There is a housing crisis in Thurston County right now. Rents are increasing, inventory is low, and landlords are getting multiple applications for each available unit. The local emergency shelters are all full with wait lists, and some families are paying over 50 percent of their income for housing. Statistics from the department of Housing and Urban Development indicate that only 25 percent of the families that qualify for a housing voucher actually receive one.
At Westwood Baptist Church, we saw families with children, that we knew personally, on the street. When the Family Support Center wait list reached triple digits, we knew we had to do something.
In the ancient mid-Eastern context, “hospitality” means much more than our modern idea of having a guest stay a few days in your home. It means providing shelter, protection, resources, and friendship until your guest is ready to return home or journey on. So, we rented an apartment in downtown Olympia with the church’s benevolence fund.
Our first client was a young mom with two young children. She was leaving an abusive relationship and waiting for housing. After four months, she received her own permanent apartment from the Housing Authority! Our benevolence fund is much smaller, but our hearts are full and we have made a new friend.
Could your church practice hospitality? Consider this model and help make a difference!