IN AN ONGOING SCHEME TO SEDUCE CHURCHES OUT OF GOSPEL FOCUS AND INTO GLOBAL SUSTAINABILITY INVESTING-THE HARD SELL IS ON FOR CHURCHES TO “DEVELOP AFFORDABLE HOUSING” IN TIDY PUBLIC/PRIVATE FAITH BASED PARTNERSHIPS UNDER GOVERNMENT OVERSIGHT.
Rev Thomas Littleton
Recently this site reported on the rise of the “Christian Economic Forum ” as a “Davos for Christian Leaders” pushing “Faith Driven Investing” toward Global Sustainability Goals with World Economic Forum and BlackRock Inc. leaders and thinkers in tow.
If these efforts succeed the plan will grab a lions share of the the boasted $150 Trillion in wealth “in the hands of Christians” in the West. If the church and believers in mass buy in – then the giant sucking sound will the God entrusted resources of Christians and the churches being exploited in real time away from true Gospel eternal focus and on to “building a better world” and “building back better “as the globalist see it. If this is not the case then it behoves those selling the idea to prove they have no connection to WEF/ BlackRock/ Agenda 2030/Urbanization and the 17 UN Global Sustainability Goals. That denial is going to an impossible task given how openly evangelical leaders like Tim Keller, Ed Stetzer, Rick Warren,David Platt, J D Greear, Francis Collins and now many local pastors have aligned themselves with these partners and their goals.
THE CHURCH AS DEVELOPERS OF “AFFORDABLE HOUSING” DRIVEN BY EQUITY AND JUSTICE.
FAITH DRIVEN INVESTORS THINK THEY HAVE THE FIX FOR THE CHURCHES REAL ESTATE AND FINANICIAL WOES.
“The Church in America is Facing Strong Headwinds“
“Moreover, the Church in America is not thriving. Initial estimates are that 30,000-70,000 churches will close their doors due to COVID, but even before COVID, the statistics did not look good. Even when COVID is far behind us, these fundamental issues will still be hindering the church unless they are addressed.”
- 80% of churches are in plateau or decline.
- >60% of a decline in church revenues is projected over the next 30 years.  
- ~50% of most church finances go to real estate.
- 3,700 churches are closing annually, and this is projected to increase by 50% over the next 30 years.
“With revenues declining quickly and half of its finances going to real estate that is actually hindering its operations, the Church desperately needs to reduce its infrastructure cost and increase efficiency in its operations. Like most organizations, the two biggest line items in a church budget are people and real estate. Most church staff already don’t make enough. Therefore, clearly the low hanging fruit for change is in the real estate.”
“START DEVELOPING THE REAL ESTATE BECAUSE THE CHURCH IS DYING”
So the problem is the churches are dying.We might add from self inflicted wounds furthered along and sped up by Covid lockdowns and lockouts but ignore that the way for churches to turn the problem around would be to pray-evangelize – and make disciples. It appears too late for some to even recall this Biblical approach. In stead the church is seeking to align with secular interest and profit driven development to ensure its future. In short “the church is dying so it must start eating itself ” while becoming more and more yoked with Government agencies and global forces who have long wished to dismantle it !
ACCORDING TO FAITH DRIVEN INVESTORS REIMAGINING EFFORTS:
“Facilities Are Hindering the Church’s Mission“
“So, what if there was a better story for churches? What if we could reposition the church to turn these headwinds into a tailwind?”
“Before I answer those questions, it is important that you understand how facilities are hindering the Church’s mission, especially in urban environments where the largest populations exist.”
“Most facilities hinder pastors.“
“Temporary facilities limit congregations.“
“The Church in America Has the Resources to Solve This Problem“
“We need better models to give pastors a better chance. If we can free up pastors and significantly reduce their cost of occupancy for a quality space, then we might really be able to seize the Great Opportunity.”
“The Way Forward“
“Go employ a team of professionals to buy, renovate, lease-up, and then professionally manage all aspects of the real estate facilities for churches so that they can focus on their mission. Provide attractive and affordable facilities that offer a long-term home for multiple church tenants to share for Sunday services and programming throughout the week when they need the space. When they don’t need the entire space during the business hours of the weekdays, lease the children’s area to an anchor preschool tenant, and lease the kitchen, lobby, and sanctuary space to a coffee shop and coworking space that the church and community can use together. This is the third space that communities are looking for. Make it the living room of the community, and make it attractive to the unchurched so that you will give the Church instant credibility by creating an opportunity for the unchurched that did not exist before. Each of these uses will synergistically drive foot traffic for the other as well as subsidize the churches’ cost to rent. In doing so, you will place the proverbial “well” inside of the building so that divine collisions can occur with anyone who wants a cup of coffee, who drops their kids off at preschool, or who wants a desk with Wi-Fi.”
