The Palmer Place Apartments Ministry provides safe, affordable and convenient housing for people who travel to Houston for advanced medical care. Achieving their mission requires agile team work and first-rate communication. The tasks vary widely and require a myriad of skills. And for 17 years, the Palmer Place Ministry has proved itself up to the undertaking.
This narrative is the first in a series of chapters that describe the workings of the Palmer Place Apartments Ministry. In the coming months, we’ll introduce our readers to the people that make the ministry work: The Placement Team, the Guest Check-In and Check-Out Team, the Rent Collectors, the Maintenance Team and the Financial Gurus. This month’s story reaches outside the ministry itself to explore Church Apartment Ministry, the umbrella organization that provides office space, phones and administrative help while fostering cooperation between the nine Houston faith communities that offer housing to out-of-town patients.
The Church Apartment Ministry has been housed at South Main Baptist Church since 1980. Its nine member churches provide a total of 67 apartments in various apartment and condominium complexes nearby the Texas Medical Center. At its highest point, it offered 120 apartments with 17 churches involved, but participation waned due to a scarcity of volunteers, proximity to the Texas Medical Center and the cost of operations. The ministry is always looking for more apartments since it is currently unable to fulfill the needs of many people who call hoping for housing. The scarcity has worsened considerably due to flooding from Hurricane Harvey. On average, the ministry has 150 applications for apartments.
Each church member within the Church Apartment Ministry is asked to recruit volunteers to work the phone bank at South Main Baptist Monday through Thursday where the application process begins. Palmer currently has four volunteers for the operation: Carol Coats, Thelma Hunt, Debbie Brassfield and Vic Lucas.
The churches involved in the Church Apartment Ministry and their respective housing opportunities are:
- First Methodist Church – “Guest House”
- Grace Presbyterian Church
- Kingwood Church of Christ – “Kingwood Haven”
- Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church – “Guest House”
- Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church – “Palmer Place”
- John’s Presbyterian Church – “The Anchor”
- South Main Baptist Church – “Sojourn House”
- Southminster Presbyterian Church
- West University Church of Christ – “West University Place”