Habitat for Humanity of the Charlotte Region announced Tuesday it received the largest gift in its history: $13.5 million from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, who is Jeff Bezos’ ex-wife.
Charlotte’s Habitat branch was one of 84 affiliates, as well as Habitat for Humanity International, that are receiving a $436 million total gift from Scott.
Why it matters: The lack of affordable housing is one of the biggest issues facing the Charlotte region, one that leaders have raised hundreds of millions from public and private sources to address. But the bulk of those efforts have focused on the construction of rental housing. Meanwhile, the cost of homeownership continues to rise.
- The average sales price for a home in the Charlotte region was $393,550, per the latest Canopy MLS data.
Context: The Habitat donation follows several other gifts from Scott to local organizations, including $18 million to the YMCA of Greater Charlotte last year.
What they’re saying: Laura Belcher, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of the Charlotte Region, called the gift “stunning,” and said the organization is still evaluating how best to use the money.
- But she said they’re looking to both continue the work of building and repairing homes, as well as expanding to policy work.
- For example, she said they’d like to help reduce barriers to homeownership and prevent displacement.
“We want to make sure that we can continue to build new homes and provide new housing opportunities for families in our community,” she said. “But we also want to look at, are there policy actions or procedural changes that could occur to remove barriers to homeowners? Especially for families of color that have been locked out of homeownership for generations.”