HOUSTON – Nationwide, 84 Habitat for Humanity affiliates and Habitat for Humanity International will benefit from $436 million donation from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, and of that amount, Houston Habitat for Humanity received $11 million.
In a news release Tuesday, representation for the Houston branch said, “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.
“Houston Habitat is honored to receive this tremendous gift, which will increase our capacity to serve Houston and further our vision for Harris County. Ms. Scott’s donation highlights the need to devote substantial resources towards addressing the affordable housing crisis occurring in Houston and nationwide,” said Allison Hay, executive director for Houston Habitat for Humanity. “We are dedicated to using this gift to serve more Houstonians, build more homes, make more repairs, and, ultimately, create a marked change for affordable housing in our city.”
Houston Habitat for Humanity noted there is a critical and growing shortage of affordable housing in the greater Houston area. According to the 2021 State of Housing report by the Kinder Institute of Urban Research, Harris County’s supply of affordable housing units is shrinking, along with Houston’s share of homeowners. Rising median home prices have resulted in lower home ownership rates, especially for people of color who continue to face racial inequities in the housing system. Since 2010, homeownership rates have fallen for Black households in Harris County from 41% to 37% in 2018 and from 50% to 49% for Hispanic households.
Houston Habitat believes everyone deserves a decent and affordable place to call home. Since its founding in 1987, Houston Habitat has served over 7,000 Houstonians through new homeownership and home repair - repairing 800 homes and building 1,150 new homes to date. The organization’s programs help address the homeownership gap for people of color. More than 90% of Houston Habitat homeowners are African American and Hispanic, as are the neighborhoods in which the organization works.
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 organization said 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.”