T.D. Jakes Wanted More Black Folks to Be Home Owners, So He Bought 95 Acres in Atlanta

T.D. Jakes Real Estate Ventures LLC. will build on land that just happens to be beside the Tyler Perry Studios.

The number of Black homeowners in America hovers at 45 percent, compared to 75 percent of white homeowners—a more than 25+ point gap that has persisted since 1960. Renowned minister and author Bishop T.D. Jakes wants to help close that gap. He launched a new initiative pooling together his wealth and resources to make the dream of homeownership a reality for more of us.

T.D. Jakes Real Estate Ventures, LLC. (TDJ REV) aims to make housing more attainable for the Black community. His interest in real estate came from watching his mother, Odith, invest in real estate in his home state of West Virginia. From that moment on, housing affordability and accessibility has been on his radar. Eventually, he said, his mother’s business ventures led to a street being named after her.

“This is organic to me. It’s a part of my DNA and it’s a part of things that I’ve always done. Beyond the communities that we built prior to TDJ REV, it gave me some experience and equity in understanding the crisis that we’re facing,” he said.

Increasing Accessibility

Access to affordable housing is a crisis in our communities. Rent has become unaffordable and, though the housing market has seen a significant decline, inflation has driven up mortgages, per Forbes. TDJ REV plans to build its own development for lease and sale, which will guarantee affordability to people who need housing and desire to own their own home.

The program will offer mixed income housing which Bishop Jakes has found produces the best results in community development. But community development extends well beyond the scope of just building houses and running credit. Jakes tells The Root the program has gathered retail constituents to help build grocery stores and hospitals and ensure that the community isn’t just existing, but living healthily.

“We wanted to create living spaces that included green spaces, biking trails, access to healthier foods and covenants in our properties that protected us from a loan sharks and things that have been as pervasive as cancers eating into the fabric of African American Community,” said Jakes.

The goal is to make the resources we’ve been separated from – due to redlining, segregation and gentrification – available at fingertip level, Jakes said. With the skyrocketing cost of living and stagnant minimum wage, TDJ REV aims to help people support their lifestyles and supply their basic needs.

Eliminating The Fear of Home Ownership

A stigma looms over the idea of homeownership for Black youth, especially given the financial burdens they face coming out of college and entering the workforce. It’s too expensive, seemingly unattainable or most often brings the question, “What am I going to do with a whole house?”

Bishop Jakes provided a simple suggestion: financial literacy.

“Financial education is helpful – it includes understanding the stock market, passive and aggressive streams of income but also understanding that homeownership is the beginning of building generational wealth. One of the things that young people don’t realize – There’s so many things you can do when you own that you can’t do when you rent.”’

Jakes offered the example of owning an Airbnb property to rent out, selling a house for equity or even investing in Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) where you can allocate a percentage of your rent toward owning a building or facility. He said often government or corporate programs fail to reach our community with information on these opportunities. Now, he’s working to deliver the information himself.

“I’m really trying to leverage my entire platform to be a conduit so that we are knowledgeable about what’s out there and we are not afraid of what’s out there. Information moves away fear.”

TDJ REV understands that not all business owners have the financial statements to acquire credit. They also understand not all people in the workforce have a roof over their heads because of similar credit related obstacles. To meet people where they are, TDJ REV is creating a Community Development Financial Institution Fund called “Global Village” to offer resources to people who don’t have perfect credit and relieve Black people of the idea that you have to have perfect credit just to get started.

Breaking Ground

One of the most exciting parts of this program is the TDJ REV’s plans for construction. Bishop Jakes is eyeing to break ground in Atlanta later this year. Specifically, he’s looking to construct on 95 acres of land adjacent to Tyler Perry Studios. These buildings will include single family homes, townhouses and apartments. Jakes said he looks forward to using the development as a model that can be duplicated in other cities.

“We’re due those opportunities and we’re due those chances. We’re also acquiring some pre-existing Malta income facilities (no annual property tax) where it’s feasible to make sure there is a hand up for workforce and underemployed people to have access to adequate living – as well as people who are gainfully employed.”

Bishop Jakes refuses to limit his leadership of Black people within the walls of The Potter’s House Church. He sees a need to elevate people in all areas of life from education to business and uses the knowledge he’s attained to fight against the racial disparities that have set us up to fail.

“We might have a great church service, but we’re not having a great community and we’re not having a great life. Ultimately, my vision is to stand at the epicenter of ministry and marketplace in such a way that not only are we ministering to your spiritual needs but we’re also ministry to your natural needs by forming [partnerships] within marketplace for the upward mobility of people of color,” he said.