There is a critical shortage of affordable housing in America, and religious groups have emerged as a pivotal player in the urgent quest to increase the supply.
How bad is the shortage? A new Harvard University study found that one in seven households pays more than half its income on rent or house payments, and that number is quickly growing. Housing is considered affordable when it costs 30 percent or less of a household’s income, but one in four spends more than that. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, a person working full time at minimum wage can no longer afford the local fair-market rent for a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the country.
What are congregations and faith-based organizations doing? They are building and renovating housing, lobbying government officials to create or require housing for low-income families, and partnering with government and secular organizations that build housing. They are the largest provider of housing for seniors in the nation, and they frequently target housing for other special-needs populations, such as disabled people.
The affordable housing crisis is blamed on rising land costs, diminished federal housing supports, high occupancy rates for apartments and the fact that there is little money to be made building housing for extremely low-income families – all factors that discourage builders from planning lower-income housing despite the dire need. The faith community can’t solve the shortage of affordable housing, but most observers say congregations and religious organizations are having a significant impact in some areas and that they are poised to play an even larger role.
Why it matters
People of faith regard helping the poor as a moral obligation. If households are spending a third or more of their income on housing, they often don’t have enough for food, health care, education or other needs. <!– Created using the Imagination Image Map Editor (http://www.mmaus.com/imagination.html)–>
- The U.S. House of Representatives is now considering the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund Act (search for HR 2895 at the Library of Congress). Modeled after state programs, the fund would pay to build, rehabilitate and preserve 1.5 million housing units over 10 years, with most reserved for the lowest-income families. Money would be divvied up through jurisdictions that would award grants to organizations and companies that build or rehabilitate housing. Builders who got trust fund money would be required to set aside a certain proportion of units for low-income families, resulting in mixed-income developments. The bill moved out of committee July 31, and the House is expected to vote on it after the August recess. The National Housing Trust Fund Campaign posts a list, by state, of organizations and religious groups that support the act, as well as background on the bill.
- Congregations have been active in affordable housing for decades. What’s new is that the need for affordable housing has increased and congregations are creating new ways to address the need. Megachurches and major religious organizations sometimes build entire neighborhoods. Many, many smaller churches focus on creating housing for special-needs populations, such as seniors or people with disabilities. Many religious organizations create nonprofit corporations in order to do so.
- Government agencies such as Freddie Mac and secular affordable housing providers are increasingly partnering with faith groups interested in creating affordable housing. Many for-profit developers partner with religious groups to get access to government funds available for affordable housing.
- More clergy, congregations and religious organizations are pressing government officials and legislators to create more affordable housing. In Ripon, Calif., affordable housing advocates – including one faith-based group – got the city to adopt a policy that requires one of every 10 units in new subdivisions to be sold to buyers who meet federal requirements for very low, low and moderate income – at prices that can wind up being hundreds of thousands of dollars below market value. The Chicago Housing Authority adopted the Plan for Transformation in 1999, in part because of lobbying by religious organizations. The plan is changing low-income housing into mixed-income developments and scattering low-income residents throughout the city instead of concentrating them in a few areas.
- Shrinking congregations are partnering with affordable housing providers, such as Enterprise Community Partners, and selling part or all of aging properties that are expensive to maintain. These sales allow the congregations to raise money to revitalize their ministries or downsize their buildings while adding affordable housing to their communities.
- Housing affects everyone – people of all faiths and people of no faith at all – and Christian, Jewish and Muslim congregations and organizations are involved in pressing for creative solutions for meeting the need for affordable housing. Community-organizing groups – some faith-based, and some secular but including people of faith – are active in seeking and urging solutions to the lack of affordable housing.
- Racial and ethnic minorities have lower rates of homeownership and often spend higher proportions of their income on housing than Anglos. Many congregations are working with government or secular organizations to provide financial workshops, housing counseling and loan assistance to members.
- Some of the country’s largest congregations do the least on affordable housing, while some of the smallest congregations do the most. It’s not about money or size, says author Jill Suzanne Shook. It’s about the size of the vision and the ability to create relationships in different sectors that are needed to create affordable housing.
