The Family Promise Good Neighbor Award highlights Family Promise Affiliate staff members who are doing exceptional work in their communities.
Debbie Badger was working from home well before COVID-19 became a household name. She was an IBM employee for 35 years, 20 of which were spent working from home. She retired in June 2020, right around the time she was picking up more volunteer work at her local church.
“It’s because of my church that I’m aware of Family Promise,” Badger said.
Her church has been a rotational shelter site for Family Promise of Montco (PA). Badger is a longtime volunteer at her church and remembers doing overnight volunteer shifts when her sons were little.
After Badger retired, she was trying to figure out what would come next in her life. It was at that exact moment she learned Family Promise was looking for a full-time office manager. Up until that point, she was helping to update the church’s website, among other technology-related activities.
“I wanted to do something that would make a difference and something that would make an impact in my community,” Badger said. “I was looking for a job that was for the greater good. And when this came around, I said, ‘This is it.’”
Badger’s commitment to Family Promise makes sense. Her family is passionate about the issue of housing affordability. Badger’s husband, a deacon and electrician, bought a number of rental properties a few decades ago during a lull in business. Instead of employing the status quo tactic of raising rent every year, the Badgers keep their tenants–not profit–top of mind.
“We’ve had some tenants whose rent hasn’t been raised in more than 10 years,” Badger said. “We know what they can afford and want to be compassionate.”
The sons Badger used to volunteer with are now adults and buying rental properties of their own. And she and her husband are helping to instill in them the same compassion for their tenants.
“Being a landlord doesn’t mean that you need to charge the highest amount of rent you can possibly get,” Badger tells her sons. “There’s a balance.”
Badger’s dedication to her local Family Promise Affiliate and the issue of housing affordability are the reasons she is this month’s Family Promise Good Neighbor Award recipient.
By Mitch Petit-Frere