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Chase Grant Announcement
The ceremony began with a prayer from Pastor Dawkins of Project HOPE, who noted that it takes “different faces, different people and different efforts to make change” in the community. New Miami Habitat CEO Mario Artecona introduced Sen. Martinez, who made the formal check presentation.
“Habitat for Humanity is about understanding the transforming power of homeownership for families and communities,” said the Senator. “This is a day of transformation and renewal.”
The Chase grant funds will go toward creating home ownership opportunities for low income families, and to creating a stronger, more sustainable Liberty City, and will directly support Miami Habitat’s Liberty City Shine campaign, which aims to build or rehabilitate more than 250 homes in Liberty City over the next three years.
Maria Pascual, the manager of the Liberty City Chase bank branch, spoke to the impact Chase was having on the Liberty City community, both through large-scale contributions like the grant and also by maintaining a localized presence in the neighborhood. “Half of our employees live in Liberty City,” she said. “This is our community, these are our neighbors.”
Like the Liberty City Shine campaign, the grant takes a holistic approach to community revitalization: home ownership is crucial to stable, prosperous communities, and there are substantial roles for aspects such as resident engagement, education, and effective partnerships between existing organizations. Mr. Artecona mentioned some of these organizations during the ceremony, including Project HOPE, the South Florida Community Development Coalition, Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida and the Tacolcy center – all of whom had representation at the event.
“We are proud to support the efforts of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Miami, and help provide affordable housing to Liberty City families,” said Guillermo G. Castillo, President of Chase Commercial Banking in South Florida. “The Liberty City Shine campaign will help enhance this community’s quality of life, and revitalize this neighborhood.”
Specific goals of the grant include increasing the affordable housing stock in the area by purchasing, rehabilitating and returning houses to occupancy and building new infill housing on vacant lots; mobilizing community volunteers and resources to Liberty City; strengthening existing partnerships and establishing new collaborations with the most qualified community organizations to collectively address challenges in Liberty City; and engaging a broad coalition of local government, businesses, and residents to develop and implement solutions to Liberty City’s challenges.
Miami Habitat meets all of these goals and more through campaigns like Liberty City Shine, which is dedicated to revitalizing the Liberty City community; its participation in the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program-2, which enables the organization to purchase and rehabilitate foreclosed and abandoned properties in at-risk areas; the A Brush With Kindness program, which provides minor home repairs, landscaping and house painting for low-income residents; and community gardening, among many other initiatives.
In its strategy to focus on a comprehensive revitalization of a specific community, the JPMorgan Chase Foundation is providing support to several organizations that Miami Habitat currently works with in Liberty City, including Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida, the Human Services Coalition, the Belafonte Tacolcy Center, Urban Strategies, and Florida International University.