GROWTH by NCRC is breaking ground + barriers through affordable housing

Augustus Payne standing outside his new house.
Augustus Payne outside his first house. (Sophie Higby / Bham Now)

This month, Birmingham, local Augustus Payne, is able to become a first-time homeowner after a $25M revitalization plan between GROWTH by NCRC and the City of Birmingham to provide affordable housing. Keep reading to find out exactly how this was able to happen.


One of the new houses with affordable housing.
Looking forward to seeing this community thrive! (Sophie Higby / Bham Now)

In June of 2021, GROWTH by NCRC began its Ensley development in Oak Hill Community after a $25M agreement with the city to provide affordable housing. Construction began in October, marking out 27 lots. Each house is complete with three bedrooms and 2-2.5 baths with a spacious front and backyard, beginning at $179,900.


Ribbon cutting ceremony for affordable housing.
Ribbon cutting ceremony. (Sophie Higby / Bham Now)

After almost a year of construction, the ribbon cutting ceremony finally began at 9:30AM on Thursday on the former vacant street. Mayor Randall Woodfin addressed the community, sharing why this project is monumental not only in Birmingham, but across the nation.

“The Black-White home ownership gap is higher now than it was in 1968, and until we invest in our Black community by prioritizing affordable housing, the truth is we won’t be able to break that cycle. So, the City of Birmingham is proud of this partnership with NCRC. We’re proud of the commitment that our local banks and other national banks have made, because this partnership is committed to lowering the cost of home ownership; this partnership is committed to removing barriers. This partnership is committed to generating wealth in our city.” 

– Randall Woodfin, Mayor, City of Birmingham

The real Magic City

Tours being given of the new affordable housing.
Tours are given of the new houses. (Sophie Higby / Bham Now)

Ed Gorman, the Executive Director of NCRC spoke–sharing he looked up why Birmingham is called “The Magic City” and discovered it was because of the soil but had to respectfully disagree.

“It’s the people who make Magic City. And this city is magic, because a mayor believed in affordable home ownership enough to say, ‘I want to do this. I’m not going to take no for an answer.’” 

Ed Gorman, NCRC, Executive Director

A new chapter

GROWTH by NCRC creates affordable housing.
GROWTH by NCRC worked to provide affordable housing. (Sophie Higby / Bham Now)

Augustus Payne is the first of many to move into the houses as a new homeowner. Payne walked through his home, overjoyed with the feeling of knowing it’s his.

“It’s an amazing feeling to know that you own a home. You can rent homes, and it’s not yours, but once you purchase one through the city…well, it’s amazing.” 

– Augustus Payne, Home Owner

The City of Birmingham is continuing to work on projects similar to GROWTH by NCRC and other cities around the state are being inspired.

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Sophie Higby
Sophie Higby
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