Can the federal government effectively work with faith organizations to tackle the most pressing issues in society? Yes, according to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson.
The Trump administration has launched a series of virtual workshops that will help train faith-based organizations to do just that. The Mustard Seed Series will feature groups that have successfully created affordable housing, reduced homelessness, or used innovative housing models to serve individuals in need. The virtual meetings will serve as a forum for other faith organizations to learn about the experiences of these communities and to replicate the successes they have experienced.
The Oct. 1 inaugural event focused on the partnership between the Grove Community Church and Mayor Rusty Bailey’s administration in Riverside, California. Secretary Carson visited the church property in Riverside earlier in the year and saw the homes for low-income families built on the church property. The development was made possible by collaboration between the city and the church. Supportive services are provided to families who live in the on-site homes through the commitment of the congregation. The goal of the model is self-sufficiency for the families, so they can move to their own homes one day and more vulnerable populations can be served through the facility.
“We cannot alleviate poverty through the efforts of the federal government alone,” stated Carson who has been developing the effort for over a year. “There are so many faith-based organizations serving vulnerable communities successfully, and we want to share these successes with other faith-based organizations who are already so dedicated to a posture of service. Our goal with the ‘Mustard Seed Series’ is to pair congregations interested in launching a housing outreach program with congregations already operating one so they can mentor each other and share best practices.”
Listen to Carson explain the program:
“The collaboration between the City of Riverside and The Grove Community Church shows that church and state can work together to solve a societal problem,” said Andy Gibeault, who serves as the Associate Pastor at the Grove Community Church.
“The City of Riverside is blessed to have been able to partner with The Grove Community Church to create The Grove Village,” Mayor Rusty Bailey said. “This joint effort created new housing for our neighbors without homes while respecting and protecting the integrity of the surrounding neighborhood. We are excited to share with the nation what can be accomplished when a local government and a faith-based community work together on an issue of vital concern to both.”
For more information about the Mustard Seed Series or to RSVP for an event, you can email FaithInitiatives@hud.gov
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice