There are people living in horrible homes or apartments in Memphis.
They are the people who are in poverty, and living in poverty is a challenge.
It’s not much living, so when the Church of God in Christ announced a project called Mason on 4th, people listened.
77 homes, because that’s what they will be, are going up near the historic Mason Temple.
Mayor Jim Strickland says he likes what he sees when looking at Mason on 4th.
“It affords good quality affordable housing,” the mayor says. “We’ve made tremendous strides providing thousands of housing units in Memphis and we’re going to continue that.”
For those who feel the city gives away too much when trying to bring the Church of God in Christ Convocation to Memphis, it is not just a one-way street.
COGIC and a private company guided the Mason Homes on 4th street from the drawing board to reality.
“This project is not just bricks and mortar,” says private developer Saki Middleton. “It’s about providing housing to the most economically vulnerable families in the City of Memphis.”
This is not the typical low-income housing that you might be thinking about.
Sometimes to break the stranglehold that poverty has on people, they need to be reminded that they are individuals, not just a group lumped together.
Dr. Lula Ballton is Community and Economic Development Director for COGIC.
The philosophy behind Mason Homes on 4th Street is easy, she says.
“Make these homes individual homes,” she said. “Everybody has a door to the outside. It’s their home. Everybody has a porch or patio, and everybody has a parking space.”
The Church of God in Christ has reached out to the poor in Memphis before.
“By the Grace of God,” says COGIC Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, “… our church has been able to truly demonstrate servant leadership to so many people in this community and others.”
COGIC officials pointed out 73 years ago they made a promise to Memphis. The property, West of the Mason Temple, would be for low and moderate housing. As Bishop Blake pointed out, “Promises made. Promises kept.”