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Phoebe Partners with Habitat for Humanity To Revitalize Central Albany Neighborhood


Albany, GA | November 2, 2022 – Phoebe is donating multiple properties near its main campus to Flint River Habitat for Humanity, allowing the nonprofit to build new homes and attract families to the neighborhood in need of residential revitalization.

“Our mission is to make the dream of homeownership a reality by providing safe, modern and affordable housing to families who qualify,” said Scooter Courtney, Flint River Habitat for Humanity Executive Director.  “Since 1986, we have made that dream come true for more than 160 families in Dougherty and Lee Counties.  Our greatest need right now is land where we can build, and this donation from Phoebe is a great gift at the perfect time.”

The donation includes five long-vacant houses – two in the 700 block of N. Monroe Street and three in the 500 block of W. 2nd Avenue – that would be removed to make way for new Habitat homes designed to fit with the character of the neighborhood.  Phoebe would also sponsor one of the homes, funding the full cost of construction and offering Phoebe employees the chance to volunteer on the project.

“Phoebe’s mission and Habitat’s mission align so well.  We are both here to serve and improve our community, and we know when families live in safe, stable homes, they are more likely to maintain good health,” said Scott Steiner, Phoebe Putney Health System President and CEO.  “Not only will this project bring renewed life to a part of our city that hasn’t seen much development – other than hospital projects – in years, it will help improve the lives of individual families and the overall wellbeing of our community,” Steiner added.

Potential Habitat homeowners go through an extensive application and vetting process.  If they are approved for a Habitat home, it is not given to them.  They pay for it through a traditional mortgage, though they do not pay interest on that home loan.  They also must put in significant “sweat equity,” working alongside community volunteers on the construction of their home.

“Getting approved for a Habitat home is a really competitive process.  The families who are chosen are incredibly grateful for the opportunity, and they live up to their responsibilities – paying their mortgages on time, taking good care of their property and getting involved in their community,” Courtney said.

Several years ago, an impact study conducted by Georgia Tech and Kennesaw State University found Habitat for Humanity has astounding results in Georgia.  According to the researchers’ conclusions, their study “validate(d) the goals of Habitat’s programs and services, which are to help revitalize neighborhoods and strengthen families.” 

Among the study’s findings:

  • 98% of Habitat homeowners feel positive about the future.
  • 92% rate their children’s grades as good or excellent since purchasing their home.
  • Two-thirds say their families get along much better in their new home.
  • Four out of five say they feel more secure financially.
  • 70% of homeowners used some form of public assistance before moving into their Habitat home.  Of these, seven in ten reduced their need for assistance and nearly half came off public assistance altogether.
  • 44% started or completed higher education or training since moving into their home.
  • Of those who used a rescue inhaler, nearly half reported reduced need to use it since purchasing their home, indicating better physical health.

“The benefits of a Habitat for Humanity community are broad and clear, and we want to bring that energy, excitement and revitalization to the area around our main campus,” Steiner said. 

“We hope our partnership with Habitat is just the beginning.  We want it to spark additional development, and we look forward to continuing to work with Habitat, the City of Albany and private developers to bring renewed life to additional properties owned by Phoebe,” he added.

While Phoebe has continued to pay taxes on the vacant structures, the new construction should boost the value of the properties, adding to the local tax base.  The cost to build each Habitat home would be an estimated $125,000-$135,000.  Courtney said that is less than what it would cost to rehabilitate the current structures.  Habitat already has future homeowners in the pipeline. 

Wednesday, the Albany-Dougherty Historic Preservation Commission approved the general plan submitted by Habitat and Phoebe.  Habitat will now move forward with the selection of homeowners and give them a chance to pick out specific home designs from a list of appropriate options.

“Once we identify homeowners and specific home styles, we’ll go back to the HPC for construction approval.  We hope to break ground on our first home early next year,” Courtney said.

Anyone interested in becoming a Habitat homeowner or volunteer can get more information at www.flintriverhabitat.org.  You can also support the local Habitat for Humanity chapter by shopping or donating items at The Restore in Albany.  Habitat will also pick up new and used donated items such as furniture, housewares, building materials and more to sell at the store at 2815 Old Dawson Road.  To schedule a pickup, call 229-446-8199.