The Church of God in Christ denomination is aiming to get at least $500 million worth of real estate so it could provide affordable housing and development to communities. Commercial Appeal reported on the endeavor of the denomination to find funding for the community efforts, asking leaders of the church to take a survey.
The call to action came from Rev. J. Drew Sheard, the presiding bishop of the denomination at the 114th Holy Convocation. Additionally, there's also Rev. David Bowers who made a presentation that highlights the importance of providing housing.
Housing Problems in the Country and What COGIC Can Do
The report talked about the issues of the country when it comes to housing. It said that 20% of Americans pay more than half of their income just for housing. However, there are studies that indicate that there are church-owned properties by different denominations that could be potentially used for tens of thousands of housing.
The Center of Budget and Policy Priorities reported that in 2020, there were 580,000 people who slept in shelters or on the streets. The study said that apart from the rising costs for the houses themselves, there's also the rise in utility costs.
It also talked about the issues when it comes to the history of racial discrimination. It added that people of color are more likely to rent their own homes as they have been 'historically denied homeownership opportunities.
Also, this is one of the causes that has prevented people of color from choosing where they live. This results in heavily neglected communities, with higher poverty rates, and poor living conditions. It added that even with measures such as the 1968 Fair Housing Act, the problem continues to exist.
Further, the study says that the best way to address the issue is by providing rental assistance as the direct and effective way to address the problem.
COGIC is active when it comes to providing housing and actually owns the Pontotoc Townhomes and the Mason Homes development. As for the Pontotoc Townhomes, the denomination said that they even added 20 apartment units to the townhomes as part of their future plans. With this, there will have more than 100 homes. It added that it reopened this month just in time for the annual Holy Convocation.
As for the Mason Homes of the church, FOX 13 reported that the church added 77 housing units to the project.
114th Holy Convocation
On the denomination's page, it says that the church held the event from Tuesday to Sunday, November 8 to 13 in Memphis, Tennessee. This year marks the event's return to the state and in person. Previously, the church had to do the event online because of the constraints caused by the pandemic. It brought thousands of church leaders to the Memphis temple and featured several speakers.
This includes Presiding Bishop and Chief Apostle Bishop John Drew Sheard, Bishop David A. Hall Sr., Pastor Marcel D. Fears, and Bishop Daniel T. Littleton, to name a few.