The What and Why
TransAct Hope started with an idea in late 2011. Pastor Doug Schneider had learned of a program that bought mobile homes and rented them to individuals and families in need, with the goal of turning over ownership of the home to that individual or family after one year, when they had become financially stable.
The name TransAct Hope came from the idea that what we wanted to do was to create hope for our participants – the hope that comes from a relationship with Christ and a community of caring people to walk through life with our participants. We want our participants to also experience the hope for a good future that comes with increasing financial and spiritual stability, and from learning to make better choices in their lives.
TransAct Hope was incorporated as a 501C3 organization in 2012. The original board members for TransAct Hope were Pastor Doug Schneider, Craig Shuler, Andria Davisson, and Collene Ottum. Michal Kurylak and Rich Sommers acted as advisors for real estate and property management questions. Andria Davisson was the first Board Chair with Craig Shuler in the role of Vice-Chair.
The Board brainstormed many ideas – ideas for housing, for helping participants establish healthy networks and connections, and ideas for how best to help with creating or enabling dependency. In all things, we have committed to following a Biblical perspective and Biblical principals in all our dealing with participants, volunteers, donors, the community, and board members.
Many studies have shown that the lack of affordable housing is one of the largest financial stressors. TransAct Hope determined that buying mobile homes to use as housing units for program participants would be the most cost-effective means of helping them on the pathway to financial stability by helping them with affordable housing. Affordable housing is only one part of the overall program.
The most important part of the program is the matching of program participants with committed, Christian volunteers who work with the participant to determine goals, connect with community resources, and to introduce the participant to Christ through modeling Christ’s love in practical ways to the participant. Our three main focus areas are:
An opportunity to know Christ – Participants are encouraged to join Bible studies and take courses offered in area churches. Classes are built on the gospel and relevant to needs such as Jobs for Life, Faith and Finances etc.
Affordable housing – Housing costs can cripple people with limited resources. TransAct Hope provides housing at a discount based on financial circumstances. With this assistance, participants can work towards financial security and independence as they learn how to effectively manage their resources.
A personalized care team – Initially, each participant is paired with a support partner who helps them identify goals and strengths. Together, they choose a team of people that meet regularly to support and hold the participant accountable while working toward the goals. Teams consist of friends, Christian mentors, co-workers, teachers, or people from other local programs where they already have connections.
We currently own 8 mobile homes that allow us to offer affordable housing to participants. We work with our participants on budgeting and financial management and set the program fees on a sliding fee based on the participant’s financial situation. We work to purchase more mobile homes in order to serve more families and adults. We are moving forward in purchasing the mobile home park which will allow us to offer subsidized housing and programming to more families and increase our revenue stream to meet these objectives.
We have trained volunteers to work with each participant to help the participant design a plan to overcome the difficulties and barriers that brought them to our program, and to set goals for the future and a plan to achieve those goals. One goal for our participants is to transition into traditional housing at some point as they move past their barriers and move forward in their lives into spiritual and financial stability.
To help participants reach their goals and to better resource our participants, we partner with:
Jobs for Life to help participants develop a good work ethic, learn to create resumes, and develop job interviewing skills,
Faith and Finances to teach participants Biblically based financial management skills,
Area family outreach programs for training in parenting skills and daily living skills, and
Other community resources as needed to help our participants overcome barriers and achieve goals.
We believe that change in a person’s life is only possible when that person realizes their interdependence with the community and develops a healthy support network where others walk alongside them to give them a hand up, encouraging them to set and meet goals, and being a source of strength and comfort when they need it. We believe that lasting transformation in a person’s life only comes through a relationship with Jesus Christ and the confidence that comes with knowing you are a unique, created, loved child of God.