FCS Urban Ministries: focused community strategies



The Carver Neighborhood Market Grand Opening!

katiedelp | 05.22.15 | No Comments »

The Grand Opening of the Carver Neighborhood Market was a smashing success! Neighborhood residents, partners, and friends gathered together to celebrate the transformation of South Atlanta into a food oasis. Everyone had a great time exploring the new store, tasting yummy samples, and participating in the ceremony.

We’re grateful to everyone who came out to support the launching of the market. It is truly an innovative solution to a national issue of food deserts, and we’re excited to see the impact in our South Atlanta Community! Here are some of the amazing photos of the day from photographer Terence Rushin. (Note: Keep an eye out for the bicycle that blended smoothies – it was a big hit!)


Photo by Terence Rushin


Photo by Terence Rushin


Photo by Terence Rushin


Photo by Terence Rushin


Photo by Terence Rushin


Photo by Terence Rushin


Photo by Terence Rushin


Photo by Terence Rushin


Photo by Terence Rushin

5 Questions to Consider Before Starting a Housing Ministry

FCS Ministries | 05.21.15 | No Comments »

by Jim Wehner


Housing is a major component in community development. Having spaces that families can call home is an important piece of building flourishing communities.


Sustainable housing anchors a family into a community and stabilizes other areas of life such as schools and jobs. Admittedly, these all work together to strengthen a family, but at FCS we believe housing is a great place to start.




In the last 35 years, FCS has completed more than 350 homes through our housing ministry, Charis Community Housing. If you or your organization is considering getting into housing, there are some questions you should consider first. Here are 5 questions to ask before jumping into housing ministry:


#1 – Who is with me?


This may seem odd for a first question, but we regularly get questions from people that have little experience in the fields of renovation and property management. A housing initiative without the proper skills and experts can easily do more harm than good or collapse altogether.


When we were reworking our housing process in 2008, we gathered a team of real estate agents, contractors, residential and commercial developers, Real Estate attorneys, and property managers to support the work. This visionary group helped us develop a professional business model for sustainable housing work. Letting experts speak into your vision will add strength and sustainability over the long run.


#2 – Who are we trying to serve?


Of course, from our perspective, we want you to focus on the neighborhood you are serving. The neighborhood itself and the people living there will help create your solution to this question.


Many well-intentioned ministries go off the rails because they brought services or resources into a community based on their own ideas of what was needed. Including and listening to the neighborhood may actually shift what you intend to do. For instance, an underserved neighborhood that has a high percentage of substandard rental housing may benefit more from a healthy homeownership program than more rental housing.


#3 – What is the type of housing am I providing?


Conversations with neighbors will help you answer this question. It’s important to recognize the different work involved in preparing rental homes versus rehabbing single family homes for first-time home buyers.


Your team of experts can help you evaluate what the community needs in context of what you may be able to provide in that arena.


#4 –  How can I apply good business sense?


Housing is not an arena where you can “wing it.” You will need solid acquisition and construction budgets to ensure that you can actually complete the project you begin. The last thing any ministry wants to do is leave an abandoned, half-built house in the community.


You should also put together a lease now. It will help you to have clear guidelines going in when you are working with renters in the neighborhood.


#5 – Do I have what it takes?


Providing housing in an urban community is not for the faint of heart. The paperwork is substantial, and the people-work is just as important.


But it is a valuable gift and resource to the people in the neighborhood. Make sure you have the stamina and the support to go the distance!

South Atlanta Community Showed Full Support for Carver Neighborhood Market Grand Opening, May 16

FCS Ministries | 05.19.15 | 1 Comment »

Latest venture by Focused Community Strategies celebrated access to fresh, healthy and affordable food


ATLANTA – May 19, 2015 – Focused Community Strategies (FCS), the Atlanta-based nonprofit transforming underserved neighborhoods to flourishing communities, hosted a successful grand opening event for the Carver Neighborhood Market on Saturday, May 16, 2015. The Carver Neighborhood Market, empowered by FCS, welcomed more than 100 people who joined in the afternoon’s festivities.




The event marked the highest in-store traffic volume to date since the soft opening on April 22, 2015. Influencers with FCS, the Atlanta Community Food Bank, and the Atlanta Board of Education attended and shared remarks during the ribbon cutting ceremony. Long-standing community member Jacqueline Walker had the honor of joining the ceremony and cutting the ribbon.


“After more than a year of planning and preparation for the market’s grand opening, we received a tremendously positive response from the community – affirming that we are doing the right thing for the neighborhood,” said Jim Wehner, president of FCS. “We are shifting the conversation from ‘what isn’t’ to ‘what could be,’ and from what we’ve seen so far in South Atlanta, the possibilities are endless.”


After following the growing crisis around food deserts, FCS identified the opportunity to create the Carver Neighborhood Market and began planning in 2014. Through the grand opening of the market, FCS has fulfilled not only a need for the neighborhood, but also its mission at large – transforming Historic South Atlanta from a food desert to a food oasis.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines urban food deserts as low income communities where a third of the community lives more than a mile from a grocery store. In the Atlanta area, more than half a million people live in what the USDA would identify as food deserts, and in the South Atlanta community specifically, the closest national chain grocery to the Carver Neighborhood Market is approximately 3.5 miles away.


The Carver Neighborhood Market is part of the South Atlanta Marketplace and located at 1297 Jonesboro Road, Atlanta, GA 30315. For more information, visit www.carvermarket.com, or join the community on Facebook and Twitter.


Click here to see photos from the Grand Opening.



About Focused Community Strategies


Focused Community Strategies (FCS) partners with underserved neighborhoods to provide innovative and holistic development that promotes flourishing communities where God’s shalom is present. FCS is a team of visionaries and social entrepreneurs, transforming distressed urban neighborhoods through Christian community development. For more than 30 years, FCS has demonstrated that the most transformative urban ministry is community-based. With an emphasis on neighborhood leadership and a commitment to mixed-income housing development, the FCS strategy yields both social and spiritual vitality as well as economic viability. For more information, visit: www.fcsministries.org.


Media Contacts


Ashley Biondich

Office: 404-949-3777 x492

Cell: 404-444-7225



Elyse Hammett, APR

Office: 404-949-3772

Cell: 404-376-5563


< Previous 


Recent Blog

The Carver Neighborhood Market Grand Opening!

The Grand Opening of the Carver Neighborhood Market was a smashing success! Neighborhood residents, partners, and friends gathered together to celebrate the transformation of South Atlanta into a food oasis. Everyone had a great time… Continue reading


More Blogs | Subscribe