According to the dictionary, a barrier is “an obstacle that prevents movement or access.” We all deal with barriers every day. Some of those barriers are material ones that protect us like doors at our house, or concrete dividers on the highway. Those seem to be quite reasonable and just to me. Some other reasonable and just barriers are immaterial, intellectual, and systematic preventing access to encrypted digital data or jobs that require specialized training. If you were to apply for the position of surgeon, I would hope there would be a barrier for anyone not possessing the medical credentials as a skilled surgeon.
Some barriers we choose. I cannot afford to attend college because I didn’t complete and submit a FAFSA application; I can’t get cash out of the ATM if I can’t remember my pin. Others are chosen for us; If you are too short, you cannot ride the “Zabezee Zinger” amusement park ride; If you have type 1 diabetes you can’t be a commercial airline pilot.
At Serve Wenatchee Valley, we encounter folks all day long that are struggling with barriers; Barriers to finding an adequate living wage to support their household. Did you know that nearly 24% of our community’s residents live in poverty based on the Federal Poverty Guidelines which is $25,750 annually for a family of four?
Barriers to finding available and affordable places to live; Did you know that it takes an annual household income of over $36,000 to afford fair market rent in our community and that our current vacancy rate is less that 4% which most effects low income families?
Barriers to finding help to meet their current need because they make too much money to qualify for many local assistance programs, but not enough to make ends meet in our community. Did you know that many support programs use the federal poverty guidelines for determining eligibility? So, if you have a family of four and make a household income of $30,000, you are above the federal poverty guidelines but below what is needed to afford market value rent in our community.
Folks are dealing with enough barriers which is why Serve Wenatchee Valley intentionally refuses to create additional ones for families seeking assistance. Anyone who has a genuine need and desire to stay safely in their home is invited to come in and explore how we can directly provide or connect them with intervention solutions and journey with them to take their next steps toward stabilization and ultimately security.
Why do we do this? Because we serve a “no barrier” God that welcomes all with open arms regardless of socioeconomic status, religious affiliation, gender identity, relational status, or ethnicity.
“In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ.” Galatians 3:28
It seems to me, if this is who we are in Christ, we must model this invitation to the world by being conduits of His “no barrier” love for all.