Thursday, February 12, 2015

Behind-the-Scenes: Bev Johnson's "Ask the Expert" on WDIA

Tim Bolding and Bev Johnson collaborate on "Ask the Expert."

This week, United Housing's Executive Director Tim Bolding made his regular monthly visit to Bev Johnson's "Ask the Expert" on WDIA. We were there to capture some behind-the-scenes footage to share with our community, clients and supporters. The focus of this week's show was our upcoming Home Matters Open House at our Wolf River Bluffs development on February 22.

On hand to help tell the city about the event were (above) Jimmie Hopson, our Realtor partner from Creye-Leike Realty, as well as Frayser Community Development Corporation Executive Director Steve Lockwood (below).

Hopson and Lockwood respectively work on issues related to real estate and community development. Among the topics of conversation that came up were:

  • Wolf River Bluffs' close proximity to major employment centers such as Nike, Buckman, and Bass Pro (Memphis Pyramid)
  • The green amenities such as solar panels that come with the all-new Wolf River Bluffs homes
  • The fact that Wolf River Bluffs features Universal Design and is ADA accessible

Off-air, we even discovered that Bev and Steve are both from neighboring towns in Michigan. It is a small world, and even smaller in Memphis! All in all, it was a great conversation, with lots of good information being shared.

Stay tuned for more updates on our Home Matters Open House in Wolf River Bluffs, which will take place Sunday, February 22 from 2-4 p.m.

Friday, February 6, 2015

United Housing Offers HCD Intern Kody Kirby Opportunity for Growth

When he accepted his internship at United Housing through the Housing and Community Development Fellowship program, Kody Kirby knew that he would gain important real world knowledge in anthropology, but he did not expect his coworkers to have such an impact on his experience.

"Beyond the foci of my work, my coworkers have truly made my fellowship an amazing experience," said Kody. "Tim Bolding, Amy Schaftlein and Anna Gattuso are all alumni of the University of Memphis Anthropology Department, so they are often able to offer advice by drawing upon their own experiences in the classroom and the field."

Because of all of the different services that United Housing provides, Kody stays busy with a variety of responsibilities. Primarily, he is focusing on the development of our new NeighborScape Demonstration Garden, a community landscaping and gardening initiative. In addition to forming a committee of community members for that project, he is involved in activities regarding the development of our senior housing community at Wolf River Bluffs and even takes part in some aspects of grant-writing.

"With a focus in environmental anthropology, I'm very interested in approaches to sustainability that not only encompass environmental aspects, but also economical and cultural aspects," said Kody. "After completing my internship, I plan on pursuing additional graduate level education (PhD) relating to sustainable development and environmental justice."

Interested in applying for an internship at United Housing? Call (901) 272-1122 for more information.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

GraceBuilders House Blessing Caps Meaningful Project

At the recent house blessing for the GraceBuilders program, Edith Heller shared a very "Memphis" type of story about the week that Jasmine Morris closed on her home in the Northwood Hills neighborhood.

Jasmine is United Housing's 4,000th homeowner and purchaser of the GraceBuilders home, and Edith said she was "meant to be part of this project." Edith explained how her dog had been sick that week and a patient at the Animal Emergency Center, where Jasmine is a veterinary technician. She watched and cared for the dog all week, and Jasmine and Edith developed a special bond through the process. In a city where so many people share overlapping connections, this was just one more meaningful coincidence that makes this project so special.

The house blessing was a time for Jasmine, Edith, Grace-St. Luke's Episcopal Church Associate Rector Gayle McCarty and many others to reunite and celebrate a project that was particularly engaging and special for so many. Jasmine had a chance to show off her newly decorated house, including her framed 4,000th United Housing homebuyer certificate hanging proudly in her living room, while about 25 GraceBuilders volunteers were thrilled to see the finished product. Many volunteers have expressed the satisfaction of contributing to a long-term project that has a big impact.

This is the kind of project United Housing would like to do again, and we are currently exploring groups with which to collaborate. Congratulations to Jasmine's family on their new home and to GSL on a job well done!