PITTSBURG, Kans. — What started as a dream in the 80s, has become a community-wide effort to turn renters, into homeowners. Now, a church in Pittsburg that is hoping to level the playing field.

“When we moved from Joplin, we’ve been here 11 years renting, when we added up everything we paid in rent it was almost sickening, we could’ve paid for half a house by then,” said Melissa Owens, a Level Playing Field participant.

Melissa and husband Chris Owens spent roughly $65 thousand dollars while they were renting in Pittsburg. They decided to make a change and began the daunting process of becoming homeowners.

This is where Lighthouse Temple Ministries got involved — asking the Owens to be the first participants in its “Level Playing Field” – or LPF – program.

“They’re going to level the playing field so that you can be able to be established that if you need to go in a bank, you can go in a bank and say ‘hey this is what i have and this is what I can bring to the table,” said Chris Owens.

“We were able to buy a house with no down payment, it helped us to get some of our finances together where we have one monthly payment,” added Melissa.

“They already got the money, so since they got the money, they make the payment, they don’t have to worry about the down payment,” said Bishop Walter Simpson with Lighthouse Temple Ministries.

Since the Owens, LPF has continued to grow. Thanks to a partnership with Pittsburg State University, new homeowners will have a list of resources to help them with things like repairs.

“When you move from a renter to a home-owner, now you’re a landlord,” said Simpson, “if they have a break like a water heater go down, they know who to call, and we call that part of it ‘grow the blessings,’ so we’re going to talk with other businesses to see if they will help us.”

Creating deep roots to benefit both the families and the community.

“The net worth of a person that rents is about six thousand dollars a year, a person’s net worth who owns is about a quarter of a million dollars … renters leave, homeowners stay, we want to grow the community and we want the community to become a great community.”

We have a link to the Level Playing Field Homes here.