Interfaith Housing Services, Inc.
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Rebuilding Lives - Not Just Homes

A preacher’s son, Lawson, has been in his share of trouble. Even though he was raised in an affluent family, he chose to run the streets of Chicago as a young adult. At age (58), he was finally done playing the “streets” game. He prayed for God to remove his chains and lift him out of that life. The next day he was arrested and later found himself in the Hutchinson Correctional Facility serving time for drug charges. It wasn’t his ideal way, but God always has a plan.

Sticking to his word, he began correcting his behaviors and even returned to the church. Lawson was able to work through the work-release program and continued his employment upon discharge. He didn’t want to go back to Garden City where his old “friends” were because he wanted to stay away from that lifestyle. His parole officer suggested he call IHS to see if there were any rentals available in Reno County.

As you may know, our rentals mostly house people with disabilities. However, we are called to serve our neighbors with other special needs that may deter them from finding a safe and affordable place to live - like criminal charges.

With that in mind, Rental Manager Clint Nelson decided to take a chance on Lawson.

During the application interview, Lawson also learned about IHS’s CASH program and knew he wanted to be a homeowner some day. He immediately enrolled in the program, began the financial education and starting saving for his dream home. Four years later, he reached his goal. Coincidently, a house was donated to IHS that had sustained fire damage and was on the city’s demolish list. It was a perfect union!

Renovations began in February when the CASP group came to do missionary work in our community. Lawson put in his own sweat equity and aided the volunteers with demolition, rebuilding and even picking out upgrades to make it his own. “He had to build and repair his credit, save money and work on the home. He did it all,” CASH Program Director Lorna described.

However, with IHS’s focus on completing the Veteran duplex, construction on Lawson’s house was delayed. There was even a time he considered giving up and finding another house to move in to. He was ready to be a homeowner and his impatience grew.

“I can get in my own way sometimes by getting in a hurry and wanting to do things on my own terms,” said Lawson. “I could have found a house that was already remodeled and ready to move in. However, this is going to be my home and I want something that has my personal touches displayed in it. I knew God was providing me this opportunity, so I just had to be patient. It would all come together in due time.” Six months later, the dilapidated house has new life and is a home again. “Scripture says, ‘the measure of a man is not how far he walks, but how many times he gets up when he stumbles and falls.’ Lord knows, I have fallen but he continues to give me grace and get me on my feet again,” reflected Lawson.

“I just want to thank all those that gave me a chance and for their support through IHS. Without them, it would not have been possible for me to be a homeowner again. Thank you.” - Lawson Little, Rental/CASH/HRR client