BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Oct. 12, 2023 – More than a dozen newly built, affordable houses will soon welcome families in Birmingham’s East Lake neighborhood following a major investment announced Thursday by the Regions Foundation, a nonprofit funded primarily by Regions Bank.
Regions Foundation leaders joined the East Lake Initiative (ELI) to officially break ground on the new homes and present a grant of $400,000 supporting their construction. The Foundation is the lead donor on what will become ELI’s inaugural new-construction development. While ELI has long helped people find affordable housing, growth in recent years now enables the organization to actually commission the construction of brand-new houses.
We know access to affordable housing is a key ingredient of successful communities where people and families can build a brighter future, and we are proud to support ELI in this transformational work.
Marta Self, executive director of the Regions Foundation
“Where we are standing today was just an empty lot,” said Marta Self, executive director of the Regions Foundation. “Before long, it will be a home. It will be a place where the family can build generational wealth. It will be one of 15 houses ELI is building as part of an exciting new chapter in how the organization connects people with affordable housing. We know access to affordable housing is a key ingredient of successful communities where people and families can build a brighter future, and we are proud to support ELI in this transformational work.”
The new development is an extension of the ELI Thrive coaching program that annually works with more than 150 under-resourced families to set economic stability goals. ELI Thrive clients who plan to purchase the new homes have taken part in monthly sessions on:
- improving credit scores,
- establishing monthly budgets, and
- securing mortgage down payments.
“ELI takes a holistic approach toward creating long-term, positive change,” said Pam Bates, executive director of the East Lake Initiative. “Our focus is not just one particular service; rather, we believe in addressing the needs of the whole person and the whole family. Expanding our service to include the development of affordable housing is an exciting next step that will benefit our city for generations.”
ELI was founded in 2010 as an East Lake community development organization and has since expanded across greater Birmingham. Beyond affordable housing, services coordinated by ELI include financial wellness, workforce development, utility assistance, a food market and more.
These new houses will send a powerful message to East Lake and Birmingham as a whole, and that message is there are people and organizations who are ready to invest in the future of our neighbors and the vitality of the neighborhoods that form this great city.
Myron Thomas, chief operating officer of the East Lake Initiative
“None of this would be possible without the support of community partners, volunteers and residents who believe in our vision and share the goal of creating a stronger Birmingham where more people have access to what they need to thrive,” said Myron Thomas, chief operating officer of the East Lake Initiative. “These new houses will send a powerful message to East Lake and Birmingham as a whole, and that message is there are people and organizations who are ready to invest in the future of our neighbors and the vitality of the neighborhoods that form this great city.”
Initial houses are currently under construction. The development is expected to be completed in three to five years. People interested in learning more about ELI’s services are encouraged to visit www.elithrive.com or call (205)777-3653.
About East Lake Initiative
East Lake Initiative’s mission is to strategically partner to provide holistic community development within Jefferson County, Alabama. ELI operates within four pillars of community need: education, workforce development, housing, and nutrition. ELI works to help people move forward and learn to face challenges as they strive toward self-sustainability.
About Regions Foundation
Regions Foundation supports community investments that positively impact the communities served by Regions Bank. The Foundation engages in a grantmaking program focused on priorities including economic and community development; education and workforce readiness; and financial wellness. The Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation funded primarily through contributions from Regions Bank.