Tuesday, December 10, 2013

United Housing Awarded $10,000 from the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis

United Housing, Inc. has received a $10,000 grant from the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis (WFGM) as part of the organization’s 15th Annual Grants Showcase and Volunteer Recognition event. The grant will be used to help cover the cost of United Housing’s Homebuyer Education and Counseling program, which is based on nationally approved curriculum and tailored to address the unique circumstances of the Mid-South market.

“This is the first time we’ve received funding from the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis and I believe it’s the start of a strong partnership between both organizations,” said Tim Bolding, Executive Director of United Housing. “The initial investment that the Foundation has made in our effort to assist homebuyers in the region will help us meet our goal to counsel more than 600 individuals and families, as well as help more than 200 individuals purchase homes this year.”

The purpose of United Housing’s Homebuyer Education and Financial Program is to encourage self-empowerment and self-sufficiency, provide the tools for families to become financially stable and in doing so, strengthening families and neighbors for a greater Memphis. Clients who take part in the Homebuyer Education program must complete the course and one-on-one counseling before earning their Homeownership Diploma. This designation provides participants access to lower mortgage interest rates and down-payment assistance.

United Housing’s programs also help preserve and support the economic and cultural diversity of the community – 61% of clients are women, 58% are African-American, 15% are Latino, and 32% are female-headed, single parent households.

“The Women’s Foundation is proud to have United Housing as a new grantee partner focused on providing quality housing for low income women,” said Shante K. Avant, Deputy Director of the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis. “Stable housing is a key component in helping a woman and her family become economically self-sufficient and we support the work of United Housing and the impact their organization has made in changing the lives of families in our community.”

About The Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis
Founded in 1995, the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to encourage philanthropy, foster leadership among women and support programs that enable women and children to reach their full potential. The organization has invested a total of $14.9 million into the Memphis community and serves 17,000 people annually. For more, please visit www.wfgm.org.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

United Housing Celebrates Completion of First Market Rate Homes in Wolf River Bluffs

Nonprofit hosts special guests including Mayor Luttrell to commemorate day

United Housing Inc. officially unveiled the first four homes for purchase in the organization’s Wolf River Bluffs development during a  ceremony on November 14. Located in Frayser, the first phase of the Wolf River Bluffs development will include 34 single-family homes that feature eco-friendly amenities and a universal design to ensure functionality, mobility and accessibility for all people.

“What an exciting day for our team, board members and city officials to celebrate the tremendous progress we’ve made on this project,” said Tim Bolding, Executive Director of United Housing, Inc. “We’re thrilled to have completed our first four market rate homes and are proud that they will offer significant energy savings to residents. With easy access to Midtown and Downtown Memphis and plenty of parks and trails nearby, it’s clear that our Wolf River Bluffs neighborhood is a true gem in Memphis.”

During the special unveiling event, Bolding welcomed attendees and introduced Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, who spoke about the significant advantages of the eco-friendly neighborhood and what it meant for Memphis and Shelby County. Afterward, several individuals involved with the neighborhood joined Bolding and Mayor Luttrell to cut a ribbon to signify the official completion of the four homes.

Afterward, guests were able to tour the homes, which each offer three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a great room and eat-in kitchen housed within 1,500 square feet. The homes are also Memphis Light Gas and Water (MLGW) EcoBUILD certified and feature solar panels by Sharp Manufacturers, high-efficiency windows and Energy Star appliances.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

United Housing to Host Wolf River Bluffs Development Open House

United Housing invites you to join us for a special open house in our Wolf River Bluffs development this Thursday (11/14) at 2 p.m. in Frayser. The event will take place at 2082 Adderley Lane, which is located near the intersection of James Rd. and McLean Blvd.

This special event will unveil the marketable homes we’re building and celebrate the progress we’ve made in the Frayser neighborhood. The ceremony will begin with opening remarks from Tim Bolding and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell. Afterward, guests will be able to tour the first completed marketable home, which features many energy-efficient components.