- Stories about affordable housing can be told through the people whose lives are transformed by their new living situation. Families benefit from safer neighborhoods. Sometimes children do better in school because of a more stable living situation. Sometimes people can pay for health care when their rent doesn’t cost as much. Sometimes residents participate in the management or decision-making in their apartment complex for the first time. Sometimes churches are started when a clergy member lives in a complex and invites people to worship.
- The Rev. Wayne Gordon is co-founder and chairman/president of the Christian Community Development Corp., with works to “reclaim and restore” communities by supporting the work of Christian community development corporations, including those that provide affordable housing. He is also a founder of the Lawndale Christian Development Association, which is involved in affordable housing. Contact him in Chicago, 773-762-0994.
- Jim Knight is executive director of Jubilee Housing, a Christian nonprofit organization that provides affordable housing and support services in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, D.C. It was founded in 1973 as a ministry of Church of the Savior, which is known nationally as a small church that has made a big impact through its extensive outreach. Contact 202-299-1240, email@example.com.
- Bob Lupton is president of FCS Urban Ministries in Atlanta. The community development corporation, with a staff of 60, constructs housing, mainly in four Atlanta neighborhoods. Contact 404-627-4303.
- Habitat for Humanity is an ecumenical Christian housing ministry that has built more than 225,000 homes around the world with volunteer labor and donations. Find an affiliate in your area. Habitat is based in Atlanta and Americus, Ga. Contact CEO Jonathan Reckford through Duane Bates, director of public and media relations, 229-924-6935 ext. 3079, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- One Thousand Churches Connected is a ministry of Rainbow/PUSH Coalition to pursue equal economic opportunity for African-Americans, partly by teaching economic responsibility. One of its goals is encouraging home ownership. It has member churches across the country. It is supported by Freddie Mac, the New York Stock Exchange and others. Contact National Director Bonita Parker, 773-373-3028, email@example.com.
- Family Promise is a national nonprofit that helps low-income families achieve independence. It has 124 volunteer affiliates across the country, with more than 4,500 congregations involved. Contact founder and president Karen Olson in Summit, N.J., 908-273-1100.
- Hyepin Im is founder and president of Korean Churches for Community Development in Los Angeles, which helps churches develop social services, including affordable housing. Read a 2004 interview with her from the Roundtable on Religion & Social Welfare Policy. Contact 213-985-1500 , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Jewish Funds for Justice works for economic justice, including affordable housing. Its national Tzedec program increases home ownership in low- to moderate-income neighborhoods by pooling low- and no-interest loans from Jewish philanthropists and reinvesting them in community development financial institutions. It has organized millions of dollars in real estate projects across the country and has offices in New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Los Angeles. Contact president and CEO Simon Greer or Tzedec associate Tom Hill, 212-213-2113.
- Lula Bailey Ballton is executive director of West Angeles Community Development Corporation in Los Angeles. Begun by the West Angeles Church of God in Christ, it is active in creating affordable housing. Contact 323-751-3440.
- Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio is chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Domestic Policy Committee. He signed a letter that the bishops sent to the U.S. House of Representatives on Oct. 9, 2007, urging them to pass the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Contact him through Kevin Moore, 202-541-3200.
- The National Low Income Housing Coalition wants to end “America’s affordable housing crisis” and is active in pushing the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund Act in Congress. Contact president Sheila Crowley through media relations, Nicole LeTourneau, 202-662-1530 ext. 227, Nicole@nlihc.org.
- Enterprise Community Partners helps build affordable housing for low-income Americans by providing financing and expertise to community and housing developers. It has begun a new push to partner with congregations. It has offered workshops to teach clergy about tax credits and other issues and also bought property from churches in order to build affordable housing. Enterprise posts links to its work in various U.S. cities. Contact president and CEO Doris Koo, 410-964-1230.
- Peggy Sand is senior vice president of the OpenDoor Housing Fund, which provides financing for affordable housing to nonprofit and for-profit developers and tenant associations in the Washington, D.C., area. It was created in July 2007 through the merger of the Washington Area Housing Trust Fund and the Unitarian Universalist Affordable Housing Corp. It has a subfund for faith-based developers. Contact 301-920-0443, email@example.com.
The Local Initiatives Support Corp. helps resident-led, community-based development organizations turn distressed neighborhoods into healthy ones and works to increase the amount of affordable housing. Its home page links to 30 offices across the country. Contact president Michael Rubinger in New York City, 212-455-9800.
