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Housing Services
Just one in eight Adventist local churches report that they provide some kind of housing program as a community service. Another 9% say they support a coalition of local organizations involved in housing. Housing programs include homeless shelters, as well as community development projects that construct or rehabilitate affordable housing such as those conducted by Habitat for Humanity and apartment houses operated by nonprofit organizations to provide housing for the elderly. Some homeless shelter programs are short-term emergency operations that involve the local church only one or two weeks out of the year, while others operate 365 days a year.

This is an area of community service in which Adventist churches are significantly less involved than other faith groups. About one in five Adventist churches are involved in housing, while more than a third of congregations of all faiths are involved in housing.

In many conferences there is not even one, single housing program among the community services provided. At least one conference has an exemplary program in the area of housing. South Central Conference has a housing department and operates nearly two dozen major projects of affordable and elderly housing throughout its territory.

The Coatesville Adventist Church is a congregation in Pennsylvania with about 100 members which has sponsored a homeless shelter for nearly 20 years. Members started the Atkinson Memorial Center which operates a model homeless shelter as well as transitional housing, affordable housing and community development projects.

This is an area of major need and more Adventist churches should get involved.

Discussion Questions:

1. Is our congregation involved in providing elderly, emergency or affordable housing services for people in the community?

2. Is there a need for a homeless shelter or affordable housing in our community?

3. Should we appoint a task force to explore this area of ministry and prepare a report on the needs and options available to our congregation?

The Adventist Congregations Today book and CD-R contain research on a number of topics. Learn more about the Faith Communities Today (FACT) research.

Paul Richardson
Executive Director
Center for Creative Ministry

Creative Pastor e-Newsletter, November 30, 2005, Center for Creative Ministry