Habitat Greenville adds Fields as first Vice President of Equity

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(Greenville, SC) – Habitat for Humanity of Greenville’s first Vice President of Equity brings decades of community service leadership to new role. A Michigan native who grew up in Greenville, Joseph Fields is charged with leading a new Habitat program to increase Black homeownership in the greater Greenville County by building partnerships and raising awareness.

“Greenville has made tremendous strides with addressing the affordable housing crisis in our community in the past few years, but we still lag far behind national averages when it comes to Black homeownership,” Fields said. “Habitat Greenville’s goal is to help fix that.

A graduate of Chaminade University, Fields served as Paraprofessional Program Aid for the Blue Ridge Council of the Boy Scouts of America from 2009 to 2014; as an Outreach and Education for Maryland-based Pathways, a youth services program, from 2014 to 2016; and then worked in Hawaii’s state’s probation office as a Social Services Assistant from 2016 to 2019.

From 2019 to 2021, he worked for the Georgia Department of Corrections before taking a job working in New Mexico as a U.S. Border Patrol Agent. He returned to Greenville in 2022 to work as a community organizer with Greenville Connects, a group that promotes better transportation options.

“Joseph brings a wide variety of experiences to Habitat for Humanity,” said Monroe Free, President and CEO of Habitat Greenville. “His enthusiasm and skills make him a great person to roll out the Advancing Black Homeownership Project.”

As part of the program, a steering committee including Rev. Stacey Mills, pastor of Mountain View Baptist Church and Executive Director of Greenville Race Equity and Economic Mobility Commission, Rev. Sean Dogan, pastor of Long Branch Baptist Church, Greenville Mayor Knox White, Tamela Spann, vice president of investments for Hollingsworth Funds and Samantha Wallace, Upstate Market Executive for Bank of America, will aid Fields and Habitat.

Habitat Greenville is one of 20 affiliates nationwide selected for the program. Highlights of this new program will include:

  • Development of a racial-equity lending strategy and property acquisition fund through Habitat Mortgage Solutions, the agency’s community development financial institution.
    Financial coaching and counseling for applicants along their homeownership journey, whether they become Habitat homeowners or not.
  • Research and measurement efforts to identify best practices in areas such as housing innovation, preserving home affordability, and exploring how new and existing programs lead to better outcomes for individuals and families.
  • Advocacy for policy proposals and legislation that enable millions of people access to affordable homes through Cost of Home, Habitat’s U.S. advocacy campaign.

Across the country, Black families are less likely to own their own homes than white families. During Habitat’s 45-year history, their work has helped close that homeownership gap as Black homeowners made up 43% of the families who partnered to build with Habitat in Fiscal Year 2021. However, in Greenville County, as throughout the country, there is a significant racial inequity in homeownership overall.

Michael Bailey, a trailblazer in the field of photojournalism and a profound political writer, possesses the exceptional ability to distill complex political issues into accessible narratives that resonate with readers of all backgrounds. As the vanguard of the editorial team, Michael not only serves as a new media correspondent but also showcases his distinct talent as a photojournalist. His portfolio is a testament to his expertise in crafting news stories and intimate profiles that vividly portray the cultural, social, economic, and political journeys of minorities, both in South Carolina and beyond. With a rich tapestry of experience spanning media, business, and politics, Michael has emerged as a highly regarded voice and a sought-after commentator, offering invaluable insights into the challenges faced by people of color.

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