By Corey Meyer, Director of Mission Partnerships
I was in my first 100 days at Country Club Christian when I first started hearing the words “affordable housing in Kansas City.” Invitations to public forums, Facebook posts, interviews on KCUR, and news articles were swirling around. At the same time as I was diving headfirst into how our church could responsibly invest its previous capital campaign funds to create a positive impact in Kansas City. I was also re-learning what I knew about my own hometown and unequal housing practices that led to the landscape of our city as we know it today. The weeks went by. I put the issue of affordable housing aside. It sounded overwhelming and what could we really do?
We began a series of meetings about Northeast Kansas City to discuss its direst needs. Community leaders around the table started discussing the same thing – affordable housing. Organizing tenants to tell stories of horrible conditions and hope for a second chance at moving their families out of poverty and into a beautiful homes of their own. And this conversation was happening all over the country. So the question returned, in a new way, “what could we do to really partner with our neighbors?”
If you attended our recent Pathways to Learning series, you heard from community leaders: Lara McDonald with MORE2, Tara Raghuveer with KC Tenants, and Susan Walker with Catholic Charities/Neighborhoods of Hope. All three are working on equity, justice, and hope to create city that is hospitable and inclusive. Their work at the deep roots of poverty and injustice begs us to re-think what we know and how we respond as a faith community. One of the most important things we can do is to stay curious and informed. We can show up. Get to know the neighbors speaking out at KC Tenant gatherings and truly hear their stories. We can act. Join monthly MORE2 issue nights to weave talents, energy, and time with current issues. We can mentor. As Neighborhoods of Hope continues to build housing for vulnerable residents, we are in a privileged position to coach, teach, and talk about what it means to be a homeowner, to care for a space, for the first time.
When we are present with our neighbors we not only get a chance to share our unique gifts, we also get a new vision of the world around us. We join the work that God is already doing in Kansas City. Our church can embody the redeeming and inclusive love of Jesus Christ.
If you would like to be a part of the work that our community organizations are doing for affordable housing in Kansas City please contact Corey Meyer, our Director of Mission Partnerships, at [email protected]