By Jim Nieman
Discovery Christian Church in Broomfield, Colo., is playing a role in helping to solve a low-income housing problem in its well-to-do region north of Denver and east of Boulder.
The church is providing a zero-cost lease of about 1.25 acres to Flatirons Habitat for Humanity to build four triplexes for 12 low-income families. The homes will be affordable and energy-efficient, according to an article in the Broomfield Enterprise.
“[Lead pastor] Steve Cuss is the catalyst for this,” said Tom Morris, executive pastor of Discovery. “He has worked extensively with the [local] government asking, ‘What are some problems and how can we help you?’ Affordable housing is a crisis in our area.”
Three or four other area churches are also planning to help address the housing crisis in various ways. “We’re kind of just first in line,” Morris said.
Broomfield City Council recently approved $52,768 in Community Development Block Grants to Flatirons Habitat to reimburse architectural design payments for the project. Construction is expected to begin in 2020 and take three to four years. Once the homes are built, the church will work in partnership with the government to help manage them.
There will be 12 units—10 three-bedroom units and 2 two-bedroom units. Nine of the units will be funded in the traditional Habitat manner, with the purchasers providing sweat equity as part of the homeownership process, and the other three units will be for transitional housing in partnership with the Tenant-based Rental Assistance program.
According the Enterprise article, Habitat is the only organization that provides homeownership opportunities to families with incomes between 30 and 60 percent of the area median income.
Habitat is handling the funding process moving forward, and Discovery Church will help with costs associated with site improvements, Morris said.
Discovery’s motto is “Loving God and Serving Others,” and the master plan for the church’s 20-acre site emphasizes those two priorities—half of the property is for “loving God,” and the other half is for “serving others.” The affordable-housing project will complement an existing equine-assisted therapy arena. A prevocational training site for adults with disabilities is also planned.
At some point, a second church facility might be necessary, Morris said.
“We keep casting the vision,” he said, “but what drives this is a healthy, growing church.”
Jim Nieman serves as managing editor of Christian Standard.