Beyond Sunday

All In Spotlight: Brandt House

September 04, 2023 King of Kings Church
All In Spotlight: Brandt House
Beyond Sunday
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Beyond Sunday
All In Spotlight: Brandt House
Sep 04, 2023
King of Kings Church

Brandt House is changing lives by not only helping people achieve home ownership, but also by mentoring them through the process. Tia Berend and Bob Brandt, the father/daughter duo behind this amazing ministry, outline the organization's mission and background and explain how King of Kings' All In donation in 2022 has been a game changer.

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Thanks for listening!

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Brandt House is changing lives by not only helping people achieve home ownership, but also by mentoring them through the process. Tia Berend and Bob Brandt, the father/daughter duo behind this amazing ministry, outline the organization's mission and background and explain how King of Kings' All In donation in 2022 has been a game changer.

Stay up to date by following us on your favorite social networks.

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube

Have questions or comments? Email us at contact@kingofkings.org.

Thanks for listening!

Dan:

Hey there, king of Kings family. This is Dan Hoppin, the director of small groups here at King of Kings, and I am so excited to introduce a new mini podcast series that we are launching today. It is called All In Spotlights. So each fall, king of Kings undergoes a three week campaign that prioritizes loving, serving and giving, and during that time we raise a special offering and donate every dollar to local charities, schools and organizations that align with our values.

Dan:

And as we get ready to experience our third year of All In here in 2023, we wanted to go back to 2022 and kind of revisit some of the recipients of that campaign and just kind of hear the stories and see the impact that this All In campaign and the generosity of our congregation has had. And today's spotlight is on Brandt House. I'm so, so excited to talk to these people because their organization is helping to break the cycle of generational poverty by helping families not only afford housing, but you guys also offer mentoring and you empower them to move them from striving to thriving. So here to talk more about that today is a two board members and a powerhouse father daughter duo. We have President Tia Barron and her father, bob Brandt Guys, thank you so much for taking the time to join the podcast today.

Bob:

Thank you, nice to be here.

Dan:

So just Brandt House was a recipient of $50,000 from All In last year and I can't wait to talk about what you guys are able to do with that. But first I think we just need to start with a baseline understanding. If somebody's hearing about Brandt House for the first time, how would you explain it to them?

Bob:

You want to do that I can it was kind of Tia's brand child. Okay, tia go.

Tia:

Well, if I could go back and just start with the kind of family I grew up in, I think that's really the core of where we came from. My parents had three biological children by birth me and my sister and brother and then they adopted nine other children throughout the years. So there are 12 of us in our family. But in addition to the us 12, there's been over 30 other kids that lived with us over the years for different reasons, at different ages, different backgrounds, and so although we were never foster parents right.

Bob:

I mean quote foster parents.

Tia:

Right, similar situations to foster care, but not through the foster care system. So, as you can imagine the kind of the kind of relationship it takes to bring a kid into your home, whether they're a teenager or whatever age, and just develop a real relationship with trust. That's the kind of thing that my parents were so good at and I think now what we're doing is just an extension of that. Brant House is like taking that same idea for young adults, single parents with families and kids who are low income, struggling to get to the thriving mode that you were just talking about.

Dan:

So, bob I mean Tia just kind of laid it out just the familial atmosphere that existed growing up. Clearly, I mean, family is so important. It's an essential part of not only your life but who you are. What is it about? Creating strong families? That is just a driving passion for you.

Bob:

Well, I was in school work for a lot of years when I first graduated college and got my master's degree and I, you know, it was always a situation where I'd see young people and realize that some of them didn't have the advantages that we had. The kids that we adopted were all quote special need kids. They were kids that they had a hard time placing. Agencies would have a hard time finding a home for them. So we always, when we first got our home study done, we said we don't want to adopt any children that someone else wants that you could find another home for. We want to be kind of the last resort, those that are falling through the cracks. So, as a result, we ended up with, you know, a girl with cancer from an orphanage in Korea, a 12-year-old, and her sister came a little later, a few months later, because her paperwork wasn't quite there, and we got a little guy who'd been in six different foster homes and we got him as.

