April 13, 2024

“Affordable Housing Crisis” Top Priority For Brevard Justice Ministry, Inc.

3 min read

By Ralph Newell

Six congregations have joined together under the banner of “Brevard Justice Ministry, Inc.” (BJM) to seek Liberty & Justice For All. The Brevard Justice Ministry’s Mission and focus is to make “Affordable Housing” attainable for thousands in Brevard County. Nearly 400 persons attended the organization’s Nehemiah Action Assembly on May 2, 2022 in support of “Affordable Housing” in Brevard County. The event was held at the Suntree United Methodist Church, Melbourne.
This was the first attempt of The Brevard Justice Ministry to get the Board of County Commissioners to commit funding to reduce the housing problem. Each County Commissioner was sent a certified letter requesting their attendance. Neither of the Commissioners accepted the invitation and did not attend the Nehemiah Action Assembly. One on one meetings were held with Commissioner John Tobia and Ian Golden Brevard County Director of the Department of Housing and Human Services. However, no commitments have been made as to date.
The testimonies and stories of two persons and how their families have been affected were presented at the Assembly. Mr. Keith Camby said he and his wife and two children could not afford to make rent payments so they were evicted. But they have been assisted by one church which gave them temporary relief. A mother stated that it is almost impossible for her and family to rent a home or apartment because she would have to spend nearly 60% of her salary just to maintain a place to stay. Brevard Justice Ministry, Inc. wanted Commissioners to hear these and other stories. But this venture get government help is not over yet.
BJM has scheduled meetings with Commissioners Kristine Zonka (District 5) and Rita Pritchett (District 1) in the near future. Why are the Commissioners considered as key support persons? BJM’s Co-Presidents Bishop Merton Clark and Rev. Allee Willcox say the Commissioners are the ones who can effect change by agreeing to set up an Affordable Housing Trust Fund for Brevard County. Clark is the Pastor of Truth Revealed international Ministry, Palm Bay and Willcox is Associate Pastor of Suntree United Methodist Church.
The affordable housing research by BJM shows that 60% of those employed in Brevard County earn less than $46,000 annually. That means these persons are below the Areas Medium income bracket. Therefore, to afford rent and/or purchase a home many of these persons have to work two jobs or more. Thousands in the county earn less that $20,000 annually and have to not only work two jobs but spend well over 80% in housing cost. Then they have to seek subsidy for food, medicine, etc. Brevard Justice Ministry, Inc. says this is totally unacceptable, unfair and an injustice to Brevard citizens.
What’s the next step to bring about change in the county? BJM will continue to rally support from faith-based churches and organizations to request County Commissioners, City Officials, Corporations, Housing Developers and others to invest resources to help resolve this problem.
BJM, Inc. will hold another Nehemiah Action Assembly in the fall. These Actions are based upon Nehemiah coming forth and calling the people of faith together to stop, change, injustice against the people. This call to action is found in Nehemiah chapter 5 and God helped the people of faith to bring about change. Brevard Justice Ministry, Inc. believes the same can happen in Brevard County. The Co-Presidents of BJM, Inc. reminds all faith-based persons to adhere to Micah 6:6-8 in summary, “What does God require of you, but to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”
The Brevard Justice Ministry, Inc. is appealing to other congregations to join BJM, Inc. and current congregations to achieve Liberty and Justice for All. Current Member Congregations are: Grace United Church, Merritt Island; Greater Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church, Melbourne; Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, Palm Bay; Mt. Olive A.M.E. Church, Merritt Island; Suntree United Methodist Church, Melbourne and Truth Revealed International Ministries, Palm Bay. Please call Suntree UMC or Truth Revealed and leave a message and one of the Co-Presidents or someone else will contact you and provide more information. You may also google Brevard Justice Ministry, Inc. for further information.

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