Last June I began considering new living situations in NYC. I was feeling a little bit frustrated with the lack of intentional community at the Edgecombe House and I was hankering to move to the Heights, where I already spent a great deal of time volunteering and I knew Trinity Grace would plant a church in the not-too-distant future.

Nothing substantial came of my brief search, though, because I knew that little could tear me away from the Edgecombe House. Living there was amazing. I got along really well with my roommates; I loved the apartment, building, super, street, and neighborhood; I had a great view exiting the building and another from my desk in a corner of the dining room; there was plenty of common space to host small group meetings, regular movie screenings, freegan feasts, or even DIY shows; and the rent was reasonably low - I shared a two bedroom in Harlem with four other men, so my rent and utilities combined never exceeded $400 (for any non-NYC-dwellers who may not know this, rent that low is virtually unheard of here!)

A month or two later I was approached by one of my roommates who suggested that it would behoove us not to live together anymore. This was a hard word to take, but - after a week or two - we agreed that this would be the best for all of us.

So I returned to the search for people who would be willing to share intentional community with me in the Heights by December. Nobody turned up.

Then one day at Word Up a fellow volunteer generously offered for me to stay with him at his apartment indefinitely, in exchange for housekeeping chores and other labor. I needed some time to think about this - I would essentially be living rent-free in Manhattan, which was a pretty big deal, but I would also have to postpone community living. Regardless, I had no other options available to meet my immediate need - to get out of the Edgecombe House - so I decided to move the bulk of my possessions to his apartment at least through the end of 2011.

I've now been living with Bob for a whole month. I work fourteen hours a week in exchange for a tiny space to house my minimal possessions, freegan food, and sleeping body. This is our barter arrangement and yet another example of God's miraculous provision for me in the city, provision for which I am unspeakably thankful. Moreover, it has been and will be another opportunity for me to learn what it means to live in community as I continue to prepare and look forward to the future Heights Community House.
 


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