Bob:

I think a fifth grader. We got a cocaine baby from New Jersey that had tested positive, a little young man. They were all from all different races. In our family now we have the three Caucasian kids and we have four Koreans and five black kids and it's been very good for us, you know, to learn about that, the different kids. We had another young man who was one when he came and his mom was having trouble in a and had been in and out of a psychiatric hospital and we offered to take him for just a while to help her and he came to us for a few months and then she was ready to try it again. So he went back to her and it only lasted a little while and she said can I just, can you just adopt him and have me part of his life yet? And so that's what we did and we really were part of her life right on through her and grandma. And so it just became an extension and he's been just a.

Bob:

I just talked to him yesterday or the day before and he was talking about some things and it was just really enjoyable to hear him say the last family that we moved in has a lot of work ahead of him. I mean, to function in a home setting is really going to be a lot of work for us and them. And he said you know, dad, that's what you guys do. So I thought, well, that's pretty good, he's now. He was one that we didn't know if he was quote special need. He's now an orthopedic surgeon at Johns Hopkins and has gone through and he's done very well and he's he's, you know, success. Success, as all of the kids have really done well and become success. You know there's one kid, mel One kill, that I just like to talk about the most and then I'll be quiet about that family.

Dan:

No, tell me about Mel, let's go.

Bob:

Mel was a 15 year old, 16 year old, she was a junior in high school and she had been adopted as an infant and then went back into foster care as a seventh grader or seven year old, and in foster care, and then adopted again as a nine year old. And then things went south for her and, without getting into specifics, she ended up as a 15 year old at Richard Young, which used to be the hospital here in downtown psychiatric hospital and a case worker called Nastaf we could visit with her. And I went there and visited with her and she wouldn't even talk to me, she just ignored me and she didn't know me from anybody, and so I just said that's okay, I'll come back again sometime. And I left and then we had a wedding that we were gonna be going to and she was right about these kids age to his age and I went back towards it. I got a deal for ya If you like, we can get a weekend pass for it and you can go with our daughters that are your age to a wedding and just to get out of here.

Bob:

Well, that was enough to kinda open the door a little, and she did it and we got the pass and she came with us and it ended up. Then we just continued to move forward and she ended up moving out with us and moved in and we kept her and she was not available for adoption. She hadn't been, you know, had that placement made by her parents. They just didn't feel like they could handle her at the time and so, as she went on, and she graduated from high school and went on to college, after kinda changing the bar at the house, you know, as far as what we tolerated, she brought a new dimension to the house. Am I saying that delicately enough?

Dan:

Yes, I think so.

Bob:

I think the kids appreciated it because it kinda opened the door a little for them.

Bob:

It was entertaining as much as we didn't appreciate it as much as my wife and I, but she was still a lot of fun. But she came on from college and her this is real quick here. She says it was the summer and she says I need to have you go with me to the courthouse. And I said what did you do now? And she says no, I just come with me. So we went there and she was too old to be adopted and not free for adoption. So when she came, illegally adult, she formally changed her name and adopted us. Oh, that's amazing. That's pretty cool. Yes, I mean.

Dan:

All of that is incredible and very inspiring. Thank you for sharing, tia. I can only imagine what growing up in that home must have been like, and I mean just seeing the love that your parents showed, you know, not only to their biological children, but basically to anyone that they came in contact with. You know we mentioned that Brandt House was your brainchild. What was it about growing up in that environment and having those parents that made you say you know, maybe we have an opportunity to do something special, maybe bring this environment to other families as well.

