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Agency offers affordable housing video, study guide

2/13/2003 News media contact: Tim Tanton · (615) 742-5470 · Nashville, Tenn.

By United Methodist News Service

The United Methodist Church's pension benefits agency has released a video on its affordable housing investment program, along with a study guide for groups and congregations on affordable housing issues.

"Sharing the Dream: A Place to Call Home" is a 16-minute video that focuses on the United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits' affordable housing and community development investments. It showcases the Margaret J. Bennett House in Baltimore and Woodland City in Dallas as examples of affordable housing successes. Both benefited from investments made by the board.

"The lack of affordable housing units for many low-income Americans is a crisis to which the church must respond," said Gale Whitson-Schmidt, deputy general secretary of the board in Evanston, Ill. "The general board has found that we can invest the assets entrusted to us in ways that support this important mission of the United Methodist Church."

The board, a major institutional investor, has been involved in affordable housing projects since 1990, and its commitments total nearly $1 billion. The agency's investments have resulted in the creation or renovation of more than 20,000 affordable housing units in the United States, while earning an annualized rate of return of about 7.5 percent on behalf of the participants in the denomination's benefits plans.

"Sharing the Dream" and its accompanying study guide may be used in classroom, Sunday school, retreat and other group settings to create greater awareness of affordable housing issues. The study guide describes what the church says about affordable housing, what some congregations and conferences have done to develop affordable housing ministries, and what churches and individuals can do at the local level.

Copies are available at no charge from the board. More details can be found at
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*The United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits provided the information for this story.

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