I've had a few people ask me what he's been promoted to, so I thought I'd explain.
I'm so proud of Craig for getting his promotion and it's so very much deserved by someone that works as hard as he does. I'm also proud of the work he does. I should say first, that I think most peoples' jobs are contributions to the greater good in some way. I say that to point out that I don't think you have to do expressly charitable work to enhance the good of your community. That being said, Craig's job is especially beneficial to our community and to the people he serves and I'm always impressed with how much it changes lives.
He works for an organization called United Housing. Their mission is to buy foreclosed homes, rehab them, and then resell them to low-income families at affordable prices. That's just the bones of the operation, though. What you have to know is that Memphis has a foreclosure rate that is much higher than most of the country, and always has, even before the housing bubble burst. We live in a city with a very high number of its citizens living well below the poverty line. The number of high school graduates is extremely low, and the unemployment rate is astronomical. Obviously, this creates a vast number of problems, but one is that most of the population is financially illiterate, which leads to the huge numbers of foreclosures. Unfortunately, there has also been a lot of predatory lending here. United Housing is able to get individuals and families into nice, safe homes that have been equipped with new and working amenities that are their own. They do this through federal and state grant money, as well through traditional fundraising.
In order to qualify, the buyer must be below a certain income level, have two years of employment, and meet some credit requirements (these aren't nearly the same as the bank standards). Then, they're required to go through a process of credit counseling and home buyer education for first time home owners. United Housing has a variety of ways to help people finance their homes and has an incredible success rate with the families they've helped. They're able to get people into their own homes who wouldn't otherwise qualify for a mortgage, at a reduced monthly payment and with an education on financial responsibility. Not only do the families get the satisfaction of homeownership, but they also are getting improved neighborhoods. Through their work, United Housing has changed the face of some areas of Memphis by moving families in that are responsible and take pride in their homes and by improving the curb appeal of so many neglected houses.
Craig started with UH as an intern while he was still in grad school until he was hired on full-time. His job to this point has been to administer a federal grant called the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, or NSP. UH received $4 million dollars and it has been Craig's job to administer that grant money and oversee the purchase of the houses bought. It's never been done in Memphis before through that program, and United Housing has become one of the national models for successful administration of this particular federal program. Craig even published a manual on its administration and learned at a conference in D.C. that it's being used around the country by other housing non-profits.
His recent promotion is equally unchartered territory for United Housing. He's now the Development Director. While he'll continue to administer the NSP grant through September, he's now stepped into a role that requires a lot more. He'll be responsible for all the fund raising, programs, and the continued development of UH in Memphis. He's hoping to expand their capabilities significantly by securing corporate sponsorship. His ideas would bring more money to UH to help more neighborhoods and would also get the name out more in the community to get even great local support. He has some great plans for a possible partnership with a bank to mutually benefit the bank through mortgages, while receiving their support from advertisement, etc. He has essentially written his own job description and is venturing out into brand new territory in the area.
One of the best things about his job is his close relationship with his boss. They're really in sync and Craig has learned so much from him. His boss is entrusting Craig with a huge responsibility with this promotion, but he obviously has the utmost confidence in him, and so do I.
I know this was long, but what they do is hard describe in one sentence. It's also only my description. I hope it's all accurate! Maybe Craig can leave a comment if there are any corrections that need to be made. A sincere thank you to everyone who's congratulated him and us on this new job. We're so very excited!