Tia:

Well, a couple of years ago, or for the last 10 years or so, my parents have been living in Florida and my dad was working with the church there in Florida through the St Vincent de Paul organization, and so he was really trying to help families down there and he was working with just one after another and I would hear the stories, and then he was trying to find a place for one particular family to live and they were just stuck because of past evictions and past record and things like that, where once you're stuck in this cycle, it's really hard to get out of. There's a lot of roadblocks, even if now you're trying to do the right thing. And so he just wanted to help this one particular family. And so that's kind of where it started. I said you know just the idea of if we start a nonprofit organization and then you know just a real 501C3 and then be able to purchase a house that then she could live in and pay rent and eventually pay rent through a rent-to-own program and then earn equity along the way that then she could use to become a homeowner, either that house or a different house.

Tia:

But the equity itself is what becomes life-changing, along with the relationship, which is just as important as the financial help itself, because I like to say, imagine not having a trusted adult in your corner Like I have. That as an adult, I can still call my dad and talk, or we all have that person we call and talk to. Some of these families have never had that, and so it's like we're adopting another kid. So I still think of even that first person that we moved here as my sister almost, and that this is her dad and he's their trusted adult and she can talk to him about financial things and about rent, but she can also talk to him about parenting her own kids and she does, I mean work and where to work and what's the right idea to do with this or that. So it's just. It was just creating the method for us to be able to spread that further is what the whole idea was.

Dan:

And that's what I think makes Brent House really special, from what I understand, is that it's not just I mean it would be powerful enough to take people who can't afford their own home and to give them housing and kind of help them build that equity, like you said like that would be extremely powerful but to also give them that mentoring and kind of help them along and not just drop them in a home but to say this is how you keep a home up, this is how you raise a family, like I imagine that's the really impactful part for you guys, right.

Bob:

That's. You know. You can put them in a house, have a roof over their head, and that's really good. I mean that really helps. But that doesn't change their behavior. That doesn't change why they were in that situation. So there has to be some things that happen that give them hope, you know, to continue and to fight through it, because it's hard. I mean they've been, you know there's just so many times. You know that this particular family she was talking about, I was trying to get them somewhere in Florida because they had never been out.

Bob:

They just lived in Florida their whole life, south Florida, and, and, and I tried to try to get anything. I tried to talk to landlords, I tried anything to get them. They were living in a, in a vehicle, mom and four kids, and and I, and finally I says you know what? I can't afford anything down here. You need a landlord like me that doesn't look at your background. I don't mean to pat myself there, it's just that was the truth. And so I said, if you're willing to relocate, I Think I can do something.

Bob:

And and she didn't think that was a great idea at the time and it waited a little while and a Couple weeks later she came back, she's, I think I'm ready. I said okay. So I called Tia up here and said let's look for a house. And you know we don't have a lot of money, we didn't have the charity at the time even and and so we, we looked for a house and I was able to purchase that house and and that's after that that she did that was like in April of last year and and then After that she started working on the charity and build it, you know, to try to get the 501 C3 and but that family moved up here. They, you know they it was the first time they'd had, you know, a room, a bed where they really had a chance to Enjoy what it's like, and and yet you know, they just did so many things that were it. From my perspective, they were kind of crazy that we had to say let's, let's slow down here a little bit and and think what you're doing and and go. So you know that's that's just kind of the, the impetus for it and the idea of her Developing this charity wasn't a name at Brandt house, by the way.

Bob:

We came up with a number of different things Before that, but finally a couple of them we sent in and they said no, that's already taken. And and finally says, you know, growing up I just remember the other kids, like this young Alex, the came from New Jersey that people would say what's your name or not, not what's your name, but they would ask him questions and finally say, no, it was because of the minority status in small town Wahoo, what, you must be part of the brand house, because there wasn't very many Minorities in Wahoo and that's where we, that's where we lived for all those years, and so that became pretty noticeable, that it was the brand house. You know any kid that wasn't White, if you will, it was. You must be part of the brand house. So then then they start talking about that. They said, well, why don't we make it the brand house?

Tia:

So we had a reputation.

