Housing Instability: How Community Resources Can Work Together to Help
Serving low-income families has the potential to bring tremendous benefit to our community. Working together to meet the needs of this population can help to create a better and more equitable environment for all. From providing basic necessities such as food and clothing to offering programs that can help to increase employment and educational opportunities, serving low-income families has the power to bring positive change to our community. With the right efforts and support, we can create a brighter future for all.
Government reports state that in 2022, the poverty rate in Lynchburg, VA was nearly 18%. Many families and individuals had to carefully prioritize how to spend what income they did have. Most would agree that housing is one of the most important expenditures a family has. When living below the poverty level, it is hard to to pay for housing and still have enough for other basic needs such as food, clothing, and healthcare, among other things.
If someone pays more than 30% of their income on housing, they are said to be "cost-burdened." If they pay more than 50% of their income, they are "severely cost-burdened." Due to this burden, paying for housing cuts into all other areas of expense, such as basic tangible needs (food, clothing, furniture, etc), healthcare, transportation, and more.
Affordable housing, as you can imagine, is found to actually improve health, mental health, and performance in school for children. According to Elizabeth March*, a child in stable housing:
is 35% more likely to to be a well-child
has a 19% lower risk of being underweight
has a 28% lower risk of being food insecure
Agape Center Lynchburg's Role
For non-profits, like Agape Center Lynchburg, it's not always possible to help with the housing crisis, but it IS possible to relieve some of the financial burden by offering to meet other needs. Here at Agape, we can help reduce their monthly expenditure on items such as food, clothing, hygiene & cleaning items, housewares, and furniture, which allows more of their income to be allocated for housing.
Agape also offers resource directories to our low-income clients for other services that we don't provide. Working together is the best way to meet the needs in our community. Agape has aligned with a number of organizations and especially use the 211 Virginia portal for our clients. 211 Virginia offers information on the following and so much more:
employment & job training
financial assistance with rent or utility bills
mental health services
How You Can Join Us
As Agape Center Lynchburg works to provide resources and programs to individuals and families living in poverty in the Lynchburg area, we invite you to come alongside us. With your support by donating financially and/or donating physical goods, or even volunteering your time, you will provide assistance with basic needs such as food, clothing, hygiene & cleaning items, housewares, and furniture, as well as giving us the opportunity to mentor clients, seeing to their spiritual needs. Working closely with other area resources, Agape makes referrals and gives clients information about other agencies who can provide assistance in finding employment, educational opportunities, and more. You are a valuable resource to those in our area who are in need, and together, we can strive to ensure that everyone in the Lynchburg area has access to quality resources. Join us today by DONATING or VOLUNTEERING and you will be a blessing to families in our community that need a little help and need to witness God's love in action.
*March, Elizabeth, "Rx for Hunger: Affordable Housing, Children's Health Watch", Medical-Legal Partnership, December 2009.