Church, others partner on project to help those who age out of foster care
Affordable housing has been a topic of conversation for several years in Broomfield, Colorado. Especially among the churches and their pastors.
Lutheran Church of Hope member John Bosio and Pastor Scott McAnally, both Thrivent clients, wanted to do more than talk about it. They asked their congregation to develop a feasibility task force and to consider how vacant land owned by their church could be used.
“We met with several groups around the metro area, connected with Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains, and determined that the niche we could provide is independent transitional housing for those who age out of the foster care system with no family,” McAnally says. “The heavens opened, the hallelujahs came out and the idea of Anchor House was born.”
The only stipulation the congregation put on the project, which includes eight furnished studio apartments, was that the $850,000 cost needed to be raised before building began. Bosio, with a background in construction, helped drive the project, working with key community partners, including Flatirons Habitat for Humanity, the City and County of Broomfield, and multiple other congregations.
The Thrivent Member Network-Rocky Mountain Board of Directors approved a $50,000 challenge grant to provide incentive to Thrivent clients and others to donate, says Paul Olson, manager of Community Engagement in the region for Thrivent and president of the local network. “We were excited to be part of the partnership with Habitat and to watch Broomfield get behind this project,” he says.
Another $7,600 in personal donations were made through Thrivent’s online giving platform. In addition, a Thrivent Action Team led by James Barclay, who serves on the local Thrivent Member Network board, helped replace flooring in an activity center by Anchor House. Barclay, as retired CEO of Lutheran Family Services, has long been a champion for projects like Anchor House. “Thrivent’s jumpstart grants were critical for the project, giving us initial money to hire an architect and put a budget together,” Bosio says.
Lutheran Church of Hope and Thrivent have worked together on past church projects as well. The church has had a mortgage loan relationship with
Anchor House, in addition to the apartments, has a community area where the young adults can gather. Lutheran Family Services has established steps for the young adults to transition through and are providing opportunities for the young adults to learn about independent living, including simple tasks like how to cook and
Bosio, McAnally and Olson all believe this project could ignite the spark in other churches. “We want to tell others about the model and help other faith communities imagine what they could do,” McAnally says. “What if more churches were able to forge partnerships in their communities like this? We could really change the world.”
Author Donna Hein is the editor of Thrivent Magazine.