Bob:

Very earned. No well, I'm not sure if it was always good. It was a little like what's going on.

Tia:

Why are there so many? And? And who's that? There's another one. Who's this one? There's another one. I wondered the same thing half the time. Well, I'm not sure.

Bob:

It's probably you came home from school.

Tia:

I came home from college one time and I pulled into the driveway and this little boy comes out of the house that I've never seen before Little black boy, about five, I think and he said, are you my sister? And I said probably. And Then I went inside the house and there was a younger girl. His younger sister was like standing in the kitchen Hugging my mom's leg. And I look and I go there's two of them. You guys didn't even call me. I was, you know, because it started out. It was sort of a family meeting in my younger years to discuss who might be coming. By the time I was in college they just waited till I showed up to tell me.

Dan:

So it's very clear that brand house is a special Organization, both from the background and kind of the origin story of how it came to be, to the impact that you're making today, and that's exactly why we wanted to help you guys out with our all-in campaign. But how did we, or how did you guys come on our radar? Like, how did the relationship between King and Kings and Brandt how us even begin?

Tia:

so Last summer I was helping that first family that came here. We were watching their kids one day and we decided to. We had signed up to volunteer at a second Saturday at a bide, and so I, and then I had all those kids that I was in charge of that day, so I just brought them with me. So some of those kids and my own children and one of my daughter's boyfriends, we all just showed up at a bide to volunteer and the person that was in charge of our group that day Was Lara from from here, from King of Kings, lara Ray, and so she was sort of we were in trash duty, right Walking the neighborhood with garbage bags, picking up trash, and the kids did a great job. Um, but Lara is following our family, our whole group, going. How does all this work?

Dan:

Like who are all these?

Tia:

people. So she was walking near my daughter, I think and started asking questions like are you related to them? Who's, who's this, who's that? So she kind of got the gist of our story. And then we went and sat down and she sat by me and and we started talking about who we are and what's going on, and and so that's how it started.

Dan:

Isn't unbelievable how God can just take such a random encounter like that and Bring not just two people, not just two families, but two organizations together to partner on something that just Hopefully makes his kingdom even fuller. Uh, just looking at um the funds that you guys got from all in last year, how have you seen God move through that donation?

Bob:

Well, that was really a shock to us. Honestly. We really didn't anticipate that. We had had one lady that I knew quite well in Florida that had kind of give us the initial gift to get us going and to do a few things. And then we were just trying to figure out where we were going to do and how we were going to help and we figured honestly that if we find some worthy thing it'll work. Funds will come. And then when Laura came and presented this check, it just floored us both because it was such a generous check and with that we've been able to do a lot of good things, some little things and some not little things.

Bob:

Ideally, what we want to try to do is help people that are getting close to be able to. They have a dream of trying to buy a house but they just don't have quite enough downpayment. But they're working and they're low income and they're trying hard and they're trying to do some things and we can maybe interview and talk to the mortgage company and see what's going on, really find out what they need and assist them a little bit with some downpayment so that it makes it happen and that they can go for it. What we found is that most mortgage companies really want to know about that money. If you put money, if you are sending money to a closing, they want to be assured what's going on here. In other words, is this money that they're going to have to pay back, that goes into the equation of what their monthly payments are going to be? Is this money that's a grant, a gift from your organization? Well, we really have to do some work with the mortgage companies too to assist them, and so that's been great. We were able to provide some Christmas things for some families. Occasionally, somebody gets in a real jam and we help them with a utility bill or something just to kind of keep the ball rolling.

Bob:

Something happens, maybe One that hit just after. This was last September, I believe that we received your gift, and not too long after that we had a family that was led to us by a realtor who was trying to help this family find a place, and they had been renting for 12 years and had been saving and saving and even through after they had rent and $1,200 a month, they were able to save $50,000, which is just remarkable. But they couldn't get a loan. The interest rates were going and they couldn't get a loan and they were looking at buying a very simple fixer upper, I mean a real low-cost house. And it ended up we were able to. We had gotten the funds from you guys, we had gotten a handful of funds from other people that have supported us.

