Homes of radical hospitality are one of God's greatest gifts on this earth, a rare blessing for those who find them. It was at one of the lowest points in my life that I found my way to the Philips' kitchen, drank Erika's coffee, and received healing for my story. I know I am not the only one.
Now, that home is no longer safe--not for visitors, strangers, neighbors, nor even the family. The house of refuge has become a danger, the air filled with mold that has taken both health and home away from the family. You can read the full details of that story below.
The cost to restore it is great: up to $10,000 for (yet another) mold remediation and up to $15,000 for six months' housing. The urban environments in which the Philips minister so well are not low-cost places.
So as we pray for miraculous provisions of health and housing, we do what we can: we give. Each small gift helps the family through another day until this season ends and the miracles--though they may come slowly--finally arrive.
With prayers and love,
Recipient of Philips' hospitality
Michael and Erika Philip have spent over two decades in ministry to the marginalized in urban neighborhoods in various parts of the world. They have lived in Rwanda, Uganda, and urban Denver, Miami, and Chicago. They work in many other geographical places around the world besides these as their organization has teams internationally. Michael does faith based community development (i.e. grassroots neighborhood work) and leadership development (helping form new leaders in new neighborhoods for InnerCHANGE). Erika is a cross cultural, trauma counselor and works with survivors of human trafficking, sexual violence, and refugees. The Philips have been married for 20 years and have three kids: a 17 year old and 14 year old twins.
The Philip Family owns a small 1400 sq foot bungalow house in an Afro Caribbean neighborhood in urban Miami. This is their only place of residence and sole real estate investment. This past year, it was discovered that the home was infested with toxic mold and is making them very sick. The home has been remediated twice and the situation has forced them to get rid of more than half of our belongings (including furniture, rugs, and furnishing). This home which used to be a place of radical hospitality for the vulnerable and broken is now not even inhabitable for them as a family. At this time, their remaining belongings have been put in storage and they are without a home, fluctuating between a hotel and house sitting. Erika and Isaac have very extensive health issues as a result of prolonged mold exposure among other coexisting diseases (Lyme and PANDAS), leaving them very immunocompromised. Both of them even have swelling on their brains. Erika is so sick, she is unable to work at this time and had to defer her PhD enrollment which was to assist in further specialty in complex trauma among migrating populations.
They have had multiple remediation companies come in and do work but each one of them have found one source of mold but not THE source of mold, making the situation happen again and again. At this time, they are bringing in an industrial hygienist who will begin tearing into walls and foundation in hopes to find the actual source. They are hoping they finally take care of the issue and make the home safely rentable, hopefully by January. The doctors have recommended the family does not live in South Florida at this time due to the continual health issues. To date, the insurance has refused to cover any of this, leaving this family with a home that is uninhabitable and quickly draining any amount of savings they have to stay up with basic living expenses.
At this, they are hoping to remain in Miami for the remainder of the school year so their senior can finish senior year and then possibly will relocate for further ministry work. But they are considering any viable option at this point.
As you can imagine, this is very difficult as a family of five, two weeks before Christmas and during a pandemic. We are looking for companies or families with a heart and a desire to give back during the holidays to help this family. We are looking for home restoration programs, financial donations, donations of construction work, and/or furnishing to help this family get settled again so they can minister from a place of peace and beauty. Most of all we are looking to provide the needed support to get them a short-term lease or housing to last until June.
- Mark Cloherty
- Melissa Sjoerdsma McNeill
- Matthew Allan
Organizer and beneficiary
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