Ex-NBA Star Develops Affordable Housing Program

A former NBA star is giving back to his hometown.

Devean George, who played for the Los Angeles Lakers, has partnered with a former classmate to bring an affordable housing unit to North Minneapolis.

The two have converted a high-traffic area known for crime and violence into a place where people can live, shop and thrive.

“Housing, I believe, is the foundation to doing whatever you want to do,” George told CBS. “If you don’t have stable housing, you’re not worried about education, you’re not worried about eating healthy, you’re not worried about anything else.”

George grew up in the area where the project is being developed. He knows the plight of the people in his community, and his father lives just two blocks from the affordable housing development. He and his childhood friend, architect Jamil Ford, have wanted to rebuild their community for a long time.

Now, they’re making their dream a reality.

The project includes a grocery co-op, meant to address the effects of food deserts in the community. People have to travel miles to a grocery store.

George wants to set up community members to thrive. If they have what they need, they will.

“That’s what people look for when they go live in a neighborhood,” George said. “Where’s my grocery store? Where is my movie theater? Where can we go eat? Where can our kids go play at a park? And this was just a place where there is just housing.”

And he’s not done.

“This is just the start,” George said. “This is just the catalyst of everything that’s going to go on.”

George and Ford say they have plans to build more in this neighborhood.