completed over 200 projects in the community, a new record. Some of these projects were for other nonprofits/service agencies, enabling them to serve more people in need with repairs and/or facility modifications (here's one example). This is the third straight year of 120+ projects completed!

Footnotes:

1 - Article by Wendy Koch in the September 30 edition USA Today, entitled "Mice, leaks, holes: 40% of metro homes have hazards" (McLean, Va.: Gannett Co., 2013)

2 - Source: HomeServe survey cited in October 3 Fox Business News article - www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2012/10/03/do-need-added-homeowner-insurance/

3 - Families First® Overview 07-06-14 (Atlanta, GA.: Families First, 2014), 5. Downloaded from
http://www.atlantaregional.com/File Library/About Us/committee agendas/ELUC/ELUC Subcommittee on Poverty/Families-First-Overview_7-16-14.pdf



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.


Driving Outreach May Be Easier Than You Think

2014 Church ConferenceWe've been blessed to be able to attend a couple church conferences, and they have been exciting opportunities to talk with leaders, from churches, who see the possibilities of a home repair team in their church. They see a team as a great way to meet some critical needs of the most vulnerable members of their congregations (particularly widows, the elderly, single mothers and people with mobility challenges), and as a tangible way to express God’s, and their, love to their congregants by serving them (John 13:35).

Home Repair can be a kind of “low-hanging” fruit as outreach goes, since once you make some community connections and know where to find needs, you’ll have people inviting your people into their homes to help. Pretty cool!


The discussions also reinforced that home repair ministry is more bottom-up than top-down. It was encouraging to see that the church leaders, by and large, seemed to get that. You just need to find the right "driver", and most often, this person is not staff. It's a matter of finding your church’s handy (and motivated) people, recruiting them to lead your ministry, and if an extra "push" is needed, providing some resources to help them get started. HRM would like to help make your job a little easier! We have a library of content available to help arm home repair ministry leaders (actual or prospective) with information to start and grow their own team!

Take a Sneak Peek     Register for the Site

And now a couple questions that we’d love your feedback on. Just click on "Leave a comment" below this post and let us know your experiences.

1) If your church has a home repair team, how did you find and engage your leader? Would it have helped the process to have some documentation for how to run a home repair ministry beforehand?

2) If you don’t have a team, have you tried? What was the response from the person(s) you approached?


Here Comes The Boom

If you follow the news, you’re probably aware that the nation is aging… Rapidly. The statistics are out there and they’re startling.

According to the Federal Administration on Aging, in just 30 years the nation’s population of those 65 and older will double. Pair that fact with these statistics and a critical need, and an opportunity, starts to emerge –

  • According to a recent AARP housing survey, “83% of older Americans want to stay in their current homes for the rest of their lives,” but other studies show that most homes are not designed to accommodate the needs of people over age 65.
  • Most older people live in homes that are more than 20 years old.
  • Research by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that home modifications and repairs may prevent 30% to 50% of all home accidents among seniors, including falls that take place in these older homes.

And did you know that over 82.7 percent of Americans 70 – 74 own their homes? In fact, all age groups over 65 have a home ownership percentage over 80%!1

Handicap Ramp PictureSo, what’s it all mean? Well, for one thing, older Americans are going to need help maintaining their houses and making them accessible. Their homes, which tend to be older, are going to need repairs more frequently to keep them safe. And accessibility updates will keep them independent and in their homes longer.

We have an opportunity to love and honor our parents, grandparents, mentors and friends by helping them with their home repairs and accessibility needs. And this community outreach could be coming to you! What an opportunity for your church to show and share the love of Christ to those in need in a very practical way!

Not sure where to start? We have materials to help churches of all sizes and stages get a team started, or to grow their existing ministry. If you have any interest in starting a team, please register today.

See the resources for your church to start a team

Home Modification Questions to Ask for Accessibility (from eldercare.gov)

1 – U. S. Census Bureau, Housing Vacancies and Homeownership (CPS/HVS): 2013. (Table 7. Homeownership Rates by Age of Householder: Third Quarter 2012 and 2013)


Is a Home Repair Team Right for Your Church?

A church's home repair team exists to serve it's own homeowners in need and as an outreach to your community. In both cases, we have found those most needing our services to typically be widows, single mothers, the elderly and disabled. If outreach is a priority for your church, a home repair ministry is an opportunity to share the gospel in Word and deed with these people.

