In some neighborhoods poverty is obvious — pastors and other congregational leaders can hardly see the potential past the overwhelming need, and Lutheran congregations become the last beacon of hope in communities that battle rampant crime, economic distress, and shifting demographics. Oftentimes, congregations have identified budding opportunities through a strategic planning process or because of their community involvement.
What they require is a partner to help them make a positive impact in their community in ways they hadn’t considered before or that require expertise that they don’t have. Consultants can be expensive and really don’t understand the priorities of ministry.
LCMS National Housing Support Corporation (NHSC) has introduced the Community Impact Program to increase access to just this kind of help. Our customized consulting and expertise can help congregations, social ministries, districts and their community partners assess project feasibility, assist with project planning, and/or assist with the project implementation in their community, overcoming whatever hurdles stand in the way.
It all starts with a simple application that’s designed to help leaders think through some of their initial ideas and identify some of the costs involved. There are no application deadlines and no “approvals.” The Community Impact Program application aims to help more folks think about the ways that NHSC can support their goals.
Together with the new donor-supported Community Impact Fund, which allows NHSC to provide a grant to applicants to cover the balance of the cost of their initiatives, the Community Impact Program helps strengthen congregations and other organizations where they are, in their community.
What kind of projects qualify for the Community Impact Program?
In short, think creatively.
… unused or underutilized school buildings (parochial or public) could be redeveloped for other ministry uses, including housing.
… older housing stock could indicate homeowners in need of assistance or empty houses that could be part of a larger initiative.
… social ministries may think about adding or expanding housing as a part of their overall provision of services.