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Low Profit Housing

There is a business model that’s been brewing in my soul for a while now.  The harder I work on my primary business, the more I think of a benevolence/grace model for a secondary business down the road.  The vision goes something like this:

Raise support via crowd funding or simply save up roughly $70,000.00.

Buy a four unit property in middle to southern Merced, CA, our home town since 2011.

Live in one of the units with my wife and children and rent the rest to folks who are either currently or close to homelessness, widows, foster care families, and the like.  Those staying with us would only need to pay 20% of their net income for rent or $300/month, whichever is highest.  We would provide a three year lease to allow people a chance to turn around their financial situation, or we would provide housing at this reduced rate indefinitely, as long as we own the property.  The vision would be to model a low profit housing business.  Imagine if landlords purposefully directed a portion of their wealth to this kind of generosity-based business model.  This is by no means a savvy idea or genius.  In fact, when you purposefully do not participate in government programs for supplementing these low numbers, your officially wacked in most people’s eyes.  This is basically a fool’s errand in anyone’s eyes who is in the know so-to-speak.

However, as a follower of Jesus, this idea excites me more and more.  It pencils out fine as far as covering property remodels and paying off of any mortgage necessary for the purchase.  It also would allow for some profit and a low cost housing arrangement for my family and me.  It would allow us to live down to earth lives with those Jesus says we can encounter Him by serving (Matthew 25), so with eternal lenses on firmly, this is actually a thrilling idea.

My wife and I are missionaries at heart, and we truly believe all believers are called to live more like missionaries than benevolent wealth-seekers.  In our “American materialism” mindset, no one would define such a business model as part of the American Dream, yet why not?  It is still in theory “a free country” as we like to say.  What would it look like if we truly freed those Jesus focuses on from the level of financial stress they are very familiar with and gave them a home and fellowship week-in and week-out?

It’s a special dream, and very doable at that.



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