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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



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.



Home Repairs and Single Mothers - An Outreach Opportunity

In November, we talked a bit about one of the groups which we actively serve with home repairs and accessibility updates – the elderly.

This month, we’ll talk about another group that we regularly serve which often has need of the services that churches and our ministry provide – single mothers. As with the elderly population, the percentage of single mother families is exploding.

Did you know that single parents have more than tripled as a share of American households since 19601? 38.4% of single mother families with children under 18 are below the poverty line (compared with 8.9% of married parent families with children under 18)2. In fact, a report of Colorado mothers, released by the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute (2008), states that more than half of the single-mother households lack the income to meet basic needs of living. These numbers point to a group of people in significant financial distress.

Even for those single mothers not in poverty, the time demands and commitments on a single mother can make it hard to focus on anything other than surviving.

So, how can you and your church serve a burdened, stressed out single mother in need of loving, practical help? We’d like to suggest that a great way to do that is through a home repair ministry.

  • You and your church can be Jesus’ hands and feet by helping with an important need before it becomes a more expensive problem and/or a safety hazard for her and her children.
  • You can show Christ's love to the family be being there and sharing why you're serving them. As you can see in this video testimonial, the supportive presence can be as important as the material need being met.
  • You'll lighten the load of her often difficult financial situation. A church home repair team (or a group of them) can provide free labor and maybe even materials (you may be able to get them donated from a local business, church or non-profit).
  • It's a tremendous outreach opportunity! Did you know that 67% of all single mothers do not actively attend a local church?3

Footnotes:
1 The Mysterious and Alarming Rise of Single Parenthood in America, The Atlantic by Aparna Mathur, Hao Fu, and Peter Hansen Sep 3 2013
Footnotes:
2 U. S. Census Bureau, America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2012, Table 5. Family Groups With Children Under 18 by Selected Characteristics: CPS 2012
Footnotes:
3 The Church and the Single Mom, by Jennifer Maggio, posted on Crosswalk.com


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