It was a beautiful snowy Saturday and Fellowship Housing was blessed by Food for Friends by being able to give away 15 Thanksgiving meals to single moms and their children. Several of the moms were going to be cooking their first turkey ever. One of the moms that entered Fellowship Housing in June even hosted her family at her apartment. We were also able to bless some of our graduated moms with a Thanksgiving meal and they were extremely grateful. We are so thankful for our partnership with Food for Friends and how they continue to bless and serve our moms.
This fall marks the 5 year anniversary celebration of the Investor Property Partner Program, launched back in 2013 by two pioneer investor couples; Dave and Peggy Shumway and John and Ginny Opsahl. Both couples generously rent apartments or townhouses that they own back to Fellowship Housing at a reduced rate for use by our single moms and their children.
When the housing market crashed in 2008 and homes were for sale in the years following at incredibly low prices, the Shumways thought, “What if we could just buy a house or two and help someone while investing our money?” One of their pastors pointed them to Fellowship Housing and they were put in touch with the Executive Director at the time, Brooke Bartlow. Dave and Peggy were driven by a desire to put investment money to better use by making a difference in the community; They would have been happy to do it even without the possibility of financial gain, but this made it a no-brainer. Dave reflects, “This way someone could benefit EVERY DAY from our investment. We feel like we are part of the Fellowship Housing team and have confidence knowing we’re not landlords on our own. It’s a great reassurance since this is something we’ve never done before.”
Peggy recalls a profound moment during their time with the Investor Property Program; “One February weekend, David was out of town. The weather was well below zero and one of the units had an issue with the furnace. David and I connected and found a emergency HVAC company that could come. Our normal “guy” was booked all day with other people in similar situations. I grabbed my computer, and spent the late morning sitting on the floor of the living room in that unit with the two adolescent boys, as the mom was working. The repair man came and fixed the furnace for a fee that included an emergency premium. As I handed him my credit card, I didn’t flinch over the bill. We have the money in reserve plus more. I thought about how many months of discretionary spending that would have been for the mom on the Fellowship Housing budget. Even at her full wages, that would have been a big chunk. It was a reminder of how very blessed I am.”
Their desire to help the moms of Fellowship Housing runs deep with this eternal perspective in mind. They are grateful to be a part of keeping operating expenses down for the program and find joy in giving the moms a vision and hope through providing them the type of home now which they will be able to rent or own themselves once they graduate.
Before I came to Fellowship Housing I was trying to get my life back together after having made so many bad choices and mistakes. When I found this group I was so excited that I’d have a place to live and people who would be willing to help me get my life back in order and in the right direction. I just wanted to be able to support my family and live like the rest of my friends – being debt-free and paying my bills on time. I knew it would be a lot of hard work on my part – but was willing to go through what I had to in order for it to make a difference in my life. I had that desire to get my finances in order and reduce or eliminate my debt – but din’t have the know hows in accomplishing it nor the accountability to get it done.
During my time here in the program I have had many ups and downs. Staying within my budget was the biggest struggle and still is. Trying to get out of those habits of just spending – and instead saving my money. I’ve never really had any goals for my life. Just wanted to survive day to day and take care of my kids to give them some kind f a future. But now I’ve had some counsel in really doing some soul searching in finding out what I want to make of my life and where I want to go with it. Fellowship Housing has given me and inward strength that has given me hope that I can make it in this life filled with stresses and disappointments. And that even I can accomplish my goals and live my life happy and having that “financial freedom.”
I am over half way through the program now and looking back can see how far I’ve come. I have a long way to go, but always know that there is love and support for me here when I need it. Some of my goals for this year are to really push myself in the “savings” area. To stay within my budget knowing that in the long run it will all pay off! Many of the meetings have been so helpful to me, things that I’ve just never been taught before regarding our money/resumes/credit reports. There are so many advantages in being here and I”m so thankful that I’ve had a part of it all!