The United Church of Christ’s Council for Health and Human Service Ministries today (Aug. 11) released a report on the number of affordable housing units among CHHSM members.
Across the United States, CHHSM-member ministries provide more than 20,000 affordable housing apartments.
“We are proud that our CHHSM members fight for and provide low-income housing for so many families and older adults,” said Michael J. Readinger, CHHSM president and CEO. “However, 20,000 is only a jumping off point, as many of our communities are already at capacity due to limited funding options. With the ever-growing need for low-income affordable housing, we will continue to advocate with ministry partners across the country for increased housing options.”
One such CHHSM member is Phoebe Ministries, based in Allentown, Pa. Phoebe currently has affordable housing units across Berks, Lehigh, Northampton and Union counties. “Affordable housing is a core part of Phoebe’s ministry,” said Adam F. Marles, Esq., Phoebe’s senior vice president of advancement and strategic initiatives. “We are proud to be able to assist these underserved older adults by providing safe, secure homes and access to services in more than 350 apartments in Pennsylvania.”
The report also breaks down affordable housing units by UCC Conference, with the greatest concentrations of affordable housing located in the UCC’s Southern California Nevada (4,748), Illinois (2,056), Massachusetts (1,894), and Ohio (1,567) Conferences.
Many UCC Conferences have strong partnerships with CHHSM-member ministries. For example, the Rocky Mountain Conference’s long and vital partnership with Archway Housing and Services is a main source of support for their low-income, affordable housing efforts. Of the 748 affordable housing units in the Conference, some 422 are in Archway communities.
A lack of funding sources, particularly for affordable housing initiatives for older adults due to a freeze in HUD 202 funding, has hampered the development of new affordable housing initiatives in many areas.
“While we have no current plans to build additional housing, we will continue to evaluate future potential for growth in this area,” said Phoebe’s Marles. “It’s a particular challenge right now because access to funding is increasingly difficult to secure, but if an opportunity to grow this component of our ministry arises, we are prepared to grasp it.”
“As the older adult population continues to grow significantly,” Marles added, “Phoebe is honored to partner with the like-minded organizations of CHHSM to help address this growing need.”