By Ukee Washington

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia 76ers are strengthening their commitment to racial equality. The team has awarded a major housing grant to help one local neighborhood.

On Monday, the 76ers announced they gave a $100,000 grant to Clarifi.

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The local housing counseling agency will pour that money into the Sharswood neighborhood to promote homeownership and wealth creation.

The housing grant is designed to complement Sharswood Ridge. The mixed-use, mixed-income development broke ground last fall.

Sharswood is in North Philadelphia. The population is 72% Black. Nearly half the residents live below the poverty line.

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The housing grant will fund counseling to help prevent evictions and foreclosures — counseling for those who have no choice but to leave their homes — and fund home repairs, and in some cases, new homes.

The 76ers say the grant is needed now more than ever.

“As you may know, that’s a part of the city that historically is relatively low-income but it’s appreciating pretty quickly. So we’re just trying to figure out ways that people can stay in place and not be priced out. But then also if they do own a home, how do you hold onto that and use it as a way to build wealth and create an asset for yourself?” 76ers Chief Diversity and Impact Officer David Gould said.

The William Penn Foundation fully matched the 76ers’ grant so now Clarifi has $200,000 to work with.

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Clarifi is already putting the money to work. So far, the grant has helped provide 145 housing counseling sessions in the Sharswood neighborhood.

Ukee Washington