Local church initiative aims to create more affordable homes and increase black homeownership

JACKSONVILLE, Florida. – Less than 45% of the black population owns a home in the United States, according to the US Census Bureau. Black homeownership rates continue to fall behind other races.

A new program is creating more affordable housing in a local community.

Affordable housing is an ongoing issue as inflation continues to make home ownership more difficult for some communities.

In The Word International Church works to address this issue by increasing financial literacy, homeowner education, and creating more resources for its community.

“This is where our first house is going to be built,” said Harry Williams, pastor of In The Word International Church.

Harry Williams has been the pastor of In the Word International Church in East Jacksonville for 14 years.

Soon this land will be transformed into one of the many affordable homes being built in the neighborhood.

These 3 to 4 bedroom homes will cost between $180,000 and $185,000.

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“There weren’t many people I knew who owned their homes. Owning your home in your own neighborhood means a lot,” Williams said. “Being a homeowner is good no matter where you are, but being able to own a house in the neighborhood you love, in which you grew up, is great. Plus it’s affordable. »

The church was able to obtain city properties to begin building.

“Eventually, in this neighborhood, things will change. So we want to take a leap forward and be able to offer low-cost, but great homes to our community,” Williams said. “Being a homeowner is good no matter where you are, but being able to own a house in the neighborhood you love, in which you grew up, is great. Plus, it’s affordable. »

Through a partnership between the Urban League and the Eastside Community Development Core, an initiative born out of the church.

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Not only will this effort build affordable homes, but it will teach residents essential financial knowledge to navigate the process.

“The biggest misconception is thinking they can’t do it, because of a hampered credit problem or because they can’t afford it. But they really can do it if shown in a good way,” said Terry Hardmon, developer of The Hardmon Company.

Terry Hardmon is a developer who will provide essential resources and financing to begin building these homes.

“The basic principle is to understand that property has value. It’s the best investment you can make. It’s the safest investment you can make. It’s like putting money in the bank that you’ll always have on hand as long as you do it responsibly,” Hardmon said.

He said that while the educational component is essential, giving back to his community is most important.

“I just hope that this effort to give back will encourage others to come back and give back in a major way. And just start this trend of having some kind of giving back to help this community. Because we are the community. Not the government , nor social organizations, or whatever. We are the community, we are the ones who have to help the children,” Hardmon said. “To show the children and young people in this community that they can do things like Me. I was that kid. I grew up here behind Stanton. I grew up hard. I want to let them know that they can grow up to do something better.

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In addition to this new initiative, this church served the community in various ways through meals, a community food pantry, and youth mentorship programs.

To learn more about the Affordable Homes in Out East initiative and homeownership education, you can use these contacts:

  • Jacksonville Urban League, Suzanne Pickett: 904-723-4028

  • In The Word International Church, Harry Williams: 904-887-0313

  • The Hardmon Society, Terry Hardmon: 954-643-5362

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Jerry B. Hatch