Bank of America donates 2,000 vacant homes to Habitat for Humanity

by: Scott Wickersham Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - It's the largest property donation Habitat for Humanity has ever received. Bank of America is giving Habitat up to 2,000 vacant homes.

Eyewitness News was with Rob Mayoko as he got a look inside his new home Wednesday in Charlotte's Steele Creek area.

"I like the area. It's really quiet." Mayoko said.

He had to volunteer 250 hours and still has to pay a mortgage, but with no interest.

He said it's a small price to pay for his American dream.

It's happening because others' American dreams fell through.

Bank of America is giving the homes to Habitat as part of the penalty the bank is paying under a mortgage settlement.

"We're going to go in with our repair crews and bring them up to code." said Phil Prince with Charlotte's Habitat.

The organization has already received three of the homes.

"We can get a homeowner in a home a lot more quickly that way than when we start from scratch." Prince said.

This home is bonus for Mayoko. It has a fireplace, high ceilings -- something Habitat-built homes don't get -- and a garage.

"I got a garage over there. It's too big. The kids can play over there. Play outside. I got space." Mayoko said.

"All donations are provided from Bank of America's portfolio of vacant real estate owned properties, whether through foreclosure, deed-in-lieu or other events," stated Bank of America on the home donation. "Unfortunately, some homeowners faced with unemployment, underemployment and other economic hardships have transitioned to alternative housing situations. In many cases, they have walked away from their homes, leaving behind vacant and deteriorating properties that can cause neighborhood blight for extended periods before they enter the REO iinventory. By turning vacant properties over to Habitat for reuse, we can help protect residents and communities from the dangers and economic damage posed by resulting blight and help stabilize and revitalize these neighborhoods."