Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Can God Provide For Housing?

In our area, several years ago, you could find a decent 3 bedroom for under $900 but as the years went by, the rent went way up.  Now, it would literally be a miracle if you found a 3 bedroom rental for under $1100.  Families with more than 2 children, have to have a 3 bedroom because the laws in our area deem it so with rentals.  It is either 2 per room or if you have a boy and a girl, they each must have their own room.  This means that most families with children NEED a 3 bedroom home to meet the law and live comfortably.  Some landlords ignore these rules and allow more in a 2 bedroom or a boy and girl to reside in the same room but most do not.

The recommendation from financial experts is that your housing costs should be less than 30% of your gross income but Dave Ramsey recommends it only be 25% of your take-home pay.  So let's do an example of an average one-income family who has a modest income of $40,000 a year.  30% of that would be $1000 a month that you can afford for housing or according to Dave Ramsey's guidelines, 25% of take home pay would give you $730 a month for housing.  So for a family making $40K a year, they should stick within a $730 - $1,000 a month for housing.  With those numbers, you can see how a typical family can't afford the rent in my area, so they have to pay more and save less, or not at all.

It is now cheaper to buy than rent, in my area, when you look at monthly payments.  Some are finding that they have to buy in order to have a place to live because they can't afford $1100+ in rent but can pay a $700 mortgage, which after property taxes and insurance, comes out to still be under $1000.  However, putting yourself in debt and literally setting yourself up for financial distress when something in the home needs repairing or breaks, is destroying peace in many families.  Also, if you can find a home that cheap in our area, it probably means it is old or in a part of town that isn't desirable.  Rent will most likely only go up from here as landlords are still trying to make up for their bad decisions on purchasing homes when homes were way over-priced in my area several years ago.

Thankfully as a Christian, we can know that even though rent is going up and laws are making it hard for many families with children - we have God as our ultimate provider and he isn't fighting against families!  Now more than ever, we can see the mighty hand of God at work in His provisions, even in housing.  God will supply your need but maybe not your want - some don't live within their means on purpose because they WANT something that they just can't afford and they create situations of hardship.  Yes, God does sometimes give you your wants too but He will always give you your NEEDS.

He provided my family a place several years ago that seemed too good to be true at the price and size of the rental, but it was really true (and good!).  Even if our landlord chooses to raise our rent, God will still make a way for our family - whether it is more income to pay the higher rent or providing another place for us.  God CAN provide housing for His people and their families and He WILL if you let Him lead!

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