NEW YORK, April 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The United Athletes Foundation (UAF), Builders of Hope and Consumer Education Services, Inc. (CESI) today announced an initiative, Bring It Home, that will revitalize blighted communities by developing quality, safe, affordable housing and teach financial literacy to the new homebuyers and renters moving into the renovated houses. The organizations will pilot this innovative program in Baltimore and Atlanta.
"During these tough economic times, both affordable housing and neighborhood blight have emerged as critical issues for every city across our nation," said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. "I welcome initiatives which restore our neighborhoods and give residents the pride of home ownership. I am delighted that the United Athletes Foundation, Builders of Hope and Consumer Education Services have chosen Atlanta as a pilot city for Bring It Home."
NFL stars Ray Lewis and Reggie Howard will serve as Bring It Home's local ambassadors in Baltimore and Atlanta, respectively. Lewis, legendary linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens and MVP of Super Bowl XXXV, serves as the Vice Chairman of the non-profit UAF board. Howard, who played seven seasons in the NFL and intercepted Tom Brady in Super Bowl XXXVIII, founded UAF and serves as its President and Executive Director.
"The Bring It Home initiative is the perfect marriage of how athletes can leverage their celebrity status to impact positive change in their communities through education and social development," Howard said. "We believe the awareness that UAF ambassadors can bring to the growing problem of abandoned, vacant housing in our cities will help Builders of Hope and CESI turn blighted neighborhoods into vibrant communities."
As ambassadors for Bring It Home, UAF athletes will be empowered to work with CESI and Builders of Hope to raise awareness of the need for affordable housing and help rebuild the neighborhoods where their fans reside.
The initiative is designed to help targeted communities renovate housing and repopulate neighborhoods, which in turns helps stabilize home prices, increase safety, and spur additional investment in the surrounding community. Builders of Hope will dedicate $30 million of private investment to the program and will rehabilitate approximately 500 homes in each market.Builders of Hope Upcycles Homes To Create Affordable Housing
Builders of Hope, a Raleigh-based non-profit, has gained national recognition for its innovative approach to affordable housing and urban renewal through whole-house recycling of vacant or foreclosed properties.
The organization's Upcycle program transforms real estate owned, or REO, properties into energy efficient, affordable rentals for working-class Americans. Through the Bring It Home initiative, the organizations will make available thousands of energy efficient, affordable rentals in each market. Builders of Hope will handle property assessment, acquisition, rehabilitation, leasing and sales, and rental management.
"Bring It Home is specifically designed to address the many interconnected housing issues that the nation is struggling with – the lack of affordable rentals, the surplus of foreclosed houses, the neighborhoods suffering from blight and the inefficient state of our existing housing stock," explained Nancy Welsh, founder and CEO of Builders of Hope. "We're thrilled to partner with UAF and CESI get Americans back into housing."
CESI's Pathways to Home Ownership
Homeownership is about more than just having a nice house to live in; it's about having the financial skills to sustain it. CESI's Pathways to Home Ownership program will teach the individuals and families moving into the renovated housing the money management skills needed to live on a budget that will allow for rent/mortgage payments in addition to living expenses and savings.
CESI will assist with the screening of participants in the Bring It Home program. Participants will be then be assigned to one of three programs: a home ownership program lasting three-to-four months, a rent-to-own program lasting six-nine months, or a Pathways program lasting twelve to eighteen months. Every program will include in-person and telephone counseling sessions designed to teach budgeting, money management and credit skills that will help individuals and families meet their financial responsibilities.
"We are proud to join with Builders of Hope and UAF to provide this holistic approach to rebuilding neighborhoods through home ownership and financial literacy," says Dr. Diane Chen, CEO of CESI. "Too often people move into a new house without the financial skills needed to maintain it. This initiative features the best organizations joining in a partnership to create safe, stable communities."
About United Athletes Foundation
The United Athletes Foundation is a 501c3 public non-profit organization created in 2008 by a group of professional athletes who understood their unique role in improving the lives of both the athlete fraternity and society in its entirety. To date, there are more than 100 professional athletes associated with the UA Foundation including members of the NFL, NBA, MLB, WNBA and professional boxing. Founded by former NFL player Reggie Howard, the UAF Board of Directors/advisors includes Ray Lewis, Hank Aaron, Julius Erving and Ambassador Andrew Young. For more information, please visit the Foundation's website at http://www.unitedathletesfoundation.org/.About CESI
Consumer Education Services Inc. is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization for consumers who want financial freedom. CESI offers a complete life cycle of services: credit counseling, debt management, housing counseling, financial education and bankruptcy counseling. Since its inception in 1998, CESI has helped hundreds of thousands of consumers nationwide improve their money management skills and experience debt free living. CESI's Homeownership Center supports the delivery of a wide variety of housing counseling services to potential homebuyers and current homeowners. Counselors provide guidance, advice, and advocacy to help families and individuals meet their financial responsibilities and improve their housing conditions and choices. The division helps families facing foreclosure and financial crisis as well as clients looking to purchase their first home. For more information, please visit www.cesidebtsolutions.org.
About Builders of Hope
Builders of Hope is a non-profit organization, 501(c)3 based in Raleigh, N.C. that provides safe, affordable housing to working families through a comprehensive model that incorporates economic benefits, environmental stewardship and social solutions. The organization helps families who otherwise couldn't afford it, purchase a home of their own or rent quality housing. Builders of Hope saves homes slated for demolition and recycles them using its "Extreme Green Rehabilitation" model for residential construction. The patent-pending process creates beautiful, healthier homes that are energy efficient and less costly to maintain. In Dallas, Builders of Hope operates under the name EcoLogical Community Builders.
SOURCE United Athletes Foundation; Builders of Hope; Consumer Education Services, Inc.