- Frank Alexander is director of the affordable housing and community development project at the Center for the Study of the Law and Religion at Emory University in Atlanta. The project provides assistance to local governments and nonprofit community development organizations and has led legislative initiatives in Atlanta, Michigan, Indiana, Arkansas and Louisiana. Alexander is the author of books on land banks and housing trust funds and has studied how U.S. housing policy impacts families. Contact 404-727-6982, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Vaughn D. Irons is national director of housing and community investment in the Expanding Markets Department of Freddie Mac, which was created by Congress in 1970 to work with mortgage lenders to help Americans get lower housing costs and better access to home financing. Irons designs affordable housing programs that combine Freddie Mac’s single-family lending products with programs from state, local and community-based organizations, including religious congregations and faith-based organizations. Irons also oversees minority lending, immigrant lending and homeownership counseling. Contact 770-857-8838, Vaughn_irons@freddiemac.com.
- Marcus Martin is director of the J. McDonald Williams Institute, which researches and analyzes strategies to narrow income gaps in Dallas neighborhoods. He can talk about the need for affordable housing, the challenges in creating it and the faith community’s role. Contact 469-221-0700, email@example.com.
- Marc Morial is president and CEO of the National Urban League, whose goals include economic empowerment of African-Americans through home ownership. It is active in helping people learn about buying a home and obtaining financing. Contact 212-558-5300.
- Ched Myers is a leader in the Sabbath Economics Collaborative, a group of theologians, educators and activists who work for economic justice. He is also co-founder and program director of Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries in Oak View, Calif. Contact 805-649-1327, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Nicolas P. Retsinas has been director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government since 1998. He chairs Habitat for Humanity International, serves on the board of the National Housing Endowment and Enterprise Community Partners and is on the board of directors of the National Housing Conference. He co-edited Low-Income Homeownership: Examining the Unexamined Goal and Building Assets, Building Credit: Creating Wealth in Low-Income Communities and co-authored Opportunity and Progress: A Bipartisan Platform for National Housing Policy. Contact 617-495-7908.
- Hipolito “Paul” Roldan is chief executive officer of the Hispanic Housing Development Corp. in Chicago, which says it is one of the largest nonprofit housing developers in the nation. He was the only employee when community leaders formed it in 1975 to improve Latinos’ housing and has since received a MacArthur “Genius” Award. Read a Dinero Inc. article about him and a 2002 release about Roldan receiving a “Friend of the Neighborhoods” Award from the Chicago Neighborhood Development Association. Contact 312-602-6500.
- Jill Suzanne Shook is editor and co-author of Making Housing Happen: Faith-Based Affordable Housing Models, in which chapters describe effective models for housing. She has been asked to speak to secular organizations and seminaries about the “theology of housing,” to explain why people of faith are so motivated on this issue. Contact her in Pasadena, Calif., at 626-797-4072, email@example.com.
- Fannie Mae, the Federal National Mortgage Association, is a shareholder-owned company that works to expand affordable housing and to make sure there is mortgage money available for U.S. homebuyers and owners. It was chartered by Congress. Creating affordable housing is a priority, and its initiatives include faith-based housing. See its Web page on affordable housing and a brochure on its programs. Contact its regional offices across the country.
- NeighborWorks America is a national nonprofit created by Congress. Affordable housing is one of its primary goals, and it provides financial and technical assistance to religious groups that work on affordable housing issues. It has district offices around the country. Contact CEO Kenneth D. Wade in Washington, D.C., 202-220-2300.
- Alphonso Jackson is secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He gave a speech Jan. 15, 2007, for Martin Luther King Jr. Day in which he spoke of King’s impact on HUD’s mission. HUD, the nation’s housing agency, is charged with increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities, and creating affordable housing. Contact through Steve O’Halloran, 202-708-0980.
- See an overview (with links) to HUD’s various programs that address affordable housing.
- HUD has an Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. The Web site links to HUD faith-based liaisons in each state and links to information about homes and communities by state.
- The Federal Home Loan Bank system works to increase the amount of money available for loans for affordable housing and community development. Its home page has links to its 12 regional banks.