Bob:

We were able to, and they were a very proud couple. They didn't want a gift, they just wouldn't accept a gift. So we set it up. We gave them a $50,000, no interest loan. We set it up through an attorney. It's a promissory note with a lien on their property, so everything is legal for them. So they felt like, okay, but and their payments back to us are $1,000 a month, so less than they were renting, and they'll own their house outright in less than four years now. So that's pretty remarkable.

Dan:

That's amazing, isn't that a cool?

Bob:

story and they have fixed that house up through their own work and their friends to where this house that was worth less than $100,000, they've got it in the kitchen and the bathroom and put new floor in it. They put all these new things in, took a wall out. They did all this, the house. Now I had a realtor go look at it the other day and he says it's worth well over $200,000. Oh my gosh. So their equity is already tremendous. Plus, it'll be totally paid off here in just a few years.

Bob:

And just this last week they text and said okay, we just finished another project. We want you and your wife to come over and see for dinner and see what we've done. And so you know, that's just really a cool. I mean, I don't want you to imply that we spent, put that $50,000 directly there because we used it in so many ways, but that is kind of a direct deal. And we looked at each other and said isn't that something that seriously that that happened? Now we've done seven families since we started. Seven families from. One was just. They were a refugee family from Guatemala that went into Lexington, nebraska, that we were able to furnish their place. We didn't no money involved. We furnished and offered support and we still mentor them.

Bob:

They contact us and we have a one of our sons is engaged to a girl that speaks Spanish and she becomes the interpreter. And we get a three-way call and we visit with them and we talk about different things and we're and we're getting there. So that's good. We've gone to visit them in Lexington and their place has gone on and we've had other people join us Ashley Homestore in Carney. We visited with them and they said, well, there's a lot of people out here that need help. And I said I'm only, I'm only interested in this one family right now, so I don't want to hear about everybody. Can you help me with this family? They ended up providing beds for the whole crew, a living room, set, a kitchen table and some dishes free and delivered it to them. That's pretty cool when you can get other people involved with this. Right here in Omaha this recent family that we just moved in last week, we were able to partner with a new organization that I didn't know because I've been in Florida the furniture project.

Bob:

You know that started by a fireman, drew Gherkin, and they and it it's again they donated six beds and and some dressers, and and and it's it's just partnering up with the right people and and, as you say, God works in such strange ways that it's not, it's not coincidence that these things happen, you know it's. It's clearly our. Our motive is pure we're we're really trying to do the right thing and trying to help, and we have no paid employees. We're all volunteers and and we want to keep it that way as long as we can. That's beginning to be a little more overwhelming, so I'm not sure if we'll be able to, but that's our intent. I'm old enough that I think I can ride it out until then, but that's, it's just been really good. We've helped a lot of other families besides the seven, but we've had seven of them that have actually gotten into homes, and we've been able to help from $800 to $15,000 for down payment assistance.

Dan:

I want to go back real quick to that family that you were talking about. That just needed help buying the fixer upper and now has just completely changed it. They invite you over for dinner. Now I know that I guess I don't know this, but from meeting you today you seem like a pretty humble guy. You are not in this for accolades or anything like that. So I'm not saying that this was anything where it was like wow, look what I did. But when you go over and you have dinner at their house and you're talking with this couple that is in a completely different place now than they were before. They had any interaction with Brent House like just what is that like for you and your wife?

Bob:

Well, you're just proud of them. Yeah, it's just that simple. I remember when she sent me the first check and I called her immediately and I said this is so cool. The return address is your home. Oh, that's pretty cool. Think of that. You just sent your first payment. But the most important thing is the return address, your address, then your own home. You own it and they've just been so good. They share things with us all. The time Her father passed away, she called and talked to me about it. They put a little deal out in their backyard, made a little flower garden in his memory.

