At Tyson Foods, we talk a lot about how to care for our team members and support the communities where we live and work. It’s one of our top priorities. And that means not just providing pathways for professional success but ensuring team members can be successful in all areas of their lives.
That’s why we teamed up with Habitat for Humanity of Omaha in 2021 and invested $250,000 in a pilot housing project. The goal? To help 25 Tyson Foods team members secure stable housing within 12 months. And by stable housing, we mean a home that they own.
“Homeownership really is transformational; it provides stability,” said Habitat for Humanity of Omaha CEO Amanda Brewer. “If you don’t have stability in your housing situation, you really can’t have stability in your life. And how can you come to work with your head fully in the game if you’re worrying about where your kids are going to live?”
The barriers to homeownership can be complex – from limited housing availability and substantial down payments to language challenges, financial hurdles, and an intimidating process with banks and paperwork. Garrett Dolan, senior manager for corporate social responsibility, knew Tyson could help solve these barriers of knowledge and access through a partnership with Habitat Omaha.
“Habitat Omaha agreed to meet the needs of the team members where the team members are,” Dolan said. “If there’s somebody that can’t speak English, they find a translator; if there’s somebody that has bad debt, they’re help them clean it up with a financial plan; if someone doesn’t have a credit score, they’ll help them get a credit score. It’s doing what it takes to help get them to a house.”
We started by bringing resources directly to our team members. The process began with information sessions in our facilities, led by Habitat Omaha employees alongside Tyson chaplains and human resources teams, followed by one-on-one meetings to discuss credit, finances, and set an action plan for getting that team member mortgage ready.
Most of the time, Brewer said, team members just didn’t know where to begin or who to call, so their actions plans gave them clear direction and timelines for next steps. These conversations also helped to build confidence in team members to tackle the complex process of homeownership, knowing they had a wealth of resources and support at their fingertips.
For the 25 team members in the program, mortgage ready includes homeownership counseling and classes, and 100 hours of volunteerism.
The grant helped create three pathways to home ownership specific for Tyson team members, with different pathways to accommodate varying needs:
- A Habitat for Humanity home financed through Habitat Omaha
- A home on the open market with financing through Habitat Omaha.
- A home and financing both through the open market.
“Tyson is on the cutting edge. Employers will have to take a roll in figuring out how to address the housing issues in the community, and Tyson is a pioneer in this,” Brewer said. “This is a model many in Omaha will look to and probably across the country, too.”
It’s a model Dolan aims to renew in Omaha for a second year and, hopefully, replicate with other Habitat for Humanity organizations across the country. It helps our team members live better lives, Dolan said, personally and professionally, and ultimately strengthens our communities.
To date, four team members have moved into their own homes and all others in the program are mortgage ready and house hunting.
The partnership with Habitat Omaha is one of many steps we’re taking to advance our team members and support our communities. Earlier this month, we celebrated with team members in the Pasco, Wash. community to mark the completion of 11 homes built by the Tri-County Habitat for Humanity (TCPHFH). Tyson Foods award TCPHFH a $50,000 grant in 2021 to support home construction and donated food for the block party barbecue.
In May we announced our Commute with Enterprise initiative, a growing ride-share program that provides team members at 26 Tyson Foods facilities with a low-cost way to commute to work.
Later this summer we’ll also be launching our partnership with Guild to expand our existing Upward Academy program, providing free education – master’s, undergraduate and associate degrees, career certificates and literacy and technology fundamentals – for all U.S. team members.
Learn more about our investments in our team members, our communities, and all the ways we’re giving back here.