- William C. Apgar is a senior scholar at Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies and a lecturer in public policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He is a former assistant secretary of housing at HUD. Affordable housing is one of his main areas of interest. He is a founding member of the board of Preservation of Affordable Housing Inc., a nonprofit organization that acquires and rehabilitates housing aimed at low- and moderate-income households. Contact 617-495-7908.
- Jerome P. Baggett is an assistant professor of religion and society at Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Calif., and author of Habitat for Humanity: Building Private Homes, Building Public Religion. Contact 510-549-5060, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Xavier de Souza Briggs is an associate professor of sociology and urban planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a research fellow at the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He is editor of The Geography of Opportunity: Race and Housing Choice in Metropolitan America. Contact through the Hauser Center, 617-496-5675.
- Ram Cnaan, an expert in faith-based social services, is associate dean for research, professor and chairman of the doctoral program in social welfare at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also the director of the Program for Religion and Social Policy Research. Contact 215-898-5523, email@example.com.
- Dennis Culhane, professor of social welfare policy at the University of Pennsylvania, studies homelessness and housing policy. Contact 215-349-8705, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Bruce Katz is vice president and director of Metropolitan Policy and holds the Adeline M. and Alfred I. Johnson Chair in Urban and Metropolitan Policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. He is also a former chief of staff of HUD. Contact email@example.com.
- D. Bradford Hunt, an associate professor of social science at Roosevelt University, is writing a book called Planning a Social Disaster: The Unraveling of Public Housing in Chicago. Contact 312- 281-3145, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Ronald Lawson, a sociologist, teaches in the urban studies department of Queens College at the City University of New York. His research focuses on urban religious movements. Previous research included landlord-tenant politics. Contact 718-997-5136, email@example.com.
- Margery Austin Turner is a scholar who specializes in housing, community development and racial issues at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C. The Urban Institute posts a page with resources from its focus on “Housing America’s Low-Income Families.” Contact Turner through the public affairs office, 202-261-5709, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- David J. Wright is director of urban and metropolitan studies at the Rockefeller Institute of Government at the State University of New York and project director and associate director of the Roundtable on Religion & Social Welfare Policy. He is the author of It Takes a Neighborhood: Strategies to Prevent Urban Decline and The Flip Side of the Underclass: Unexpected Images of Social Capital in Majority-African American Neighborhoods. His research focuses on community organizations in neighborhood development. Contact at 518-443-5522 or by email through Rockefeller’s Web site.
For more sources and background, see ReligionLink’s issues on:
According to the U.S. Office of Housing and Urban Development: “The generally accepted definition of affordability is for a household to pay no more than 30 percent of its annual income on housing. Families who pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing are considered cost burdened and may have difficulty affording necessities such as food, clothing, transportation and medical care.”
- The State of the Nation’s Housing 2007, an annual report by the Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies, found that affordability is still the biggest housing challenge in America.
- Read the executive summary of “Rethinking Local Affordable Housing Strategies: Lessons from 70 Years of Policy and Practice,” a 2003 report from the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute.
- The U.S. Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey.
- Enterprise Community Partners issued a July 2007 fact sheet with statistics that show that housing is an important factor in children’s health and education.
- A 2004 poll from the National Low Income Housing Coalition found that 67 percent of respondents strongly agreed or agreed that the government should do more to make sure Americans can have a safe and affordable home.
- The Roundtable on Religion & Social Welfare Policy posts news articles and reports on affordable housing. Search for “affordable housing” using the search engine on its home page.
- KnowledgePlex is an online resource center for affordable housing and community development.
- Read a June 23, 2007, Washington Post story about faith communities’ renewed efforts to create affordable housing in Washington, D.C.
- See a June 28, 2006, Miami Herald story that reports that leads, “Soaring real estate prices, competition for land, shrinking grants for faith-based housing projects and the rising costs of construction have nearly crippled efforts by South Florida churches to boost home ownership among low-income residents.” It’s posted by the South Florida Community Development Coalition.
- Read a March 1, 2007, Aurora Beacon News story about the Aurora, Ill., city government and local churches partnering to build affordable housing. It’s posted by the Roundtable on Religion & Social Welfare Policy.
- Read a Nov. 22, 2006, Christian Science Monitor story about land trusts, which allow people to own a house while leasing the land beneath it.
Read a May 14, 2006, Recordnet.com story about affordable housing efforts being slowed in Stockton, Calif., by rising land prices.
