Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis will use gift to address affordable housing shortage in Memphis and Shelby County
Memphis, Tenn. (March 22, 2022) — Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis, along with Habitat for Humanity International, and 83 U.S. Habitat affiliate organizations, recently received $436 million in unrestricted giving from American author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. Of that, Memphis Habitat received $7.5 million. This transformational donation will substantially help further Habitat’s vision of a world where everyone has equitable access to a safe, decent and affordable place to call home.
“We are so grateful for this amazing gift – the largest single gift we’ve ever received. It comes at a pivotal time, as the affordable housing crisis continues to grow nationwide and locally,” said Dwayne Spencer, president & CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis. “Until everyone in the greater Memphis area has a decent, affordable place to live, Memphis Habitat will be here. This gift will help fuel our work as we continue to serve the community.”
Over the next five to seven years, Memphis Habitat will use the $7.5 million donation to deepen its impact and serve more local homebuyers through its affordable mortgage and home construction program, as well as its Aging In Place modification and repair program for older homeowners. Memphis Habitat is currently developing a new, strategic plan and more details on the use of the gift will be shared in the coming months.
Decent, affordable housing is out of reach for too many families in the Memphis area. Average rent costs increased 19 percent in 2021, with half of Memphis renters spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing.* In addition, thousands of older homeowners need critical repairs and accessibility modifications to help them continue living in their homes safely.** This donation will infuse much-needed funds to help further Habitat’s work to address affordable housing needs in the greater Memphis area.
Habitat International will use its $25 million portion of the donation to prioritize advocacy and programmatic efforts designed to dismantle systemic racism in housing. Specifically, the donation will allow Habitat to advocate for policy proposals and legislation that enable millions of people access affordable housing through its Cost of Home advocacy campaign; increase Black homeownership in the U.S. by targeting current systemic barriers through a new initiative that will launch this summer; and leverage innovative capital investments that service communities of color.
“Habitat works to break down barriers and bring people together — to tear down obstacles and build a world where everyone, no matter who we are or where we come from, has a decent place to live,” said Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan Reckford. “This incredible gift helps make that work possible.”
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About Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis partners with people in our community to help them build or improve places they can call home through new home construction and affordable mortgages, rehabilitation projects, and Aging in Place accessibility and mobility modifications for homeowners age 60 and older. Since 1983, Memphis Habitat has helped more than 570 homebuyers secure affordable mortgages and completed rehabilitation and home modification projects in partnership with more than 1,000 local homeowners, helping them achieve the independence they need to build better lives for themselves and their families. For more information, visit memphishabitat.com.
About Habitat for Humanity International
Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity found its earliest inspirations as a grassroots movement on an interracial community farm in south Georgia. Since its founding in 1976, the Christian housing organization has grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitat.org.
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