One of our housing providers, Bet, summed up her experience of renting to refugees wonderfully, “We always thought investing in real estate was a good idea, we never could have imagined where this journey would take us.”
It has been such a joy helping these two families make their transition to a more stable life in Minnesota
Over a year ago, a duplex in Bet and her husband Erik’s neighborhood went for sale. The previous owners had not taken good care of the building, so they hoped the new owners would be better. “Then separately, we had the same idea; why couldn’t we own it?” said Bet.
“Initially, we decided to just look into what the process of buying it would be. An initial inquiry led to further conversations, tours, and an inspection. Until finally, we decided to just make an offer and see what happened,” said Bet. “If God meant for us to own this duplex, we believed it would work out.”
Their offer matched the highest one to the dollar. Erik and Bet were ready to put out ads for renters when they started thinking about how cool it would be to rent to refugees. Initially hesitant because of the finances involved, their friends convinced them to contact Arrive Ministries.
‘…our families pay full rent!’ That changed everything; we realized that renting to refugees was an actual option.
“Erik talked to a housing coordinator at Arrive Ministries and made it clear that we couldn’t give a discount on rent. When the staff person responded with, ‘Oh no, our families pay full rent!’ That changed everything; we realized that renting to refugees was an actual option,” said Bet.
The duplex they purchased has a connecting stairway, so they thought it may work for one large family or two different families. They ended up getting a wonderful surprise when two Afghan families that were cousins moved in!
“We never know which kids will be at which house when we knock,” laughed Bet. “They are not only renters, they are neighbors, and dear friends.”
It was the kind of joy you can share without words.
One of the mothers had shared with Erik and Bet that Afghanistan was such a difficult place to live in that getting the children to and from school safely was all they had been able to handle. So another joyful part of this relationship for Bet and Erik has been introducing the kids to winter fun by taking everyone sledding and to their first hockey game.
“They had so much fun sledding, they were smiling and laughing; at one point they got into such a giggle fit, we all could not stop until our bellies hurt. Bet and I turned to each other and wondered when was the last time they laughed like this?” said Erik.
“It was the kind of joy you can share without words,” said Bet.
On Easter, Bet and Erik hid Easter eggs around their yard, and handed the kids bags.
they are great tenants. The adults are very responsible and motivated to make a better future for their kids.
“We told them, ‘This is something that Americans do on Easter. They loved running around, collecting eggs and seeing the candy inside. These kids have been through so much, and they finally have a chance to actually act like kids,” said Bet.
“It has been such a joy helping these two families make their transition to a more stable life in Minnesota,” said Erik.
“My advice to people considering renting to refugees is that they are great tenants. The adults are very responsible and motivated to make a better future for their kids. Of course, there are challenges, but very few things in life are so great without effort. Don’t let fear be a reason to say ‘No,’” said Bet.