IN OTHER WORDS TAKE YOUR CHURCH INTO THE REAL ESTATE MARKET !!!
At the same time this discussion is ramping up to “Reimagine Church Real Estate” some popular secular and liberal Christian news outlets are pushing for churches to get into the “Affordable Housing Market” with public /private / faith based programs.
THE WASHINGTON POST
“Houses of faith are building affordable housing on their properties”
By Alejandra Molina
February 25, 2022
“Houses of worship own thousands of acres across the United States, and now through millions of dollars in new grants, congregations in Atlanta, New York, Baltimore, Miami and Seattle will be building affordable housing on their properties.”
“The national nonprofit Enterprise Community Partners on Wednesday announced $8.5 million in grants from the Wells Fargo Foundation to help houses of worship convert underutilized land into affordable homes and community facilities. The effort was launched at Atlanta First United Methodist Church.”
“This money will help build roughly 6,000 affordable homes, Enterprise said.”
ENTER ENTERPISE COMMUNITY PARTNERS –
ALL ABOUT THE INEQUITIES AND SYSTEMIC RACISM IN HOUSING
“Home is where life happens, where plans are made and futures begin. The foundation for dignity, health, education, wealth and community. Yet rents keep going up, paychecks don’t keep pace, and good homes in strong neighborhoods are increasingly out of reach. The system doesn’t work. It must be changed, and it must be changed by us.”
“Enterprise has the breadth, scale and expertise to do it. We support community development organizations on the ground. We aggregate and invest capital for impact in homes and communities. We advance housing policy at every level of government. We build and manage communities ourselves. Everything we do is informed by the residents we serve.”
“Together with our partners, we focus on the greatest need – the massive shortage of affordable rental homes – to achieve three goals:
1. Increase the supply of affordable homes
2. Advance racial equity after decades of systematic racism in housing
3. Support residents and strengthen communities to be resilient to the unpredictable and make upward mobility possible”
Since 1982, we have invested $44 billion and created 781,000 homes across all 50 states. All to make home and community places of pride, power and belonging.
“We are here for impact. We are here for change. Join us”
“Enterprise’s Faith-Based Development Initiative launched in 2006 in the Mid-Atlantic region, where it has helped faith-based organizations create or preserve more than 1,500 affordable homes and one community-based health clinic.”
COMMUNITY FACILITIES -SOCIAL SERVICES – HEALTH CARE-WELFARE VIA CHURCHES
“WEBINAR : Higher Ground: Developing Affordable Housing & Community Facilities in Partnership with Faith Communities”
( NOTE : A COMMUNITY BASED HEALTH CLINIC WILL INVOLVE HHS AND FURTHER IMPLEMENT THE “AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE ACT “GOALS OF SOCIALIZED MEDICINE GOALS.)
“It’s this notion of there’s a compelling human need that a house of worship exists in and it’s sitting on a resource. It becomes a stewardship issue. Is this something that God is calling us to do … that allows us to be good and faithful stewards to have more impact?” David Bowers, vice president at Enterprise Community Partners, told Religion News Service.”
“Leveraging Property Owned by Faith-Based Organizations”
“The rising acquisition cost of developable land, among other factors like the rise in construction material costs and shortage in skilled construction labor, has been driving the cost of residential development, impacting developers’ ability to create affordable homes. Through effective partnerships and informed decision-making processes, faith-based organizations (FBOs) who own underutilized or vacant property are able to repurpose their property to create affordable homes and public benefit.”
“This white paper aims to assist FBOs and community stakeholders interested in advancing this strategy with:
- Understanding what it takes to successfully undertake this solution
- Becoming familiar with different paths that can be pursued to implement this solution. “
“IMPACT AREAS ” FROM ENTERPRISE COMMUNITY PARTNERS
“A massive shortage of affordable rental homes: it’s the greatest problem we’re up against. Meanwhile, rents keep going up, paychecks don’t keep pace, and good homes in strong neighborhoods are increasingly out of reach for millions of families.”
“This is a generational challenge, but a solvable one – when we sharpen our focus. It’s why we channel our work into six impact areas that make the greatest difference for systems, people and communities across the country.”
“America’s housing crisis requires new thinking and resources to preserve and produce exponentially more rental homes that families can afford.”