If this sounds like a good idea, the next question becomes "is it right for us and can we do it?" Finding the answers will be helped by sharing what a home repair team is and what it is not.

1) A home repair team is typically not led by staff or leadership (at least, that's been our experience). A home repair team can be viewed as an opportunity to extend your congregation's involvement and outreach. In fact, the guys who run a home repair team can be the people in your church who aren't sure how and where to plug in and serve.

Find your handymen (and women), and the folks your leadership calls when you have a single mom with a repair need, and you've found your candidate to lead you local church's home repair team. We think that these guys exist in many churches.

2) A home repair team is scalable in scope. The size of your church should not be an impediment to starting a team. A simple home repair team can be two guys who help people out occasionally on weekends. In a larger church, or one with a lot of handymen, you can have several projects going on a month.

3) A home repair team does not have to raise a lot of money to fund projects. Your church can certainly choose to fund projects, but we try to either have the materials paid for by the homeowner (where feasible) or donated from local businesses or other non-profits.

Disaster Response4) A home repair ministry is a natural partner to a disaster response/recovery team. If your church participates in disaster recovery projects, a home repair ministry can help your team impact their community all throughout the year. More than likely you've already got the same types of skills on your team and are doing similar types of work. Instead of sending volunteers out a couple times a year, you can keep them busy every month, even weekly, if you have the people for it!

5) Starting a home repair ministry does require some forethought. Fortunately, our ministry and other churches have been through this before. In fact, we've been doing this for many years and learned a lot of good ideas and some not so good ones to avoid.

We've collected that information and made it available to churches at no charge on our website (you can make a suggested donation but it is not required). As we get more churches joining through our website, we desire to build a community that can share and learn with each other.

Sign up

Engaging the Unengaged - Starting a Team in Your Church

We've talked quite a bit in the blog about the need for home repairs for widows, single mothers, the elderly and disabled, but aside from the primary blessings of serving Jesus and our brothers, sisters and neighbors, there is also a practical reasons for your church to consider a home repair team.

Handymen UnleashedIn almost every church there is a group of handy people that are called upon for their skills. Some help maintain the church building, some go on construction-related mission trips, and some help with the occasional odd job presented by a needy congregation member. Most of the time these previously mentioned groups serve when called upon, but they are not actively looking for projects. Did some faces and names come to mind?

Men (and women) on the periphery of the ministry are found in many churches but cannot figure out how to serve in the church if they don’t sing, teach, direct traffic, or participate in childcare. But, they can use their hands! When these people are engaged, there is an army of handymen ready to jump in and “get it done”.

So, what might move a church like yours toward starting a home repair ministry team?

  • An existing handyman group needs organizing or refining for effectiveness
  • There are interested men in the church
  • There is someone in the church with a need
  • The pastor or staff have the idea of starting a team for outreach purposes
  • To build a Men’s Ministry
  • There are needs in the community close to the church

So, one of the best ways to form a home repairs team is to identify these handy people and get them behind, and committed to, an effort to launch your home repairs ministry. Or, put another way, encourage them to do what they were already doing, only in a more organized and effective manner.

We can help you get started with a library of resources to help you start and run a team.


How Do I Set Up A Home Repair Team, Part III

Roof projectThis is the third and final part of the three-part blog series, "How Do I Set Up a Home Repair Team?" In the first post, we looked at the ministry leadership team and role. In the second blog, we looked at the all-important Project Leader role.

Today we conclude by looking at the Project Coordinator and Tradesman roles. If your team looks a little different and doesn't have all of these positions, that's fine. These are suggestions only.

Project Coordinator

  • Contacts the homeowner to obtain a thorough description of items that need to be addressed
    

  • Visits the homeowner during the scoping of the project (preferably along with the PL)
    

  • Assists the PL and Leadership Team in contacting volunteers for the project
  • Follows up with the homeowner to address any additional concerns, put them in contact with other ministries, etc.
  • Periodically updates the homeowner on the status of the project


Tradesmen

  • Individuals who work professionally or are very accomplished in a particular skill
  • Provide non-leadership expertise for specific needs / projects

      For more suggestions for starting and running a home repair team as a mercy/outreach ministry, sign up for our resources at no cost!
      Read the rest of the series:

      Part 1       Part 2


How Do I Set Up A Home Repair Team, Part II

Roof projectThis is part two of the blog series, "How Do I Set Up a Home Repair Team?"