Bob:

It truly is adopting another family. We went from adopting kids to adopting families, and so, and just as you have kids and kids battle it. It wasn't always gravy, I mean, we had a lot of baggage came with those kids and a lot of baggage comes with these families, and so, and the reality is, that's why a lot of people don't want to get involved that deeply, because you know, finding, when you become a family, become an empty nester, you think, holy thanks, you know, finally, but for us it was kind of boring, and so for my wife and I, and so for us to get re-involved here and the stress that's involved with it, which is there it just that's what makes it worthwhile. I mean, it's really pretty simple.

Tia:

I think a good example of the baggage that comes with it but the worthiness of it is just recently you speaking to a young man who's a young father and you were very blunt with him about expectations and what's needed and some of the things that have happened in his past there was drug addiction and things like that so being blunt about those things and what we're going to expect going forward. And he told my dad no one's ever talked to me like this before. So imagine not even having somebody trying to keep you on the straight and arrow, or imagine growing up without having kind of a healthy home to see as your example, to know what you're striving for. And so just having those kind of blunt conversations with these parents is giving them something to aim for and I think that's really important, especially if they've never had that before.

Dan:

Mm-hmm. Now, one of the many things that I find amazing about Brandt House is all this impact that we've talked about today. I mean, this is still a very young organization. It's only been around for a couple of years. I mean, when you guys look back at all the impact that's been made already, can you even believe how far you've come in such a short amount of time?

Tia:

I didn't know, what to say about that.

Bob:

We discussed it at one of our board meetings about how many can we do in a year, Because it's been. It was actually. We got our 501C3 last June, so Just over a year.

Tia:

Yeah, just over a year.

Bob:

And so we realistically said if we can do two or three a year, with the investment that it takes from time and in the mentoring part afterwards, that would be pretty good. So the fact that we've done seven but seven is kind of some of them don't have nearly as much, take nearly as much effort. They're on their way, they're more mature, they have some things going.

Dan:

Last thing that I want to talk to you guys about if someone wants to donate or get involved with the Brent House, how can they do so? How can I get in touch with you guys?

Tia:

Well, we have a website and that is branthouseorg, and on that website there's a little. There's a donate spot if you want to donate, but there's also a form to fill out if you'd like to just get involved In that form. We then can receive your email address and then we send out notifications when there's some time where it's time to help another family, or now we're trying to furnish a house because somebody's going to move in, or whatever the case may be. So we send out kind of emails periodically to let people know what we're doing and what we need.

Dan:

Well, guys, I am just so grateful to God that he brought somehow he brought you and Laura together on that day at a Bide and somehow a morning of just going around picking up trash has transformed into this.

Dan:

I mean this partnership that is helping to change lives, and you guys are feeling that. I'm just. I'm amazed, I'm inspired by you two and I just hope that God continues to bless your organization. Thank you so much, tia and Bob, for coming in today and taking some time to share your story. I'm so, so appreciative of just your time and your energy today.

Bob:

Well, thank you and your congregation for the gift. You know, last year it was just so, and not only that, but I know that when a gift came out, we got received a lot of prayers along, I'm sure, from your people hoping and praying that we were gonna be good stewards of that.

Dan:

And we hope that we have been and we hope that we'll be able to portray that, that we have been good stewards and we've got work to do and it's oh, there's no question that you've been good stewards so far, based off the stories that you told today, and I cannot wait to see the impact that you continue to have, and I'll say thank you to King and Kings our family as well. None of this is possible without you, guys. Your generosity makes it happen. So thank you and, yeah, just wait til the next, all in spotlight, we get a chance to explore even more stories of the impact that your generosity's happened. Thank you, odo.

All in Spotlights
Creating a Home for Families
King of Kings and Brandt House Partnership
Assisting Low-Income Families in Homeownership
Donate, Get Involved With Brent House

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