Affordable Housing Grant Fuels Tulsa Habitat For Humanity

Thursday, October 26th 2017, 1:44 pm

Tulsa's Habitat for Humanity says a big donation means the charity can build five times as many houses as it does now.

Habitat has been slowly building houses and rebuilding neighborhoods, but this new plan would create a development company to buy land and build entire neighborhoods.

Habitat announced a $6.7 million grant from the Zarrow Foundation to create Boomtown Development, to more rapidly buy land and builds houses.

"The real need was just to scale up because there's such a gap between the number of people who need these homes and the number of homes that can be built by Habitat," said Bill Major, with the Anne & Henry Zarrow Foundation.

The average Habitat home in Tulsa comes with a $600 a month mortgage and the typical family that qualifies would normally pay much more in rent.

The difference, in Habitat's experience, is tremendous.

"That's disposable income they can reallocate to transportation, their children, to healthcare, so it really sets them up to be much more responsible with their family budget," said Cameron Walker with Habitat for Humanity.

Habitat is building 26 homes in Tulsa this year. Next year they'll build 40.

With Boomtown, they'll build 150 a year by 2022 and every year after that.

The expansion gives more families, with slightly more income, the chance to qualify.

"For every low-income family that can afford their own home, it does change their life and it changes their trajectory,” Major said.

The biggest chunk of money is $5 million for land acquisition.

The project will focus first on Kendall Whittier then a neighborhood at 36th Street North and Peoria.