- The Rev. Carl McCluster is managing director of M.C. Vision Ministries, a national network of faith-based development corporations working on economic renewal in their areas, including affordable housing. It is based in Bridgeport, Conn. Contact 203-367-4839, email@example.com.
- The National Fellowship of Housing Ministries calls itself a national ministry that helps faith communities find creative ways to create affordable housing for families. It posts a list with links to housing ministries it works with across the country. Contact executive director Jerome Garciano in Boston, 617-669-7241.
- The Rev. Floyd Flake is a former Democratic congressman from New York and pastor of the 15,000-member Greater Allen AME Cathedral of New York in Jamaica, Queens. In summer 2007 the church completed the Greater Allen Cathedral Affordable Housing Residence, which has 54 apartments for low-income tenants. Contact 718-206-4600.
- Queens Congregations United for Action in New York, which is affiliated with PICO, is involved in affordable housing. Contact 718-637-3054. Contact Jaime Weisberg, 718-426-6565.
- Lucille McEwen is president and chief executive officer of Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement, which has developed more than 2,000 units of affordable housing. It is a diverse, interfaith coalition of more than 90 congregations. Contact 212-281-4887.
- ARISE (A Regional Initiative Supporting Empowerment) includes 12,000 members of congregations and community groups around Albany, N.Y. Affordable housing is one of its goals, and it is promoting a regional housing plan. Contact 518-426-1552.
- The Reformed Church of Highland Park Affordable Housing Corp., in East Brunswick, N.J., was created to build six apartments for girls to live in after they are too old to be in the foster-care system. The church created the entity after deciding it needed to help provide affordable housing. Contact aging out of the foster-care system. Contact Debra Morgan, who is a member of the church and a board member of RCHP, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Washington Interfaith Network is a coalition of 45 congregations that works on increasing the amount of affordable housing, both by building it and by lobbying city officials to create it. WIN is affiliated with the Industrial Areas Foundation. Read a November 2005 article in Affordable Housing Finance about its award-winning Dupont Commons project. Contact 202-518-0815.
- Clergy and People of Conscience for Toms River Workforce Housing is a coalition of clergy and “people of conscience” that develops affordable housing for working people of different incomes in Toms River, N.J. It created a land trust in 2007.
- John M. Wagner is director of the Office for Community Development of the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia, which works to provide affordable housing in the area. Contact 215-587-3589.
- Faith and the City was created to nurture community and shared responsibility in Atlanta. It is made up of the executive leadership of Candler School of Theology, Columbia Theological Seminary, and the Interdenominational Theological Center, all in Atlanta, and also works with the Center for Ethics in Public Policy and the Professions at Emory University. The spring 2006 issue of its newsletter is devoted to articles about the role of the faith community in affordable housing. Contact co-chairs James T. Laney and Andrew Young, 404-523-5554.
- St. John’s Community Development Corp., a project of St. John’s Baptist Church in Miami, to create affordable housing and offers home ownership counseling. It has created more than 40 homes and multifamily units. Contact president and CEO David Alexander, 305-372-0682.
- Bishop Harold Calvin Ray is pastor of Redemptive Life Fellowship in West Palm Beach, Fla. Its Redemptive Life Urban Initiatives Corp. has built affordable housing. Read a January 2000 Dallas Morning News story about him posted by RaceMatters.org. Contact 561-805-7900.
- Charles F. Strobel is executive director of Campus for Human Development, an interfaith coalition of 200 congregations in Nashville, Tenn., that provides services to the homeless. It plans to build affordable housing for the homeless. Contact 615-242-9139, email@example.com.
- BUILD (Building a United Interfaith Lexington through Direct-action) is a coalition of 20 congregations in Lexington, Ky., that is concerned about affordable housing. Contact lead organizer Ondine Quinn, 859-367-0152, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Churches Supporting Churches is a program to help rebuild 36 churches destroyed or damaged in 12 predominantly African-American neighborhoods in New Orleans. The National Council of Churches is working with six denominations on the project. Read a May 29, 2006, story in The Christian Post. Contact C.T. Vivian, chairman of the Churches Supporting Churches National Working Group, 404-505-8521, email@example.com.
