For marginalized populations, goal-oriented housing represents hope

For marginalized populations, goal-oriented housing represents hope

For marginalized populations, goal-oriented housing represents hope

Courtesy of Moody Nolan

“No state has an adequate supply of affordable rental housing for low-income renters,” according to a 2023 report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. This affects families of color at a disproportionate rate.

Blacks, Native Americans, and Latinos are more likely than their white counterparts to be “very low-income renters—with income at or below the poverty level or 30% of the median income in their area—and who experience a severe lack of affordable resources.” And the available homes.”

The housing gap is a severe problem, with only 33 affordable rental homes available for every 100 renters who need access to low-income rental properties. This results in a housing shortage of more than 7.3 million rental homes for families below or at the federal poverty line.

But, in the midst of this affordable housing crisis, Moody Nolan, the nation’s largest Black-owned and -operated architecture firm and winner of the 2021 American Institute of Architects Architectural Firm of the Year Award, is stepping in to find a solution.

As Moody Nolan partner and housing director Yanitza Brongers-Marrero, FAIA, NOMA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C, LEED For Homes, told ESSENCE: “Our firm is driven by the desire to create more visibility around the nation’s homelessness and affordable housing crisis, and the truth is Underserved and historically neglected populations are most at risk.

“Not only does the high cost of housing perpetuate the cycle of homelessness, it excludes millions of renters from purchasing a home, limiting their ability to build generational wealth,” Brungers-Marrero continued.

“We realize that architecture and design firms have a role to play here, so we’ve made it our mission to get involved in the work that brings incredible housing opportunities to these communities,” Brungers-Marrero added. “Affordable housing solutions not only provide safe housing, they foster hope, self-esteem, and the opportunity for these underserved populations to thrive. Among our projects in particular, some have helped revitalize distressed neighborhoods, provide otherwise unavailable resources, and create community among their residents.

Moody Nolan’s goal? Create projects dedicated to serving communities that have been historically marginalized or ignored. Project Legacy is one of Moody Nolan’s philanthropic efforts that provides “a fully furnished home to a beneficiary in need in each of the 12 cities in which the company has an office, setting a model for a new approach to corporate giving and our response to affordable aid,” said Brungers-Marrero: Housing Crisis .

“Each home is entirely donor-funded, showcasing Moody Nolan’s guiding principle that architecture has the power to uplift and empower the entire community. “We hope to not only help underserved residents build generational wealth, but Also inspiring others to join us or create their own initiative to help address our country’s housing crisis.”

For marginalized populations, goal-oriented housing represents hope
Courtesy of Moody Nolan

Another project by Moody Nolan that “caters to the needs of women of color.” “As a ‘residential incubator,’ Zora’s House… (provides) the resources and support needed to lead, innovate, and contribute to the community in a meaningful way.” Brongers-Marrero shared how “[i]t is the largest real estate development project by a Black woman-led organization in the Midwest, and the only coworking space for women of color in Ohio. The site was previously home to a corner store that became a magnet for crime, so Zora’s House’s control of the plot of land indicates the neighborhood’s resilience.

Ultimately, “[a]ffordable housing solutions can come in different forms, depending on the population you hope to serve,” says Brungers-Marrero. “At Moody Nolan, we practice responsive design, combining empathetic listening with innovative thinking to create harmony between client, community and environment.”

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