“Racial equity is at the center of our work. It’s how we dismantle the legacy of systematic racism in housing and close the growing racial wealth gap in America.”
“As a national leader in resilience, we support and invest in people and communities so they can better withstand the effects of our changing climate and build more sustainable futures.”
“Upward mobility starts at home. But if you can’t find a home you can afford, or the cost of rent takes too much out of your paycheck, how can you invest in your future? It’s all added up to a massive racial wealth gap – one we’re working to close.”
DOUBTLESS IN SOME CASES CHURCHES WILL PREFER TO SELL THESE HOUSING DEVELOPMENTS AND THERE WILL BE GRANTS AND FIRST TIME BUYER $$$ FOR THAT AS WELL .
FUNDING IS BEING INCENTIVISED FROM THE PRIVATE SECTOR INTO NON PROFITS AND FAITH BASED COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS
“According the Religion News Service April 23 2022 follow up article -Wells Fargo Foundation is funding some of the effort in Florida churches through grants.”
“The national nonprofit Enterprise Community Partners on Thursday (April 21) announced $1.3 million in grant funding from the Wells Fargo Foundation that would go toward helping 15 South Florida congregations convert underused church property. “
“The nonprofit will assist clergy, who may lack the resources or knowledge to cut housing deals, in navigating the development process, negotiating long-term ground lease agreements and vetting development partners, such as architects and designers. “
These partnerships as said to be have begun in some fashion in 2006 but are clearly scaling up. Other cities with churches involved include:
“So far, $8.5 million has been committed in a new push to help congregations in Atlanta, New York, Baltimore, Miami and Seattle build affordable housing on their properties.”
NOT A NEW TREND BUT ONE WHICH IS SCALING UP
HUD AND OTHER GOVERNMENT PARTNERS HAVE BEEN IN THE GAME FOR A WHILE.
Since the Obama administration’s expansion of the Faith Based Partnership Grant program -some churches have used HUD and other FBP grants to purchase dilapidated houses in blighted areas and rehab them -then rent them out as Section 8 subsidized housing. So the churches use grant funding to purchase and rehab the properties ( often with volunteer labor ) AND in turn possibly receive more government money through the rent. Sweet deal for churches but ….NOW the tables are turning to exploit the churches resources for the same idea- landlording !
HOUSING THE HOMELESS :A FOOLS ERRAND ?
RNS also reported that “Black churches in Southern California are using their land to build houses for homeless people’.
This author having worked IN MINISTRY in urban areas for over 4 1/2 decades can attest to the reality that the government has long tried to end homelessness while ignoring many of the reasons why people are homeless. Drugs, Alcohol, Mental Illness, Lawlessness, and the simple fact that transient living appeals to some people are just not spoken of in Equity and Justice narratives. So no one is saying how the churches think to reverse these forces while becoming focused on grant funding, income streams , Community Development and “racial justice” instead of the Gospel.
THIS IS ALL DRUCKERISM /FAITH BASED PARTNERSHIPS AT THERE WORST AND IT IS AS GOOD AS IT IS GOING TO GET. ALL IS DOWNHILL FROM HERE .
THE WHITE HOUSE IS IN ON THE ACTION PUSHING FOR “AFFORDABLE HOUSING”
“While the Administration continues to do everything in its power to stabilize families who are at risk of losing their homes because of the economic impact of the pandemic, we still have more work to do. President Biden and Vice President Harris believe we need to do more than build back to the way things were before. We need to build back better.”
“While Congress works toward passing the Build Back Better Agenda, which includes an historic investment in building new homes and making existing housing safer, healthier, and more energy efficient, the President knows that we can’t wait to take action. The large and long-standing gap between the supply and demand of affordable homes for both renters and homeowners makes it harder for families to buy their first home and drives up the cost of rent. Higher housing costs also crowd out other investments families can and should make to improve their lives, such as investments in education.”
“From the expansion of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) to major investments in the HOME Investment Partnerships program, the Housing Trust Fund, and the Capital Magnet Fund, the Build Back Better Agenda will make it easier for more Americans to find quality, affordable places to live.”
“But even before Congress passes the Build Back Better Agenda, agencies across the federal government are taking action to boost the supply of quality, affordable homes in a manner that will make rental homes more available and more affordable over the next three years. Specifically, agencies are announcing today that they are:”
“Making Funding Available for Affordable Housing Production Under the Capital Magnet Fund: The Treasury Department is preparing to issue a notice of funding availability for the Capital Magnet Fund (CMF), including changes to strongly encourage affordable housing production. The CMF is a competitive grant program for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and non-profit housing groups funded by allocations made each year from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Funds must be used to leverage housing and economic development investments at least ten times the size of the award amount. This year’s historic pool of $383 million in available funding will facilitate the production of affordable housing units throughout the country.”
