Congregation Works to Address Housing Crisis

Over the past decade, tiny homes have taken off in popularity. Appearing on HGTV, in magazines, and discussion at home & gardening clubs, this curiosity of minimalist culture has begun to garner widespread popularity in many faith circles as a part of the toolkit to combat homelessness and the current housing crisis.

One such congregation that has taken this approach is First Presbyterian Church of Hayward in Castro Valley, California where a village of five tiny houses have emerged in the congregation’s parking lot as part of a mission initiative to address homelessness.

Hayward’s Pastor, Rev. Jake Medcalf said, “We’ve come to the theological place, maybe philosophical, that housing is a human right…if we don’t provide housing in our neighborhoods, especially in an area like the Bay, we are literally — I don’t think it’s dramatic, I think it’s real — condemning people to die on the streets.”

Located in the heart of California’s skyrocketing housing boom between southeast of San Francisco and Oakland, Pastor Medcalf serves a community not only being devastated by homeless but also suffering from an affordable housing shortage.

“They have physical health issues that are killing them, they have mental health issues that are killing them,” he said, adding, “Both of those can develop into addictive issues which are killing them, none of which can be made whole without a house. I think to ask them to get physically better, mentally healthy, to get over their addiction, while they’re living on the concrete outdoors really lacks compassion and lacks reality. If churches don’t get involved, I think that they’re just putting their whole head in the sand and letting people really suffer cruelly on the streets.”

Each of the five homes in Hayward’s parking lot are complete with indoor plumbing, electricity and HVAC units. Designed to serve as transitional spaces for homeless persons until they are able find long-term housing. 

Hayward hopes that by providing relief to people during difficult seasons of life they might experience God’s love and know there is a place for them at First Presbyterian.

Source: Presbyterian Mission