ATLANTA (Dec. 11, 2012) — Habitat for Humanity has received its largest one-time commitment of property donations from Bank of America, which will donate up to 2,000 vacant properties for renovation or reconstruction over the next three years. The donations will substantially support Habitat’s efforts to create affordable housing in partnership with low-income families in need of decent, affordable homes.
“The donation of these properties by Bank of America is a tremendous boost to our efforts to revitalize distressed communities all across the country,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International.
“These donations can make a dramatic difference for so many Habitat affiliates, increasing their suitable property inventory. Habitat can repair and rehabilitate vacant houses where appropriate and build new houses where necessary, partnering with low-income families in need of affordable housing. Neighborhoods will be healthier, families will be able to build on a strong foundation of stable homes and entire communities will benefit from inviting and thriving places to live,” said Reckford.
“Habitat and Bank of America share a mission of providing families in need of affordable shelter with the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of homeownership,” said D. Steve Boland, national mortgage outreach executive for Bank of America. “This initiative makes affordable homes available in partnership with the families at the same time that it combats neighborhood blight that may occur around vacant properties and helps to stabilize and revitalize communities.
“Through our foundation, Bank of America has been a financial supporter of Habitat’s mission for 25 years, and this effort builds on that legacy and takes our partnership to another level,” Boland added.
In addition to the property donation program through Bank of America Home Loans, this year the Bank of America Charitable Foundation made grants totaling $22 million to nonprofits that support housing needs nationwide, including $3 million to Habitat for Humanity International and its affiliates. Since 2002, the foundation has contributed more than $22 million to Habitat’s work around the world, and bank employees annually contribute more than 30,000 volunteer hours to help rehabilitate and build homes.
Under the new strategic alliance, Habitat will turn up to 2,000 Bank of America donations of low-value and of-value distressed properties – vacant single-family residences or lots – into affordable housing. If existing structures need to be cleared from low-value properties to make way for construction of new houses, Bank of America also will contribute to the costs of demolition.
In North Fort Myers, Fla., Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties recently approved a budget that would allow the affiliate to partner with 38 low-income families in the current fiscal year. However, through the property donation program, the affiliate has accepted eight properties in the communities of Cape Coral, Lehigh and Bonita Springs, increasing its capacity to serve families by more than 20 percent in the 2013 fiscal year.
“This program is a tremendous boost for us,” said Kitty Green, president and CEO, Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties, Inc. “Bank of America’s partnership with Habitat is allowing us to serve more of the many low-income families in need of affordable housing in our market. The donated properties are great houses we can rehab in partnership with Habitat families and that those families will be thrilled to own.”
The effects can be even greater on affiliates such as Habitat for Humanity – DeKalb County, Ga. The affiliate expected to serve three family partners this year, but with four property donations accepted and more donations possible, the affiliate may partner with up to 10 low-income families in its service area.
“We are very excited to be a part of this program with Bank of America,” said Eric Larson, board president for Habitat for Humanity – DeKalb. “Our affiliate will celebrate its 25-year anniversary this year, and we believe this program will allow us to serve more than twice as many low-income families in DeKalb County as previously anticipated, as well as support our efforts to revitalize neighborhoods.”
A portion of the properties donated by Bank of America will be included in the bank’s recent commitment to make up to 1,000 properties available to nonprofit organizations providing housing opportunities for military veterans, and others will be targeted to provide relief for families affected by disasters.
Habitat selects homebuyers based on the need for affordable housing, a willingness to partner with Habitat by investing “sweat-equity” labor in the construction or renovation of their houses and the ability to repay no-profit mortgages.