Unity Builders

by Terry Watson | September 11th, 2012
Unity Builders

Unity Builders Team (Photo by Howard Gaither)

Not only on Sunday mornings you can find Bishop Terry Young preaching the gospel of God, you can find him on any given day and time. As pastor of Morning Star Baptist Church in Burlington, N.C., he has devoted his life to exemplify the mighty works of God and to be an inspiration and blessing to others.

A native of Greensboro, Young obtained his bachelor’s degree in religious philosophy from Shaw University. He also celebrates his marriage to his wife Geneva, of which has produced two sons, Tyler and Joshua. In 2010, the city of High Point Human Relations Commission named him the Humanitarian of the year.

Youngs’ service doesn’t end with his ministry. He is also the founder and president of Unity Builders Inc., a non-profit community development corporation. His main focus is exclusively for charitable and educational purposes. Formed in 1999 as a community outreach initiative from Morning Star, Unity Builders goal was to promote empowerment of home ownership for families with low to moderate incomes. UBI also began with providing low-rent apartments for low resource citizens in their community. They also provided transitional housing with a structured support system for families in crisis situations.

Today, Unity Builders continues to partner with local cities to help stabilize neighborhoods by occupying vacant properties and building new construction. These areas include High Point, Burlington, Blanch, Winston-Salem and Greensboro. Some of the organizations in these cities includes the City of High Point, City of Greensboro, Guilford County Commissioners, North Carolina Community Development Initiative, Smith Reynolds Foundation, North Carolina Rural Center, Wells Fargo Foundation, Wells Fargo REO, Newbridge Bank, First Bank, Carolina Bank, High Point Community Foundation, Triad Apartment Association, Wal-Mart and Self-Help. Additionally, UBI is a CHDO within the cities of High Point and Greensboro.

To qualify for a home built by Unity Builders, one must first be a first-time homebuyer. They must be in the 80 percent income range and attend homebuyer workshops provided by UBI. The average cost of their homes range between $90,000 and $115,000. Young points out that UBI does have standing homes in communities that exceed the low income requirements they have set.

UBI provides different options for new homeowners that consist of being able to buy a very detailed renovation with in a price range of $55K – $75K. After down payment assistance in the amount of $25K, UBI’s clients have the option of purchasing a newly constructed home within the price range of $75K -$95K. They also provide their clients with credit restoration, lease/purchase options, and one-on-one counseling. They have been successful with helping families become homeowners by alleviating credit issues and assisting them with saving for down payments.

UBI also has initiated the Homeownership Assisted Readiness Training program (H.A.R.T.) that is geared to improving the quality of life of their clients. It provides intensive homeownership preparation, job training and job placement assistance, income enhancement, as well as credit and debt counseling. The educational and training components of HART will help families understand how to increase their household’s wealth by managing savings, cultivating financial management skills, and building financial assets.

UBI operates with a staff of five that includes Bishop Young as executive director, he is supported by his wife, Geneva who serves as human resources director, Dontay Mitchell, operations manager, Janella Bush, administrative assistant and Noel Taylor, business development consultant.

Young says that UBI has faced its share of challenges during our country’s recession. Many of his clients are credit challenged. Another hurdle is finding communities where properties are in need of restoration and revitalization. Moving forward he plans to continue to strengthen UBI to do good work and improve living conditions in our communities for a long time to come.

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