Imagine living in the same neighborhood, the same house, for nearly 60 years. You can walk your block with your eyes closed. You know every creaky floorboard in your home, every squeaky cupboard door, every scuff and smudge. The kitchen is not just a kitchen; it’s where your children and family friends gathered, year after year, for meals. Now, imagine someone forcing you to move out.
That’s what happened to Miss Addie. She was 102 when her landlord sold the house she had rented for decades in Houston, Texas’ historic Third Ward neighborhood and told her to move out.
Displacement in Houston's Third Ward
“She had no place to go, had no place to live,” said John Eigege, community chaplain in Third Ward and founder of Resonate Global Mission partner Square Inch Houston. But she loved Third Ward. The thought of moving somewhere else broke her heart and stressed her out—she couldn’t afford to move. At 102, she was homebound and unable to move on her own. Her extended family and friends nearby tried their best to care for her but didn’t have the means to support her or the connections to find her affordable housing.
Miss Addie’s story is all-too-familiar; she is one of many affected by displacement in Third Ward. Located just outside of downtown Houston, people and businesses have flocked to the neighborhood to be closer to downtown’s activities without the pricetag. But as new residents restore buildings and the area becomes more popular, prices have spiked and long-time residents like Miss Addie aren’t able to keep up with property taxes or rent. They don’t want to move, but they have to—and they often don’t have an affordable place to go.
“That’s one of the reasons our organizations and churches have to step in,” said John. “If Christ is ruling and reigning over all, then we should be seeing the evidence of a just and righteous king in our neighborhood and in the lives of people who our society tends to overlook.”
Working Together for Restoration and Renewal
John walks through Third Ward in prayer every day, and the Holy Spirit consistently confirms that God is at work in and through Third Ward’s longtime residents. God has worked through John to build a network of people, businesses, and organizations to support the community. Together, they can do what no single person, business, church, or organization can do alone.
When Miss Addie asked for help, the network sprang into action to meet her needs. One organization found her affordable housing; one church was able to purchase furniture for her; Square Inch was able to provide groceries for her using funds from a Resonate grant. John also visited Miss Addie, spending time talking with her and praying with her.
Because of the network’s help, Miss Addie was able to spend one more summer in Third Ward before she passed away in October 2018.
“We take a lot of joy knowing that she lived the last days of her life in a place that was clean and that she had community surrounding her,” said John. “She led a full life. She was a strong Christian and a joy to a lot of people. It was such a blessing for us to see her not displaced from a neighborhood she loved for long.”
Because of your prayer and support, God works through Resonate to create networks of businesses, organizations, and churches that work together to share the gospel of restoration and renewal in neighborhoods like Third Ward.
“How can we truly be missional?” John said. “Working together for the kingdom of Christ.”