Update from Prince of Peace’s Affordable Housing Team – August 19, 2020

Decades ago the newspaper sales people stood on the corner and shouted:  “Read all about it!  Read all about it!”   In the year 2020 communication is shared in multiple ways. The Prince of Peace Lutheran Church Affordable Housing Team is committed to being very intentional about communication and transparency.

Recently you received through mail and email a brief survey asking for your input regarding the Affordable Housing proposal.  To date 83 surveys have been returned. This represents 40% of Prince of Peace households—an incredible response rate to a survey.  Your responses add valuable input.  Following are some general comments (statements of support and statements of concern) plus questions.

Results of Survey:

Question #1: Should affordable housing be a mission of the congregation?

Question #2:  Should Prince of Peace (PoP) develop affordable housing on the 2 1/4 acres of land on PoP’s south property?

Responses to Questions #1 and #2 can be found on the attachment Congregational Survey Analysis.

Question #3:  Are there other uses of this property that you suggest? If so, what are those uses?

Ideas were wide-ranging, such as: leave it as green space; build a spiritual retreat center; create an outdoor worship space; plant an orchard; an ice cream stand; expand the community gardens; sell to Central Park; create additional church parking that’s flat; keep for future church expansion; a food shelf; a neighborhood house for listening and learning from various cultures.

Question #4:  What are your concerns about this project? 

Again, responses were wide ranging. Some are actually questions:  Will PoP have an ongoing financial obligation? Will there be an ongoing volunteer obligation which will saddle future members? What kind of people will live there?  What will be the affect on the day care?  Concerns: it won’t be approved;  we’ll lose the ability to use the property in the future; the project is too big for us, we don’t want to manage it; in this pandemic we should wait until we can gather in person to discuss and decide on this.

 The Affordable Housing Team can answer some of these questions and others will be answered by the developer when chosen.

Question #5:  If the development is built, what are your ideas for ways the congregation could interact with the residents?

There were several responses:  when an apartment is vacated, help with cleaning and painting for the next resident; have picnics and invite residents;  invite residents to worship; ask the service provider how people at PoP can be involved; provide welcome baskets to new residents; less is best—invite the new residents to a welcome social and see what happens from there; wait until people move in and see what they want and how we can help.

What are the Next Steps?

Selection of a Developer:  A parallel track to a healthy decision-making process through communication and listening is the selection of a nonprofit Affordable Housing Developer. Candidates will be interviewed on Zoom with an open invitation to the congregation to participate. The recommended candidate will be presented to the PoP Council for a vote. The selected Developer will help the congregation discern whether to move forward with the project.

Please note:  selecting a developer does not commit the congregation to doing the project, nor does Prince of Peace Lutheran Church incur any financial obligations. 

Outdoor Gathering:  Look for an invitation to an outdoor gathering with the Affordable Housing Team to answer questions you may have.

Learning Opportunities:  To learn more about the value of affordable housing, see the attached List of Suggested Books on Affordable Housing


 Catching Homelessness, by Josephine Ensign.  A young white Southern Christian mother and nurse working with the homeless in a clinic becomes homeless herself.

My Name Is Child of God . . . Not Those People: A First Person Look at Poverty, by Julia K. Dinsmore.  As a resident of Minneapolis, she lived in poverty as a child and as an adult she has found herself living below the poverty line. 

Journeys Out of Homelessness: The Voices of Lived Experiences, by Jamie Rife.  Individual stories of experiencing homelessness. 

I Beat the Odds: from Homelessness to the Blind Side and Beyond, by Michael Oher. The story of a youth who beat the odds to become a professional football player.  The book was made into the movie Blind Side. 

Still a Family, by Brenda Reeves Stiller.  A family in a shelter with the father in a men’s shelter and how they still get together and hope for better times.

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, by Matthew Desmond.  Experiences of people who are unstably housed in Milwaukee, WI.  The Adult Forum discussed this book spring 2019.

All are available from the Ramsey County Library