Friday, August 21, 2015

Local Veteran Transitions into Homeownership

Veteran Tommy Green at his August 4 closing with Executive Director Tim Bolding.

Tommy Green, a U.S. veteran who served in the Marine Corps and graduated from the academy as Company Honorman, is a new homeowner through a UHI pilot program to connect veterans to homeownership. However, the road from serving his country to owning a home was a rocky one. After his service, Green experienced homelessness and struggled with addiction, but he was eventually able to complete Barron Heights CDC’s two-year addiction counseling program.

“I am a homeless veteran living in a transitional center at Barron Heights,” said Green. “We as veterans were notified about this deal United Housing had and how they were going to draw names to receive a home.”

Completing the Barron Heights program made Green eligible for the new, unique initiative of United Housing in which five veterans, who meet eligibility guidelines around homeownership preparedness, will get houses transferred to them with 100% forgivable mortgages after 15 years.

Green also completed our Homebuyer Education class, giving him an opportunity to learn more in-depth about insurance, home maintenance and more. “I thought class was very informative for a person like me who is unfamiliar with homeownership,” said Green. After turning his life around from the streets to a new home, he is looking forward to enjoying his new backyard and having his grandchildren over. Green is the first of five veterans to complete this program.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

United Housing & St. Therese team to provide home for women

Landmark Community Bank Offers Low Interest Loan To Facilitate Purchase


When St. Therese of Lisieux – the “Saint of the Little Way” – said more than a century ago that people in distress could be saved by small acts of kindness, she may not have been thinking about food and shelter for women who are survivors of trauma and homelessness. But a Memphis non-profit has used the teachings of the Little Flower, as St. Therese is known, as an inspiration to build community with and for women who are looking to rebuild their lives after being on the streets.

And when the Memphis-based Community of St. Therese of Lisieux approached United Housing, Inc. (UHI) in need of space for three women in transition, the message resonated. Thanks to a partnership with the Lisieux Community, UHI, the Presbyterian Women (PCUSA) and Landmark Community Bank, those women now have a safe place to live as they work to get back on their feet.

“We participated in the national Community Stabilization Trust program that resulted from the settlement with the major national banks affected by the financial crisis. The banks provided foreclosed properties to non-profits like UHI for use as affordable housing,” said Amy Schaftlein, director of development and communications for UHI, a non-profit affordable housing agency that serves families in the city of Memphis, Shelby County and West Tennessee. “When organizations like St. Therese have a need, those properties could be fixed up and rented for a dollar a year for two years with an option to purchase, and meanwhile address a critical social challenge.”

Lisieux Community President Sandra Ferrell says a grant from the Presbyterian Women (PCUSA) allowed her organization to take the next step, not only purchasing the house but also making needed renovations. Landmark Community Bank in Memphis provided the low-cost loan through a state-level community reinvestment program.

“A foreclosed house had been sitting vacant for years, and now these three women have a home. It’s such a wonderful partnership of local and national organizations working together to make a difference on several levels,” Ferrell said. “Many times, people who find themselves on the street never learned to live as part of a family, and we help provide them with education, life skills, employment assistance and other programs. As St. Therese taught, we can do small things that add up to mean a lot to these women’s futures.”

Now two of the participants are starting at Southwest Community College, and everyone involved has felt the impact. Landmark Community Bank Senior Vice President Bryan Jones says the bank selects opportunities to support local non-profits each year.

“This initiative has such a direct impact on Memphians who desperately need the help and want to get back into society,” Jones said. “We’re blessed to have organizations like United Housing and the Lisieux Community in our midst, and Landmark Bank was honored to play a small role in connecting the dots and offering the financing that provided a stable home.” 

The home has a capacity for five women to participate in the two-year program. The Lisieux Community has made tremendous strides in helping women transition back into the workforce and community. For more information, visit

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

United Housing for Youth Video

With students heading back to class and Shelby County Schools' year kicking off next week, our UHI Intern, Teach for America Corps Member Lukas Alfen also returns to the classroom. He developed United Housing for Youth, a curriculum that features a set of exercises that instructors can access on youth financial literacy. 

Readers can learn more about the project here and watch the video for details.

Teachers and volunteer instructors, there are two ways to keep informed on using UHY. 

  1. Check back on this blog for more details about how you can download the content, and use this material to share financial literacy with your pupils. 
  2. Email to join our newsletter mailing list, which will keep you up to date with instructions for accessing and use of the materials.