Churches Serving Vulnerable Communities

Oct 1, 2020

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Dr. Ben Carson has launched an initiative that highlights how the faith-based community is helping some of America’s most vulnerable population. 

“The Mustard Seed Series” are virtual events that feature churches that have successfully created affordable housing, reduced homelessness, or used innovative housing models to serve individuals in need. The meetings will serve as a forum for other faith organizations to learn about the experiences of these communities and to replicate the successes they have experienced. The goal with the series is to pair congregations interested in launching a housing outreach program with those already serving vulnerable communities through innovative models across the country. 

One church that is meeting these needs in its community is Grove Community Church in Riverside, California. The church built four single-family homes on its property. As a result of a collaboration between the city and Grove Community Church, four previously homeless families now live in the on-site homes in The Grove Village. Members of the congregation provide supportive services to these families to help get them to a point of self-sufficiency. One day they will move to their own homes and then other families can be served by the church.

Dr. Carson said in a recent interview, “In Matthew 17, faith the size of a mustard seed can move a mountain, and we have some mountainous problems in our country, like homelessness and affordable housing that affects millions of Americans. These are the kinds of problems that used to be handled by the faith-based community. And along came the government and decided that it would be the one to handle these problems and the problems have just mushroomed. One of the reasons that the faith-based community is so effective is because they develop personal relationships. And it’s those personal relationships that are likely to change a person. Because a lot of the people have drug habits and mental illness, emotional issues, all kinds of things that really prevent them from climbing the ladders of opportunity that are available.” 

“The collaboration between the City of Riverside and Grove Community Church shows that church and state can work together to solve a societal problem,” said Andy Gibeault, Associate Pastor at the Grove Community Church.

“The City of Riverside is blessed to have been able to partner with The Grove Community Church to create The Grove Village,” Mayor Rusty Bailey said. “This joint effort created new housing for our neighbors without homes while respecting and protecting the integrity of the surrounding neighborhood. We are excited to share with the nation what can be accomplished when a local government and a faith-based community work together on an issue of vital concern to both.” 

Dr. Carson said that President Trump has signed more executive orders that support the faith community than any other president and he recognizes that the church is a strong supporter of the whole concept of making America strong and making America just and bringing values and principles back. As a result, Carson challenges Christians to reach out and be part of the solution for these issues in this nation. 

“People of faith have to have courage to stand up, not to hide in the corner and hope that no one notices them. No one takes away their job. That's where faith comes in. You believe that God will take care of you if you take care of His business,” said Carson. 

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “This initiative by the Trump administration highlights the powerful impact churches have when their doors are open and they are actively serving their communities to help alleviate social problems. The needs are even greater now as a result of the government lockdowns.” 

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