Habitat NYC and Westchester Turns Dilapidated Homes into Green Affordable Homeownership Opportunities with Help from Wells Fargo Grants, Volunteers

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First new construction homes on the Interboro Community Land Trust will enable families to build equity and experience the wealth, health, and educational benefits that go with it.

Rendering of Habitat Net Zero, green homes in Queens that will enable families to build equity through affordable homeownership while protecting the environment..

Habitat Net Zero Rendering

“Our communities are strongest when families have an opportunity to own a piece of them, to build equity, and to experience the wealth, health, and educational benefits that go with it, especially in our city where more than one in three households struggle to afford housing.”

Habitat for Humanity New York City and Westchester County (Habitat NYC and Westchester) announced today $150,000 in grants from Wells Fargo to help transform 13 vacant, dilapidated, houses into Habitat Net Zero, a mix of 16 new and rehabilitated green homes that will enable families to build equity.

Habitat NYC and Westchester’s Habitat Net Zero development includes the first new construction properties on the Interboro Community Land Trust (CLT). As part of the development, 13 of the new homes will be new construction and built using modular construction, and three will be gut rehabilitations of the existing structures. The homes will be equipped with rooftop solar panels and highly efficient heat-pump technology for heating and cooling, reducing costs, and keeping homes at or near net zero energy use

The announcement was made as part of the nationwide Wells Fargo Welcome Home initiative, where employees volunteer and participate in events that create more affordable and sustainable homes and communities. Wells Fargo volunteers joined Habitat NYC and Westchester on the site of Habitat Net Zero in Southeast Queens to help with site preparation for new construction. Wells Fargo employees are participating in over 100 Welcome Home volunteer events throughout the month of September.

“Our communities are strongest when families have an opportunity to own a piece of them, to build equity, and to experience the wealth, health, and educational benefits that go with it, especially in our city where more than one in three households struggle to afford housing,” said Karen Haycox, CEO, Habitat NYC and Westchester. “Our work would not be possible without the strong commitment of partners like Wells Fargo with whom we’ve worked for more than 15 years in neighborhoods across the five boroughs. Their support for Habitat Net Zero will help to ensure that 16 more families have a healthy, affordable home, and an opportunity to build equity. Together, we’re building a more equitable New York.”

“As homeownership remains out of reach for too many families in southeastern Queens, we’re proud of our long-standing work with Habitat for Humanity NYC and Westchester to increase the supply of homes that are affordable, energy efficient, and help more people realize the dream of homeownership,” said Catherine Domenech, Vice President, New York Community Relations at Wells Fargo. “Volunteering with Habitat has always been a huge source of pride for our employees, and this work is vital to ensuring that Habitat NYC and Westchester can help provide first-time homeownership opportunities and long-term affordability to local families.”

Wells Fargo has been a donor to Habitat NYC and Westchester since 2006, providing over $1.3 million, more than 300 volunteers on 14 build sites, and leaders who have served on the Habitat NYC and Westchester Women Build Council.

$75,000 of the $150,000 for Habitat Net Zero is provided through Welcome Home, and $75,000 of it is part of a $7.75 million donation to Habitat for Humanity International through the Wells Fargo Builds program. In 2022, Wells Fargo announced more than $9 million in grant funding to support new home construction, renovation, and repair of more than 450 affordable homes across the U.S. in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity and Rebuilding Together. Wells Fargo employees are volunteering alongside residents and homeowners to build new homes, make critical repairs to existing homes, and make other improvements like painting and landscaping. Wells Fargo has committed significant philanthropic resources to develop solutions that increase the supply of homes that are affordable and support families in realizing the dream of homeownership and opportunities for building wealth. Since 2019, Wells Fargo has donated more than $390 million to help address the housing affordability crisis in the country, including supporting available and affordable rentals, homeownership and housing stability.

Agreements with the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), Interboro CLT, and the homeowners are structured to ensure that Habitat Net Zero homeowners will have the support they need to maintain their homes. Initial sale prices and resale prices will be affordable to low- and moderate-income households. HPD will enter a 40-year regulatory agreement with Interboro CLT, and the CLT will enter into a 99-year, renewable, ground leases with each homeowner. These sites were awarded to Habitat through a 2018 request for proposals from the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA).

Financing sources include HPD’s Open Door program, which funds the new construction of homeownership opportunities for low-, moderate-, and middle-income households; New York State Affordable Housing Corporation; and Reso A funds provided by Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, City Council Speaker Adams, and former New York City Councilmember I. Daneek Miller. HPD also facilitated an Article XI tax exemption, which will help keep ongoing housing costs affordable for lower-income households. The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and Nonprofit Finance Fund are also providing construction financing.

About Habitat for Humanity New York City and Westchester County
Habitat NYC and Westchester creates, preserves, and advocates for healthy, affordable homes and the generational equity building opportunities that homeownership provides. With the support of thousands of volunteers each year, we’re building a more equitable New York—to address centuries of unjust, racist, housing laws and financing mechanisms that prevented communities of color from entering the homeownership market and shaped the geography of the wealth, health, and education inequality we see today. Learn more at http://www.habitatnycwc.org and connect with us on Facebook, and on Twitter and Instagram at @HabitatNYC_WC.

About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a leading financial services company that has approximately $1.9 trillion in assets, proudly serves one in three U.S. households and more than 10% of small businesses in the U.S., and is a leading middle market banking provider in the U.S. We provide a diversified set of banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through our four reportable operating segments: Consumer Banking and Lending, Commercial Banking, Corporate and Investment Banking, and Wealth & Investment Management. Wells Fargo ranked No. 41 on Fortune’s 2022 rankings of America’s largest corporations. In the communities we serve, the company focuses its social impact on building a sustainable, inclusive future for all by supporting housing affordability, small business growth, financial health, and a low-carbon economy.

News, insights, and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.

Additional information may be found at http://www.wellsfargo.com | Twitter: @WellsFargo.

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John Keaten

Jacqueline Hlavenka-Sansone