What’s got a megachurch pastor buying land for affordable housing? Simply, the man of God knows what that government has failed to honor and understand: Work and ownership creates immediate provision but also generational wealth.
“We need affordable housing” is spoken by those whose properties are hit by increasing property taxes or those who see homes leveled for more pricey units for rent, lease, or sale by developers in the process called gentrification.
Whatever the influencing factor, the reality is that homeownership has been difficult in the African American community and has worsened.
Bishop T.D. Jakes, lead pastor of The Potters House in Dallas, Texas, established an enterprise which includes a real estate venture company. The TD Jakes Group purchased almost 100 acres in Atlanta in 2022 to assist in making homeownership a greater likelihood for African Americans who couldn’t otherwise afford to own or attain lending.
The development is the first of a joint effort with Wells Fargo and Jakes, whose devotion to facilitate financial literacy and independence is often woven throughout his ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Atlanta endeavor launches a 10-year agreement of about $1 billion in investment of “mixed-income housing with an array of living choices such as single-family homes, townhomes and apartments positioned in well-designed neighborhoods with ample amenities aimed at enhancing the quality of life through healthy food choices, healthcare options and other wraparound services.”
Some may applaud the business acumen of the highly driven and intelligent pastor. Yet, his plan is not just biblical, it’s supported by economists and reality.
The entire Old Testament records God’s people in a land of their own with the priority of family as the foundation of all society. Remember, there was no “church” until Acts 2, so God used family and generational wealth to establish His people.
The fight, then, was against warring nations that demanded their loyalty and servitude. That battle continues as families sometimes literally fight to own their own homes in an overtaxed, over-regulated environment with constant pressures on the family unit itself.
Economic experts on African American wealth and ownership:
- “The benefits from homeownership have not been shared equally. In the second quarter of 2022, the homeownership rate for white households was 75% compared to 45% for Black households, 48% for Hispanic households, and 57% for non-Hispanic households of any other race…the Black-white gap in homeownership rates was the same in 2020 as it was in 1970” (US Treasury, Sept 15, 2022).
- “The Black-white wealth gap in the U.S. shows that progress on closing the gap has all but stalled since the 1950s and inequality is on track to grow moving forward” (Princeton’s Ellora Derenoncourt, PhD, Wealth of Two Nations).
- “In 2019, the median net worth of white families was $188,200–7.8 times that of their Black peers, at $24,100” (US Federal Reserve).
Possessing personal property and wealth is critically important to lift all. Innovative solutions to remove barriers and threats to these biblical and American rights are ones to applaud.