The Advent Conspiracy is a bunch of us ragtag types claiming Christmas back from consumerism. Like it says on their website, Christmas can't be found at the mall. In the coming days, I'm going to blog about various ways we can offer compassion and not consumerism this Christmas season. It's so important. How often do we moan about rush hour gift shopping, or receiving bath sets no one needs, or always keeping up with gift exchanges where people give and receive crap? As the Conspiracy says: "It's about Presence and not presents"… the presence of Christ in our world, in us… and our presence with one another.
CONSPIRACY CHRISTMAS CHALLENGE #01: Crazy Rents In Lac La Biche
Has anyone in town noticed how even in the past couple of months, rent is outrageously expensive for even a poorly maintained 1-bedroom apartment? Have you ever stopped to think how many families, couples and singles this has negatively affected?
CALLING ON ALL LAC LA BICHE LANDLORDS/LADIES: The challenge is for you to cut your rent by half this Christmas for one whole year for your tenants/future tenants. From January 01, 2011 to January 01, 2012, you will charge half of what you are charging/advertising for now. If it's $1400/m, it goes down to $700/m; if it's at $950/m, it goes down to $425/m. No matter where your rent is, you cut it by half. If you're charging utilities, you cut those by half too and tote the other portion. If utilities are already included in the rent, DO NOT ADD THEM AFTER CUTTING THE INITIAL RENT COST.
To keep things honest, write up a lease for your tenants explaining the timeframe and have you both sign it if you're agreeable. Maintenance for your rentals is still required, and care for your tenants does not go out the window. Present this lease to your tenants on Christmas Day, December 25, 2010.
"But that's a HUGE chunk of change!"
I realize some of what landlords make off of rentals goes towards mortgage payments, upkeep and utilities. Some it is… pure profit. My challenge to the landlords is to have compassion on the people who are suffering under a great weight now. In doing so, you will learn how God provides for YOU on a day-to-day basis.
Renters… don't think you're off the hook! Compassion is meant to be shared and grown, not just taken and hidden away. With the money you save on rent for 1 year, pray about how God would have you use that money. For some of us, it will mean making ends meet. We will have a year to save a bit, pay off loans, or invest in schooling or employment programs that will benefit the community… do it.
For others of us, we will be directed to take that money and spend it not on ourselves, but be shown the corners of our town, country and world where needs abound… do it.
Others will still need help with rent… do it.
Some will have resources to aid projects in Africa like Compassion Canada, Samaritan's Purse or World Vision… do it.
Others will be stopped on the scene of a fire, maybe, where the family has lost everything and needs new shelter, clothing, furniture… do it.
The point is: the money is not ours to keep, landlord or tenant. We spread it around.
Let's see how far rent money REALLY goes.