In the first post, we looked at the ministry leadership team and role. This series is one possible way to set up a home repair team as a mercy or outreach ministry (and probably represents a more mature ministry, although the ideas here should hopefully be very helpful to younger ministries as well). If yours looks different, that's fine. Use what works.

Today we look at one of the most important members of your home repair ministry, the Project Leader.

Project Leader Responsibilities

  • Prior to Project
    • Estimates and confirms scope of the project
    • Works with Home Repairs Leadership to establish Project Date
    • Synchronizes with Project Coordinator (if necessary) to contact homeowner
    • Insures confirmed volunteers have been contacted and have date/start time/directions, etc.

    • Project Day
        Project Day
      • Arranges for necessary supplies to be available when needed
        • Obtains as much as possible in advance
        • Plans for supply run(s)
        • Delays start of volunteers if materials are late or other delays occur
      • Assigns work to volunteers
      • Insures work is conducted in a safe manner
      • Verifies that assigned volunteer tasks match their abilities
      • Makes sure appropriate tools and safety equipment are used
      • Insures that team operates in a respectful, polite manner
        • The team represents your church
        • Most importantly, the team members serve as ambassadors of Jesus Christ
        • If there is a problem with someone on the team who may not understand this issue, please refer the situation to one of the leadership team members
      • Insures that job site is cleaned up and any debris removed

      • Post Project Follow up
        • Notify Home Repairs Leadership of final status of project for the day
          • What was completed
          • What was not completed
          • Any additional requests/issues
          • Final list of volunteers
        • Turn in expenses for reimbursement

      Our goal in handling projects is that from the time we get a project on the list to the time we complete the project should be no more than 3 months, preferably.
      Read the rest of the series:

      Part 1       Part 3


How Do I Set Up A Home Repair Team, Part I

Is your church considering or open to home repair as an outreach or mercy ministry? Or are you in the process of organizing? One of the most important steps in setting up your home repair team is determining how you will be organized. Over the next couple days, we will be sharing with you some descriptions of positions within a home repair team. This model represents a fairly sophisticated team, and is just one way of staffing, but our hope is that it's helpful in starting your service ministry or optimizing the team that you have in place already.

If you want this information in a complete document, download the PDF file. More information like this is available by signing up on the web site (no charge).

Part I - Leadership Team Member

Your Home Repairs leadership team should meet at least monthly to:

  • Discuss new projects
  • Review status of open projects
  • Set goals & direction for the ministry
  • Assign project responsibilities

In addition, for each project handled by your ministry, a leadership team member is specifically assigned to the project. When the project is assigned, the leadership team member is responsible for:

  • Managing the project if there is no Project Leader (PL) - the Project Leader position will be discussed in more detail in a future blog
  • Obtaining a list of volunteers and insuring they are contacted
  • Coordinating with the Project Leader and the Project Coordinator (PC) to establish a date for the project (see PC role information in Part 3)
  • Insuring that the status of the project is maintained in the Home Repairs Database (reporting project & volunteer information)
  • Assisting in scoping the project & making sure that your ministry coordinates with the homeowner

Read the rest of the series:

Part 2       Part 3


3 Things You Need to Start a Home Repair Ministry (and 8 More to Grow)

A home repair team, in the most rudimentary form, needs very few things:

    1) A couple of people who want to use their knowledge and skills in construction-related ministry
    2) A project or several projects requiring volunteers
    3) A method of funding materials

Anything larger than "a couple of guys" requires some level of organization or things can get chaotic quickly. At that point, you will need to:

    Building a Ramp1) Identify a team leader
    2) Determine a method of distributing information to the volunteer team (meeting, email, website, etc.)
    3) Develop a plan to distribute information to supporters and let potential "clients" know about the ministry
    4) Create a database or tracking mechanism for projects and volunteers
    5) Build a volunteer pool over time and a plan to manage and develop your volunteers
    6) Establish guidelines for carrying out the ministry need, including safety, types of projects the team can/cannot handle, scope, financial need of clients, etc.
    7) Foster communication between the team and church leadership so that all are kept abreast of the ministry development and progress
    8) Develop an accountability system to ensure that the spiritual aspect of serving on a home repairs team is being included, and so that there is proper follow up and quality control for completing projects.

Want more information on starting, finding projects, how to pay for projects and more? We can help! Register on our site today at no charge!