When completed, the Wolf River Bluffs development will consist of 34 single-family marketable homes that are Memphis Light, Gas and Water EcoBUILD certified and feature an eco-friendly design with solar generated electricity.

For more information or to RSVP to this special event, please contact Amy Schaftlein at (901) 728-6937.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

United Housing Transfers Wolf River Bluffs Home to Meritan

United Housing Inc. officially transferred a home in its Wolf River Bluffs development to longtime partner Meritan during a recent ceremony. Located in Memphis, Meritan is a private, not-for-profit agency that provides home health, personal care, and intellectual and developmental disability services. 

“This is the first home completed for Meritan by United Housing,” said Tim Bolding, Executive Director of United Housing, Inc. “It’s rewarding for our team to partner with such a tremendous organization and we’re excited to start building more homes for the individuals served by Meritan.”

During the special event, Deborah Cotney cut the ribbon to signify the completion of the home, which is named Deborah Cotney Cottage. Cotney is the former Executive Director of Meritan and the home was named to honor her thirty years of service to the agency. Afterward, guests were able to tour the home’s interior, which was built to accommodate three individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

United Housing has worked with Meritan for several years on the common goal to increase livability among the most vulnerable populations in Memphis. Both organizations are United Way of the Mid-South agencies and members of the Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence and the Nonprofit Leadership Collaborative.

“Meritan is proud of our partnership with United Housing,” said Melanie Keller Meritan’s Executive Director. “Our combined efforts are resulting in community housing and support for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities. We feel our relationship exemplifies how two nonprofits with seemingly different missions can join together to serve our community. We look forward to continuing to work with United Housing on future projects.”

After the event, Bolding announced that United Housing was awarded a three million dollar grant from The Tennessee Department of Economic Development’s 2008 Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Funds. The money will be used to build 16 homes for individuals served by Meritan and SRVS, which provides services to people with disabilities.

About Meritan
Established in 1961, Meritan is a private, not-for-profit agency accredited by the Council on Accreditation and holds licenses in Tennessee to provide home health, personal care, and intellectual and developmental disability services.  The agency also provides senior employment services in Tennessee and holds child placement licenses in Mississippi, Arkansas, and Georgia. For more information, please visit www.meritan.org.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

United Housing and Binghampton Development Corporation Recognized with THDA Founders Award

United Housing, Inc. was recently recognized by the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) during a recent industry peer session. Tim Bolding, Executive Director of United Housing and Sharon Walker, United Housing’s Homebuyer Education Manager, joined Ruth Gibson of the Binghampton Development Corporation to accept THDA’s Founders Award. The award recognized the two organizations for their efforts in creating the foundation for homebuyer education in Tennessee.

“Tim, Sharon and Ruth were all instrumental in providing insight, opinion and participation in THDA’s early efforts to establish the homebuyer education counseling program,” said Lindsay Hall, Senior Director of Single Family Programs at Tennessee Housing Development Agency.

New research on the effectiveness of pre-purchase housing counseling and education shows that homebuyers who received such advice were one-third less likely to fall behind on their mortgages 90 days or more, two years after taking out the loan, compared to homebuyers who didn’t receive similar counseling and education. The research was done for NeighborWorks America, a national nonprofit affiliated with United Housing, by Neil Mayer and Associates and Experian, and is based on approximately 75,000 mortgage loans originated in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

“The latest research clearly tells us that we need to help families with their housing issues ahead of time, staving off family stress, financial difficulties and costs that are borne by neighbors and the city,” said Bolding. “The proven effectiveness of homebuyer education, as well as the recent recognition from THDA, is encouraging to our team, who has worked diligently to ensure our counseling program is meeting the needs of our customers. Our experience in education and counseling is complemented by our partner in this award, who is using a holistic approach to communicate to and serve the residents of Binghampton.”

