LOS ANGELES – Across Southern California and the United States, churches are struggling. For decades, these churches have been anchors in their neighborhoods – acting as holy, sanctified ground, safe social spaces and service centers that provide support, unity, and identity for their community. However, in recent years congregations have experienced depleting revenues (from tithes and offerings), physical properties decaying, and COVID-19 further diminishing in-person attendees. With years of reduced income, BIPOC (Black, indigenous, and people of color) churches often resort to selling their properties and are thereby forced out of their communities.
“The enemy has historically been economic, political, social, and institutional forces that have specifically marginalized communities of color and thusly their anchor institutions, the most important of which are churches. This instigates fear to take a bold step into the future. However, we are at a tipping point, a crisis moment for many churches where if something is not done, they will shutter forever” says Pastor Martin Porter, Managing Partner of Logos Faith Development LLC (LOGOS Development).
LOGOS is a real estate firm that partners with faith-based property owners by working with them to develop or redevelop their underutilized properties. Using real estate solutions, LOGOS empowers landowners to generate new forms of revenue that allow ministries to flourish, communities to be strengthened, and culture within those communities to thrive.
For LOGOS’ first slate of projects, they partnered with a seasoned developer to develop multiple permanent supportive housing (PSH) projects, each providing 50-70 units for previously homeless residents. In its current slate of projects, LOGOS continues to focus on creating developments that offer much-needed services to historically under-served areas. Each project has a mission to create a robust and vibrant built environment by providing dignified housing and meeting the needs of the church and the community.
For example, this year, LOGOS partnered with leading architectural firm GENSLER to propose a Compton church redevelopment driven towards innovation in social and environmental sustainability. This 75-unit affordable and moderate-income housing project—-excitingly both units for rent and homes for sale that focus on the missing low to middle income earners and their families who have been priced out of the urban metropolitan areas— aims to create a creative model for low-impact, zero-emissions low-income housing.
Combining energy-efficiency and supportive services (on-site childcare center, resilience hub, etc.), the Compton development proposes a customized financing model to break down barriers to homeownership, enable intergenerational wealth building, and contribute to the revitalization of the local neighborhood. The team’s approach was to design a new industry model that could be replicated in BIPOC communities nationally, creating a new path to close the racial wealth gap and establish a self-sustaining ecosystem for both energy and economic security.
“This groundbreaking project shows how the creative partnering of a (faith-based) landowner, private impact capital investor and non-profit housing advocate (United Way) can push the boundaries of housing design to provide a new model of community investment focusing on Environment, Sustainability and Governance. It illustrates how truly resilient design resonates through the fields of sustainability (NetZero energy consumption), finance (equity-building), and community stability (housing as a wider neighborhood resilience hub).”- Says Roger Sherman, Design Director, GENSLER Architects.
LOGOS focus as they go into 2022 is to work on dynamic smaller-scale developments producing thoughtful urban family housing. In an affordable housing world overrun with studios and 1 bedroom, families are often neglected and either crammed into unsuitable living conditions or displaced from the neighborhoods they call home. Partnering with 64North Architecture, investors, and other strategic partners, Logos is underway on multiple residential projects in LA and San Diego that create spacious, townhome-style residences for families in need.
“While in the present, we continue to collaborate with major development partners on our larger builds – and that is very exciting and fruitful,” says Pastor Porter, “we feel that our new townhome-style model for small to mid-sized lots can be a perfect solution and approach for many of our churches going forward.”
“Similarly, at 64North we are often involved in larger-scale urban infill affordable development and are very keen to be partnering with Logos to provide for this critical “missing middle” scale development that both provides oft-overlooked housing for families and will provide a more appropriate density that will fit seamlessly within neighborhoods that are more residential in character,” noted Wil Carson, 64North’s Design Director.
At the cutting edge of innovation in real estate, and at a time where cities desperately need housing and creative solutions, Logos strives to inspire an optimistic future for faith-based development across the nation.