Alabama Rural Ministry director lives in ‘shack’ for fundraiser

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AUBURN, Ala- If you’ve been along Gay Street in Auburn, you may have noticed an unusual sight near downtown. Since last week, one woman has been living in a one room shack on the lawn of the Auburn Wesley Foundation.  As News 3’s Greg Loyd discovered, there’s an important cause behind her extreme action.

Lisa Pierce is a woman who practices what she preaches.  She’s the director of the Alabama Rural Ministry, an organization devoted to raising money to help those who need vital home repairs.  To understand their struggles and raise money, she’s put herself in similar living conditions.

“I’ve been sleeping in this little house we call the shack,” says Pierce.

Lisa Pierce, Director of Alabama Rural Ministry, has made a shack her home since last Wednesday, just big enough for a mattress.

It’s an unlikely si,” says Pierce.

Lisa Pierce, Director of Alabama Rural Ministry, has made a shack her home since last Wednesday, just big enough for a mattress.

It’s an unlikely sight on the streets of Auburn. But that’s the point: To raise awareness of the struggles many Alabamians face when it comes to housing.

“It might not be as small as this, but the houses that they’re living in certainly have a lot of repair needs, and because they are these very, very low incomes, they cannot afford to pay the $3,500- $5,000 it would take to repair a roof or the $600 to repair the windows.  So the need is actually very great, especially for our elderly families,” says Pierce.

In addition of raising awareness of poor housing conditions, Alabama Rural Ministry also says there’s another type of housing crisis– and that’s the lack of affordable housing in the state.

Alabama faces a shortage of 90,000 affordable homes, meaning right now a large number of people pay 50% or more of their income for rentals or leases, while others suffer with substandard conditions.  That’s why it’s important for Pierce to understand the suffering of the people she serves.

“When I wake up and I’m cold, I’m thinking about the number of families that are also cold.  When it does rain and it leaks, I’m thinking about how many families, so it just helps us make that connection,” says Pierce.

Alabama Rural Ministry started this fundraiser with a goal of raising $77,000.  So far, they have raised around $62,000 of it.

To learn more about the Alabama Rural Ministry, including how you can donate or apply for its services, please visit its website by clicking here.  You can also call (334) 501-4276.

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