During the last fiscal year, United Housing counseled more than 1,000 individuals and families through its Homebuyer Education and Foreclosure Prevention programs. The organization also assisted 541 families during the year, helping 284 purchase a home while helping save 257 from foreclosure. Last year, Binghampton Development Corporation assisted 291 clients, including 76 homebuyer clients and 131 foreclosure interventions.

“We’re very proud to share this recognition with United Housing, who like Binghampton, is doing significant work to help struggling families in our community,” said Robert Montague, Executive Director of Binghampton Development Corporation.

In addition to the THDA recognition, United Housing recently received a counseling grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The grant, awarded in two installments by NeighborWorks America, will fund a portion of United Housing’s housing counseling and education expenses.

About Binghampton Development Corporation
The Binghampton Development Corporation was founded in 2003 and is an independent, nonprofit community development corporation. For more information, visit bdcmemphis.org.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

UHI Attends Peer Session in Nashville

United Housing counseling staff attended the 2013 Homebuyer Education (HBE) Peer Session in Nashville this week. They took away two awards for being in the top ten producers in the state in loan production and foreclosure mitigation. Way to go team!

Pictured (L to R): Kendra Richardson, HBE Coordinator, Ralph Perrey, THDA Executive Director, Sharon Walker, HBE Manager at UHI,Tim Bolding, UHI Executive Director, Deanna Zell, Foreclosure Intervention Specialist, Priscilla Reed, Foreclosure Intervention Counselor.

Want to learn more about United Housing, visit our website!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

United Housing Helps 3,000th Homebuyer

Lisa Brice with Tim Bolding, Executive Director of United Housing

After living for seven years in her townhome, Lisa Brice’s world was turned upside down when the water was turned off in the community earlier this year. Brice, who lived in the home with her two teenage daughters, was forced to look for a new place to live. While they stayed in the townhome during the transition, Brice and her two daughters made daily visits to the home of Brice’s mother, where they showered and had access to running water.

After looking for several months, Brice found a house that she loved and discovered it was one of United Housing, Inc.’s homes. Soon after, she contacted the organization in order to identify the steps she needed to take to purchase the home. 

Sharon Walker, Homebuyer Education Manager, worked with Brice and her realtor to help identify financial assistance programs that she qualified for based on her situation. After hearing her story, United Housing immediately helped Brice by allowing her to temporarily rent the home until she was able to file all of the necessary paperwork to purchase it.

Brice took part in United Housing’s Homebuyer Education class, which provides free homeownership education for first-time or repeat homebuyers. The class helped Brice prepare for the purchasing process from beginning to end, as well as understand the paperwork she had to sign. Tammy Coleman, Lending Manager with United Housing, also worked with Brice through the processing of her first mortgage and down payment assistance loan to ensure a smooth transition for her family. 

In total, United Housing helped Brice receive $27,000 in grants through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program and the Memphis-Shelby County Helping Homebuyers Program. With this assistance, Brice was able to purchase the home and became United Housing’s 3,000th customer in its nearly twenty-year history.

“Thanks to United Housing, I feel very blessed and happy to be in my new home,” said Brice.

Monday, July 15, 2013

UHI Begins 5th Home at Wolf River Bluffs

United Housing begins the second round of construction in the North Memphis development, Wolf River Bluffs for case management agency, Meritan, Incorporated. 

The home will feature full wheelchair accessibility, MLGW EcoBuild specifications, and solar photo voltaic panels to continue the energy saving and energy producing amenities at Wolf River Bluffs development. 

This home will house three individuals receiving services from Meritan, Inc. Meritan delivers health, social and support services for individuals and families living with the effects of aging, vision loss and blindness, and other disabilities. This home will allow Meritan customers to stay independent while still receiving the care they need. The Assisi Foundation assisted with the funding of this home that will be a model for the future partnership between Meritan, Inc. and United Housing, as we move into renovations of 8 more existing homes for Meritan customers using CHDO Home Funds from the state of Tennessee.

