Gospel, Inc. Builds a Brighter Future for the Chronically Homeless
More than aesthetics, Seeley and his team have cultivated a bustling, self-sufficient neighborhood. “We believe that people need more than a house,” said Seeley, “they need a community to support them and to have a sense of belonging.” Complete with a garden, chicken coops, a shared pantry, and an elaborate courtyard, there are a myriad of ways the residents interact and build together every day.
Founded in 2011, Gospel, Inc. works to give the chronically homeless a foundation for long term success, a mission SouthState Bank fervently supports.
In addition to initial financial contributions, SouthState has assisted Gospel, Inc. in securing a $500,000 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank - Atlanta that will be used for their next phase, a fully upgraded 24-unit multi-story property right next to Gospel Village. The project is set to break ground in the second half of 2022.
Seeley doesn’t plan to stop there, however, as he and his team work to establish Gospel, Inc. as a flagship example for other local charities. While their goals may seem lofty, the organization feels they are obtainable given its track record of translating vision.
“We want to continue to expand our footprint in Lakeland up to 150 units and would love to inspire other cities in our county to have their own village to serve people experiencing homelessness,” he explains.
Growth is an integral part of the Gospel Village story, whether talking about housing expansion or the tenets the organization looks to instill amongst its residents. The Repurpose Art Studio is a prime example of both.
Initially serving as Gospel, Inc.’s hub for supplying the local homeless population with meals, the organization converted this building into a fully stocked art studio. Crafting materials, textiles, and computers are all available for residents to use at their leisure.
Sewing classes and other workshops teach members of the community valuable skills and give them dignified income opportunities as their works are frequently sold at local markets.
Community Development Officer Phil Zeman has helped build a partnership with Seeley and actively witnessed the organization be a force for positive change in the area.
“I have seen firsthand the power self-autonomy has had on the residents and applaud Gospel, Inc.’s ability to create an environment of self-worth by providing these individuals the opportunity to care for themselves financially,” said Zeman.
The praise between the organizations is mutual. “[SouthState] annually supports the mission of Gospel, Inc., and we are grateful for their partnership,” said Seeley, adding “they saw the vision for our housing program and reached out to help us make the next phase a reality.”
As Gospel, Inc. continues to make a difference in the community, they hope to foster the idea that given the proper support and opportunities, anyone can succeed. To learn more about their story and how you can get involved, click here.