Inflation, rent prices and the overall cost of living are all problems that many Central Floridians are working to overcome right now.

What You Need To Know

  • Pastor Joe Jones Jr. is working to help people in his community navigate their financial life

  • His church offers credit assistance and help with real estate issues

  • He views this effort as another way to "raise up" his community spiritually

Searching for a solution to ease the financial stress has become a top priority for local leaders.

“This is just the time now for me to step up and do my part in giving back,” explained the House of Mercy & Empowerment Worship Center Pastor Joe Jones Jr.

Jones Jr. says he’s always felt a calling to give back and help those around him.

As a local pastor in Longwood, he’s held days of empowerment in his community and offers workshops to help individuals prepare for homeownership.

“We brought in people who do credit repair and real estate,” he shared. 

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Florida is the 12th most expensive state for housing costs. The annual income needed to afford a modest two-bedroom living is roughly $54,870.

Those numbers alone are one reason Pastor Jones wanted people to use his church as a safe space to educate.

“There’s a lot of times we try to lift them up spiritually, but we don’t understand what’s going on in their natural life,” said Jones while discussing the motive behind the Saturday workshop. “The idea is to bring them in and lift them spiritually, but also with those other areas of life through benefits of schooling and employment. Just providing opportunities that would not be provided in other areas.”

With inflation forcing record prices across the board, economic experts believe the trends tell where the country stands financially.

“I think this is a pretty clear sign that we’ve entered what we’ve predicted to be the possible recession,” said Dr. Sean Snaith, the UCF Institute for Economic Forecasting Director.

Although a recession seems possible, Snaith says it could be necessary to bring prices back down to pre-pandemic normals.

“This is not a repeat of the 2008 recession. It’s not a repeat of the 2020 recession. This is going to be a much milder recession,” Snaith continued.

Jones says he’s thankful he can host workshops like the one on Saturday.

A portion of his efforts is to connect community members with employers who can provide job opportunities and stable incomes while the economy goes through its changes.

“I think the church should be a liaison for a better life,” said Jones.