The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for more affordable housing as residents are facing an uncertain future as the economy continues to reopen. Many are without income and few affordable housing options. With South LA residents hit hard with unemployment, local churches are stepping up to answer the call to provide more affordable housing, while creating a new revenue stream in the process.
LOGOS Faith Development has worked for nearly a decade to create a development model that is fair, equitable, and mission focused for churches with underutilized land. Multiple factors were taken into consideration to ensure continued ownership, and partnership in the land while new cash flow for the faith-based organizations, with a focus on building developments that are mission based and add value to the communities and the churches.
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Bethel AME, Heavenly Vision Church LA, and Harvest Tabernacle Church answered the call and formed a strategic partnership, with LOGOS, to create affordable housing options that don’t displace existing residents. Partners were adamant that the project addressed the needs of the community while creating a new revenue stream in a post-pandemic environment.
Bethel AME was one of the first churches to embrace the vision of developing their land and worked closely with Martin Cavanaugh Porter, of LOGOS, to bring the project to fruition.
“While other developers have taken advantage of the business opportunity in working with churches, few, if any, have shared the vision and values of the church’s faith,” said Pastor Kelvin Calloway. “This is what makes Logos unique in assisting churches to create an additional stream of revenue to meet the 21st Century needs of the church while helping the community.”
“Logos has been extremely instrumental in bringing the various stakeholders together to ensure we took a comprehensive look at understanding the obstacles associated with zoning and other regulatory restrictions,” explained Calloway.
The faith-based community were eager to learn more about how their churches could continue to thrive in a post pandemic era while still providing much needed services to their community, with the first priority being affordable housing.
“LOGOS Faith development is and has been, quite frankly, the linchpin of this entire process,” said Bishop James Taylor with Heavenly Vision Church LA. “It has always been our vision to serve the community in a more tangible way, and Logos has empowered us to do so. We are grateful to God for the opportunity to work with this development team and look forward to a long fruitful partnership as we serve our community.”
These projects are coming together at a crucial time for the community.
Although churches were allowed to remain open for modified services during the shutdown, donations declined due to a drastic uptick in unemployment. The faith-based community began to think “outside the box” to remain sustainable as their congregations were affected with economic hardships.
South Los Angeles residents were especially hit hard and saw unemployment levels with 20.3% workers without a job. The proposed developments would bring jobs and affordable housing to the community where there is a severe need.
Related: In Southern California, Black churches are using their land to build housing for homeless people
“Logos Faith Development has been very attentive to the needs of the church as well as to the community,” said Pastor Donald Cook II, with Harvest Tabernacle Bible Church. “They have combined faith & works, to maximize the needs of the people”.
LOGOS spearheaded the efforts to seek development proposals and provides ongoing support to the participating churches.
“If you go through South L.A., you’ll see a lot of churches with developments by their churches or on their properties that have the church’s name, but the issue is the churches often have nothing to do with them or don’t own them because developers have been coming to the Black community to rob churches since the Eisenhower administration,” Cager said.
Cager is President of the Los Angeles Council of Religious Leaders and the Founder of the Faith Community Coalition.
LOGOS’ goal is to demonstrate how the private sector, in alliance with key nonprofits, government entities, and the faith community, can build affordable housing for less than developers working through traditional government programs.
For more information on the work LOGOS has done to bring together strategic partners or to get more information call (424) 282-5348 or visit www.logosfaithdev.com