Work/Live Model Provides Additional Approach to Neighborhood Revitalization 

FLINT, Mich. – May 13, 2014 – Small business owners Scott Hempel and Tyler Bienlein will soon have a new simple, affordable space for their tabletop gaming store where they will work and live. Today, Habitat for Humanity and MasterCard will launch an innovative pilot program that connects affordable housing and small business development.

Supporting Small Business

Supporting Small Business

The work/live model breaks new ground in Habitat for Humanity’s Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative by pairing its homeownership program with small business development.  In partnership with low-income families who manage home-based businesses, Habitat can build homes with functional living and business spaces, offering increased employment and income opportunities for potential homeowners.

“This new program is helping our dreams become reality,” said Bienlein. “We are grateful to Habitat for Humanity International and MasterCard for supporting us and other small business owners like us.”

“We are also appreciative of Genesee County Habitat for Humanity for their willingness to be creative and innovative in addressing the need for job creation,” added Hempel.

Based on the success of an initial effort by Genesee County Habitat for Humanity, the pilot program offers Habitat affiliates that participate in the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative an opportunity to apply for five grants that will help fund research, training and work/live builds in their own communities.

“Habitat has been committed to addressing affordable housing issues and to partnering with other organizations to find solutions for related community challenges in cities throughout the nation,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “We are grateful to partner with MasterCard on this new initiative.”

The MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth is providing a $400,000 grant to fund the construction of Habitat homes for home-based businesses and increase the organization’s capacity to replicate the model.

“Small businesses are a key driver of economic growth and revitalization in communities,” said Eugene DeSilva, senior vice president, global small and medium enterprises, MasterCard. “Together, Habitat and MasterCard seek to expand the program and help Habitat affiliates support their communities in even more meaningful ways.”

Habitat for Humanity’s Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative was launched in 2010 to help its U.S. affiliates as they work to transform neighborhoods using a holistic approach. Through the initiative, Habitat affiliates offer an extended array of housing services and partner with local residents, housing leaders, community groups and businesses to transform neighborhoods and enhance the quality of life in communities.

About Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity International’s vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Anchored by the conviction that housing provides a critical foundation for breaking the cycle of poverty, Habitat has helped more than 4 million people construct, rehabilitate or preserve homes since 1976. Habitat also advocates to improve access to decent and affordable shelter and supports a variety of funding models that enable families with limited resources to make needed improvements on their homes as their time and resources allow. As a nonprofit Christian housing organization, Habitat works in more than 70 countries and welcomes people of all races, religions and nationalities to partner in its mission. To learn more, donate or volunteer visit 

About The MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth

The MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth was created to foster collaborative relationships between academia, governments, nonprofits, the social design community, and the private sector.  Through the advancement of research and strategic philanthropic investments, the Center will support and enable those historically excluded from financial services and serve as a catalyst for change. 

About MasterCard

MasterCard (NYSE: MA),, is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardNewsjoin the discussion on the Cashless Pioneers Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

# # #


Habitat for Humanity                                                                       

Nakia Fowler                                                             



Robyn Cottelli 



Ryan Erenhouse