As the 2021 year began, our construction efforts to develop Birmingham’s physical and spiritual community were able to resume after a Covid-induced hiatus. Following a year when renovation and construction across the city came to a standstill due to a global pandemic, the need for home repairs in our city’s most vulnerable neighborhoods was significant. Within the first three months of this year, CSM did work on five different houses, repairing and replacing roofs on all of them. Some projects also received new siding and paint. In addition to the construction completed, CSM staff also went on several site visits, vetting homes for future repairs. Among our completed projects, three were with the City of Birmingham’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), and two were in partnership with Historic Bethel Baptist.
As with all of our ministry initiatives, working with our community partners is vital to every construction project’s success. When completing projects with CDBG, we identify homes in under-resourced neighborhoods where certain church partners are located, including East Lake, Collegeville, and West End. These are individuals who have applied to the city, indicating that their homes need necessary repairs. Often, the most needed repair for a given project is the roof, as evidenced by our projects this quarter. Many of the homes CSM repairs have not had their roof replaced in many decades. Throughout the repair process, we seek to connect the homeowners to a church in the area if they do not already have a church home. In the latter case, we involve the individual’s church, meeting with the leadership to pray over the house and ensure all parties are being cared for holistically. Our other projects this quarter were completed with the Historic Bethel Baptist foundation in Collegeville. Their mission and funds entail restoring and beatifying the area surrounding the historic Bethel Baptist church. Working with the church, CSM identifies homes in the area in need of repair. The church assists CSM in reaching out to and working with homeowners, and we keep Bethel, or another church engaged in the process to ensure the homeowner has access to long-term community support.
While our nation is rounding the corner on Covid, its effects are still being felt, and our construction team has creatively responded to these challenges. From masked and socially distanced site visits to purchasing a semi-truck load of roof shingles at once to combat rising construction costs, CSM has worked through Covid to address challenges facing our city. As we enter the summer months, we are excited to see where God will guide us next as we seek to continue developing, repairing, and restoring the city around us.