Habitat Memphis to build 12 new homes in Castalia Heights this fall

What’s happening: It’s a year of milestones for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis as the renowned nonprofit celebrates its 40th anniversary with the planned construction of its 600th house in Shelby and Fayette counties. This fall build season will see Memphis Habitat and its volunteers build 12 new houses in the Castalia Heights community, the most built in one season since 2019.

Help wanted: Memphis Habitat will host a kick-off celebration on Thursday, Aug. 17, for the first volunteer build day in Castalia Heights. The nonprofit hopes to recruit a total of 4,000 volunteers for its 2023 and ‘24 fiscal year, both for the construction sites and their Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Volunteer opportunities are open to individuals, groups, and corporate teams; funding is also welcome.

Why it’s important: “Memphis is facing a housing crisis with rising interest rates, a short supply of affordable starter homes, and the rising cost of rent,” says Dwayne Spencer, Memphis Habitat president and CEO. “Many local families are unable to qualify for traditional mortgages, can’t afford their current housing and need an urgent solution. Memphis Habitat is a resource to help fill that need.”

About that: The organization attests that 58 percent of residents in Castalia Heights are renters and not homeowners, a reason why the community was chosen for the nonprofit’s largest build season since before the COVID-19 pandemic. Memphis Habitat’s homebuilding program, including their zero-interest mortgages, would make homeownership more attainable for at least some of the residents looking to get out of their rentals and into their own homes.

"We look forward to continuing our work in Castalia Heights, where we have great partners like the Magnolia-Castalia Community Association that have kept us involved in community development work and resident connection these past few years,” says Spencer. “In our return to the neighborhood, we are demonstrating Habitat’s commitment to alleviating housing hardships – investing in the development of contiguous, new homes that families will purchase and own for generations to come."

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