This home is constructed by NBC Contractors - Picture courtesy of Michael Brunk, Practical Contracting

Friday, June 21, 2013

United Housing Hosts Second Annual Scenic Hills Picnic

Event coincides with NeighborWorks Week and celebrates the area's parks and dams


United Housing, Inc. recently partnered with the Scenic Hills Neighborhood Association and the University of Memphis to host its second annual Scenic Hills Picnic. The event was held as part of NeighborWorks America’s NeighborWorks Week, which encourages neighborhood change and civic pride. United Housing also used the picnic to promote the Home Matters movement, which helps build awareness around home being a place where families thrive.

Since 2010, United Housing has acquired and renovated more than a dozen homes in the Scenic Hills area following a flood that breached the region’s dam and damaged homes in the neighborhood. During the picnic, attendees enjoyed lunch at Lochnevin Park and celebrated the recovery of the area’s parks and dams with their neighbors.

“We have really enjoyed getting to know each of the residents during the last couple of years,” said Tim Bolding, Executive Director of United Housing, Inc. “Our team had a great time during the picnic and we’re even more energized to continue our work in the area, which strives to showcase the significance of strong neighborhoods through our involvement with NeighborWorks America and the Home Matters movement."

The event also included a neighborhood bake and plant sale to raise funds for local civic groups, including the Scenic Hills Gardening Club and Women’s Association, who help initiate and execute revitalization projects in the area.

After lunch, Bolding thanked residents for coming to the event and discussed United Housing's mission and goals for Scenic Hills, as well as Shelby County and West Tennessee. He then introduced Shelby Country Public Affairs Officer Steve Shular, who spoke on behalf of Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell about the importance of neighborhoods and civic investment. 

Professor David Arrellano from the University of Memphis Chapter ofEngineers Without Borders was also on hand to discuss and answer questions related to maintaining neighborhood lakes and dams. 

About Home Matters 
Home Matters is a movement that United Housing helped launch earlier this year with the National NeighborWorks Association. Its goals are to help build awareness around home being a place where lives and families thrive, as well as serving as the basis for a stronger economy. 

About NeighborWorks America 
For 35 years, NeighborWorks America has created opportunities for people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities by providing access to homeownership and to safe and affordable rental housing. In the last five years, NeighborWorks organizations have generated more than $19.5 billion in reinvestment in these communities. NeighborWorks America is the nation’s leading trainer of community development and affordable housing professionals. United Housing is the West Tennessee representative for the organization.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

UHI's Trip to Portland Highlights Green Building!

Green Building Tour in Portland, OR

United Housing is excited to share some photos from our Green Building tour of Portland. A local, Portland Community Development Corporation (CDC), REACH CDC, has a Leed Certified multi-family housing project featuring a "green roof," solar panels, and 100% on-site storm water management called Gray's Landing.

The six-story building has underground parking, 5,000 sf of commercial space (including REACH office space), 209 affordable units - units available to households earning 60% of their median income and 42 of the apartments are targeted to low income veterans. Green features include: solar hot water panels, well insulated exterior envelope, including high efficiency windows, fresh air ventilation directly to all apartments, low-use plumbing and electric fixtures and Energy Star appliances.

REACH CDC partnered with HUD, NeighborWorks America, Portland Housing Bureau soft TIF laon, Oregon Housing and Community Services weatherization grant, used the Enterprise 4% tax credit equity, the Energy Trusts Hot Water Incentitive, an ecoroof grant from Portland Bureau of Environmental services and bond financing.

This is the first affordable rental housing development in the emerging South Waterfront neighborhood. The location is close to many transit options. This project will provide the economic stimulus for the city with living-wage jobs and economic opportunities for minority and women-owned contractors.

United Housing admires this project and hopes to create a similar opportunity in our single-family, homeowership units in Memphis at Wolf River Bluffs!

Pictured: The green roof features drought tolerant plants and solar panels that provide 50% of the building's hot water.

Check out more info on Gray's Landing by clicking here!