“HISTORIC POOL OF $383 MILLION DOLLARS”- THAT PLUS PRIVATE CAPITAL INFUSED AND WHAT DO YOU GET? ANOTHER GOVERNMENT GOLD RUSH FOR PASTORS.
MORE ON ENTERPRISE COMMUNITY PARTNERS -FAITH BASED DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE
“As one of the largest nonprofit community development financial institutions in the country, Enterprise Community Loan Fund delivers high-impact capital to the people and places that need it most.”
“Partnering with community groups and investors, we combine financial discipline, deep expertise and highly-collaborative partnerships to build and preserve homes people can afford, and invest in neighborhood resources and facilities residents needed most, including schools, federally qualified health centers, stores with healthy food options and more.”
- $2.3B Invested
- $1.7B Assets Under Management
- A+ Rated by Standard & Poor’s*
- AA+ Highly Rated by Aeris*
- Member of Opportunity Finance Network
- “Affordable Homes: Build and preserve good homes
- Health: Promote wellbeing through accessible, culturally competent medical services
- Fresh Food Access: Develop and invest in grocery stores with nutritious foods
- Sustainability: Finance green, energy-efficient solutions
- Transit-Oriented Development: Create affordable homes near public transit
- Racial Equity: Fill gaps in capital funding created by decades of systemic racism in housing”
“Our Faith-Based Development Initiative (FBDI) provides houses of worship the knowledge and tools to develop underutilized land into affordable homes and community facilities.
Grants and Capital: Grant funding and access to Enterprise capital products help houses of worship advance their projects from vision to completion. Grants will support market study and feasibility analysis, early pre-development and organizational capacity building.
Training: Training helps houses of worship understand and navigate the development process to advance their development projects.
Technical Assistance and Tools: Participating houses of worship have access to technical assistance to help them connect to resources, address project-specific challenges and navigate the development process.
Peer-to-Peer Learning: Peer learning helps faith leaders advance their projects and engages them in advocacy for affordable housing and community development.
Access to Vetted Partners: Participating houses of worship receive referrals to local development industry partners that they can interview to find the right fit to advance their projects.”
Faith Driven Investors have made the idea of “Reimagining Church Real Estate” a mainstream consideration but the federal and private dollars and partnerships provided by the Community Development non-profits are putting the lipstick (and the funding ) on the proverbial pig of churches becoming LANDLORDS and hubs for justice driven investment and “affordable housing”. The rosy pictures painted by the Federal Government must be considered through the lens of the failed politically driven SLUM LORDING which the Federal Government has attempted in now crumbling inner cities and urban areas for two generations. Ask those people who have tried to live in the unlivable slums many of which have now been razed to the ground to prevent homeless “squating ” and gang activity , drug labs accounting for massive surges in crime , filth, gang turf wars and perpetuating poverty.
Also consider this entire proposed remedy to housing COMES INTO PLAY through the not so grand designs of Agenda 2030 which is intended to force people out of home ownership and into public housing in their celebrated “global cities” where ,according the WEF boast-“you will own nothing and you will be happy”. Communist countries have tried this failed model for generations. So ask any of those who have friends or loved ones stuck in these Marxist “Utopias” .They can attest to the universal poverty, depression and deprivation that comes with the territory. Utopia it is not.
An honest look at history proves that these big money dumps attract the worst kind of hucksters, hustlers, thieves and Judas Iscariots. Clergy have horrific track records when dealing with big money and who is going to track where the money goes in programs where political ends justify the means? No this is a bad idea AND the churches remaining assets will be involved in the scheme and if /when they fail- nothing will be left .The church will have been exploited out of resources God entrusted to it for the Gospel- not for Global Goals , Community Development or preachers, elders personal enrichment .
Then add to the the cost of this fools errand the grave loss to the churches and to Christians who must abandon the Gospel to ensure participation in this justice and equity, diversity and inclusion driven program and its critical and socialist economic theory driven culture lest they “discriminate” and lose their partnerships. Consider a future where the churches have little more to speak into the community that to offer them the latest version of government cheese on the rat trap of perpetual impoverishment and dependence. This is NOT THE GOSPEL.This is mutually assured destruction of the church and the community it is hoping to serve.
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