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HUD No. 20-203
HUD Public Affairs
(202) 708-0685
FOR RELEASE
Thursday
December 10, 2020

SECRETARY BEN CARSON HIGHLIGHTS IMPACT OF CALIFORNIA CHURCH DURING FOURTH MEETING OF THE 'MUSTARD SEED SERIES'
Virtual event series for faith leaders and congregations focuses on best practices of innovative faith-based organizations


WASHINGTON - U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson today hosted the fourth “Mustard Seed Series” meeting during which he highlighted the work of FirstPres Church of Hayward, California. The virtual series is focused on faith organizations that have successfully created affordable housing, reduced homelessness, or used innovative housing models to serve individuals in need. The meetings serve as a forum for other faith organizations to learn about the experiences of these communities and to replicate the successes they have experienced.

Today’s event featured FirstPres Church of Hayward’s Tiny Homes in Castro Valley, California and the nonprofit organization the church formed, Firm Foundation Community Housing. To combat homelessness in their community, the FirstPres Tiny Homes project has built six mobile housing units in the FirstPres parking lot to house local homeless individuals temporarily as they transition to permanent housing. As the cost of housing continues to rise, the project’s goal is to end involuntary homelessness in Alameda County. To assist others in replicating the project, FirstPres formed Firm Foundation Community Housing, a group that provides project managers to guide the faith community, stakeholders, and landowners through the process of permitting, designing, building, and installing Tiny Home villages on underutilized property.

“FirstPres Church of Hayward has not only impacted their community by lifting their homeless neighbors up off the streets and into dignified homes, but they also continue to be a force of change by helping to jump start similar projects in other communities,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “This Administration believes the private sector and local communities can partner with the government in caring for our most vulnerable men, women, and children. America’s churches stand on the very front line of that fight.”

“In our communities we have major issues to tackle,” said Jake Medcalf, Lead Pastor of FirstPres Church of Hayward. “We have brothers and sisters destined to life on the streets because we refuse to engage in creative and compassionate ways. Tiny home villages are just one solution, but to me they are proof that when we work together as a community - government, faith community, business industry - and say, ‘Not in my neighborhood will we let people live on the streets,’ we can figure it out. That is my faith tradition living itself out. I believe that together we can solve the housing crisis we face across America."

For more information about the Mustard Seed Series or to RSVP for an event, please email FaithInitiatives@hud.gov.

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