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Time and Place: Sundial and benchmark for Wolf River Bluffs

Artist, James Wallace, creates a public sculpture for Wolf River Bluffs. 

United Housing worked with the Urban Art Commission to secure James Wallace's talented design eye. Wolf River Bluffs is to be a site that will change the way we think about affordable housing and green design in Memphis and this unique sculpture embodies this new adventure. "Many times, it was because of an event, the marker (sculpture) is placed in a specific location." The event is green building that is affordable in a neighborhood in need to new and improved housing stock. Wallace describes his design:

"'A Time and A Place' is the marker for Wolf River Bluffs, a planned development with unique visions for both the occupants and the environment. It will be the benchmark, depicting latitude, longitude and elevation above sea level, and a sundial.    

Constructed in weathering Corten (base and platform) and stainless, it will be the zero or starting point for both time and distance.  

Finished dimensions will be approximately 13 feet long, 2.5 feet wide and 7 feet high."  

This marker will be a sign of a meeting place or the referenced site of an event. Thanks to the artist and to everyone involved in making this happen for Wolf River Bluffs!

The photo courtesy of Urban Art Commission is a model for the design to be completed in late spring/summer 2013.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

First Four Homes at Wolf River a Solar Panel Shy of Complete!

The first four homes built as a part of the third round of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program are ready, save for the final piece - the solar panel installation. Very soon these homes will become energy-producing homes! The Wolf River Bluffs development is also EcoBUILD certified by MLGW saving the homeowner $50 per month in utility costs! 

The second round of homes to be built are expected to be on the market later his summer. Stay tuned!

The homes feature beautiful hardwood floors!

Photos courtesy of Bianca Patel

Monday, February 25, 2013

Finishing Touches at Wolf River Bluffs Development!

The first four homes in Wolf River Bluffs are finishing up! The walls are getting painted, and the kitchens are coming together. The solar panel installations are next! Stay tuned for that!

Photos courtesy of Mike Brunk

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Progress at Homes in Wolf River Bluffs

As the first month of 2013 comes to a close, the homes at Wolf River Bluffs are finally looking like houses!

As of January 28, electrical wiring and plumbing are in process. The builders have begun adding Memphis Light Gas and Water's (MLGW) EcoBUILD features to the homes. The energy efficiency will help new neighbors keep costs low on their energy bills.

According to Mike Brunk, our Construction Manager, Lot 19 has a roof as exterior paint is added.

Earthquake protection is put into the new homes!

Lot 33's framing, siding, windows, and doors are in the process of going in.

Lot 34 is next to go up! Foundation on the fourth home is complete with framing beginning today or tomorrow!

Photos courtesy of Mike Brunk

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Despite the Weather, It's Coming Together!

The rain is not stopping the building at the Wolf River Bluffs Development at James Rd. and McLean Blvd.! The foundations were poured Monday, and the framing started Wednesday. 

UHI is ramping up 2013 without wasting much time. "These first four homes should be done by March as long as we stay on schedule," says Anne Meadors, Housing Production Manager. 

And we are doing just that, rain or shine!

Photos courtesy of Mike Brunk, Construction Manager. Check out more photos here

Monday, January 7, 2013

Energy Efficiency is the New Normal

DOE Funds Leading Edge Building Technologies

SustainableBusiness.com News

As part of its efforts to help homeowners and businesses reduce energy consumption and utility bills, the Department of Energy (DOE) is investing $9 million in six advanced US manufacturing projects that will improve energy performance.

“A typical American family spends nearly $2,000 per year on their home energy bills, and much of that money is wasted on air leaks and drafts in our homes’ roofs, attics and walls. By bringing new, affordable energy efficient products to the market, we can help families save money by saving energy, while strengthening U.S. manufacturing leadership in technologies that are increasingly in demand worldwide.”

United Housing's Wolf River Project incorporates the same energy efficient construction with the addition of solar panels giving these Memphis homes a cutting edge in efficiency. Take a better look here.