- Steven McCullough is president and CEO of Bethel New Life, a faith-based community development corporation on the West Side of Chicago. It has built 1,100 units of affordable housing in its neighborhood, including single-family homes and a five-acre campus with a 125-unit apartment building; read about its real-estate development on its Web page. Contact 773-473-7870, SMcCullough@bethelnewlife.org.
- United Power for Action and Justice in Chicago is a coalition of people from religious, civic, health and labor organizations. Through Ezra Community Homes, it has built 1,000 affordable homes on the city’s West Side. Read its October 2006 report on Chicago’s housing crisis. Contact senior organizer Matt McDermott, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Religious Action for Affordable Housing in Ann Arbor, Mich., works to increase the amount of affordable housing in a variety of ways. It has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Avalon Housing project. Contact 734-821-0345.
- Jonathan Bradford is executive director of Inner City Christian Federation, a nonprofit corporation that develops, builds, rehabilitates and repairs affordable housing in Grand Rapids, Mich. Contact 616-336-9333.
- Joy Sorensen Navarre is executive director of MICAH (Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing), through which 150 Christian, Jewish and Muslim congregations organize to advocate for affordable housing. It’s based in Minneapolis. Contact 612-871-8980 ext. 107, email@example.com
- East Side Heart & Home works to develop affordable housing for low-income families. It’s a project of the Family Center of East St. Louis, St. Vincent DePaul Church in St. Louis, the Catholic Urban Program of East St. Louis and the East St. Louis Development Corp. Contact 618-875-7295.
- Leslie Strnisha is director of program and evaluation at the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland in Ohio, where she works on the foundation’s affordable housing initiatives. They include two projects where affordable housing is linked with comprehensive services. Contact 216-241-9300, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Kim M. Drayton is director of the Metroplex Economic Development Corp., a nonprofit established by Bishop T.D. Jakes, pastor of the Potter’s House megachurch, to address economic inequities in Dallas. It is co-developing Capella Park, a 400-acre community in southwest Dallas that will include 1,200 homes ranging from the $100,000s to the $600,000s, condos, retail and a school. Contact 972-759-7161.
- The Rev. Rickey Hill is executive pastor at Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas, which is planning a housing development. He moderated a panel at the church in March 2007 on the need for affordable housing and congregations’ role in filling that need. Contact 972-228-5200 ext. 204, email@example.com.
- Norman Henry is president and executive director of Builders of Hope Community Development Corp., which builds affordable housing in west Dallas. Contact 214-920-9850, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Rev. Mark Twietmeyer is pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Boulder, Colo., which is working to build affordable housing on land adjacent to it. Read about the plans. Contact 303-442-2300.
- EAH develops, manages and promotes affordable housing in California and Hawaii. Originally named the Ecumenical Association for Housing, it has developed, acquired or renovated more than 5,000 units of affordable housing since its founding in 1968. It has won dozens of awards and has a staff of 350. Contact president and CEO Mary Murtagh in San Rafael, Calif., 415-258-1800.
- Shalom Ecumenical Center-Affordable Housing builds affordable housing for the elderly and disabled in Kennewick, Wash. It has completed two projects and has another under way. SEC is a project of All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Richland Lutheran Church and Lord of Life Lutheran Church, all in Richland, Wash. Contact chairman Rich Barchet through Richland Lutheran Church, 509-943-3164.
- Congregations Organizing for Renewal works to create affordable housing in Hayward, Calif., where 80 percent of families can’t afford the median-priced home. COR represents 13 congregations. Contact 510-727-8833.
- Orange County Congregation Community Organization recently lobbied the city of Anaheim to include affordable housing in a large new housing development. Contact director Regina Martinez, 714-491-0771.
- Project CATCH (Charitable Assistance to Community’s Homeless) is a partnership among the city of Boise, Idaho; 12 local congregations; and the business community to provide long-term housing and supportive services to the area’s homeless population. Each participating congregation sponsors a homeless family’s housing for six months or a year; Project CATCH also is developing a 10-year plan to address homelessness. Read a Nov. 17, 2006, city news release. Contact Elizabeth Duncan with the city of Boise, 208-384-4422, email@example.com.
- Silver Sage Manor Inc. is a nonprofit organization created by members of local churches to provide affordable housing for senior citizens in Reno, Nev. Silver Sage Senior Residence opened in spring 2007. Contact 775-823-8880.