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Living Inside the Box

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By Lisa Harrison Rivas

Local entrepreneur aims to bring more shipping container homes to S.A.

It’s no secret that in San Antonio and much of the nation home prices are on the rise. Affordability is an issue in many communities, and this has led to thinking outside of the box when it comes to creating housing that is both affordable and appealing. The tiny house option is one way some are downsizing their living space as well as their debt. Shipping container homes are another unique dwelling option.

Though not a new concept, these homes are not common in the San Antonio area, but master designer Anya K. Bartay wants to change that. She has designed a house on the East Side using two shipping containers, and she also can incorporate several of the 40′ x 8′ containers to build a multi-level home that’s as big as a traditional house. The base price for a 2,000 square-foot home is around $220,000.

Her love of design and architecture began when she was a child. She spent part of her childhood in Panama and said that experience helped her appreciate the value of what we have in the United States.

She also credits her life in Panama with spurring the creation of Project N.O.A.H which stands for Net Zero Affordable Housing. Bartay stresses she is not designing government housing but housing that is affordable.

One of the homes she designed sits on the East Side and will become an Airbnb rental so that people can see what a shipping container home is like before they buy one. And soon, Bartay and her family will move into a container home she is building in Northeast San Antonio. It will be a model home she and her family will be living in for a year to provide data on how the house impacts the environment.

“We’re going to work with UTSA, CPS, Eco Central on monitoring all of the systems that are going to be implemented in that house. The solar, the rainwater collection to see how much is real, how much we use. To see how less of an impact we create with that house.”

Bartay recently discussed her plans to bring more shipping container homes to San Antonio.

Q: What are you working on right now?

A: I’m working on a partnership with a factory that is already building shipping container homes to facilitate my need for the construction and to help them with their need for sales. We do have a subdivision that we have in mind. The owners of that property (on the Southside) said they will give us the land and we will create a neighborhood.

Q: Why would someone choose to buy a shipping container home?

A:  The first thing is safety. The container is resistant to tornados, hurricanes, torrential winds. Lots of construction won’t withstand those different disasters.

Q: How do people react to your project?

A: When I give them a proper understanding of what container homes could look like, their reaction is wonderful.

Q:  How did you become interested in building shipping container homes?

A: What I did was start doing searches and finding out what would be acceptable to present to people I worked with who needed a little bit of financial assistance getting their architectural needs met. So, shipping containers came up.

Q: Have you talked to city officials?

A:  I have presented this to Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Calvert Jr., Senator Jose Menéndez, Neighborhood Housing Services of America and SAHA. And they’ve all agreed to using it.

Q: So how did you get training to build these homes?

A:  Once I had a nonprofit ask me about my designs, and then I got an investor. I looked up the details on YouTube and I put them into practice and started doing the work myself. I’ve been drawing it for years, so it’s just doing it now.

Q: Describe your style

A: I have 75 percent masonry on the outside and all the different means that everyone has for permanent housing. We are embedded into the foundation. And one of the biggest things is that we provide a thermal insulation coating and a rust-o proof coating for the container so that we avoid mold or any kind of disease.

Q: How much would a basic container home cost?

A: $110 a square foot (40-foot long containers are used). We have closing costs and money down assistance for an FHA or conventional loan.

Q: What type of foundation do the homes have?

A: We can do piers if you have elasticity in the soil. And you can do a regular slab on grade if you have nice solid bedrock.

Q: How long does it take to complete?

A: It should take no more than three months, but we’re going to be striving for one and a half. Most of the construction happens in one day. If it’s a custom, we’ll say three to six months.

Q: What are some of the things you can do to customize a container home?

A: Instead of sheetrock, you may want to use wood paneling, or put brick on the outside, or have an accent wall. You can do a lot of different variations of finishes.

Q: Do you help clients come up with a design?

A:  We try to help get the psychology behind the client’s needs and implement it into the design.


Lisa Harrison Rivas is a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Don Johnson Realtors. If you are planning to buy or sell, feel free to contact her at 210-380-9006 or 
lhrivas@realsa.com

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Black Women & Stress

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Stress, Depression & Anxiety: An Escalating Epidemic For Professional Black Woman

Nationwide — Half of black American women report that they experience severe stress, while only a quarter of Caucasian women in the US report extreme stress. Research indicates that black women are also more likely to experience major depression and anxiety disorders, and Black women’s symptoms are more severe than those of their white counterparts.

In addition, African American woman are disproportionally affected by stress-related diseases like hypertension, obesity and Type 2 Diabetes. Dr. Adwoa Akhu, an expert in stress management, shows women of color how to stop running on empty so they can think, feel, and live better, with increased joy and decreased stress.

“The first step toward alleviating the heavy weight carried by the ‘strong black woman’, as well as addressing the resulting mental and physical damage, is the practice of self-care,” explains Dr. Akhu, a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and founder of the Redefining the Strong Black Woman movement.

Dr. Akhu says that black woman can reduce their stress levels and increase joy by incorporating the following three tools into their hectic lives:

* Focusing on gratitude

* Learning to meditate

* Engaging in daily self-care

Dr. Akhu’s new book, Cultivating Inner Peace: A Sustainable System for Professional Black Women, documents her simple to follow, time tested, powerful system. Cultivating Inner Peacemakes it easy to draw in the positive, clear out the negative, and use even small windows of time to foster mindfulness, clarity, and joy in our daily lives, which will lead to better relationships with ourselves and others.

Cultivating Inner Peace is:

* A practical system: it provides maximum insight in minimum time from brief, specially formatted chapters that make it easy for busy people to consume in just a few minutes at a time.

* Spiritually based and supported by science: powerful spiritual wisdom that is validated by psychological research.

* Easy to relate to: Dr. Akhu includes examples from her personal experience as well as stories from people she has helped to illustrate real-world applications of the program.

Dr. Akhu is an author, speaker, and former president of the NY Association of Black Psychologists who regularly teaches NYPD Hostage Negotiators about mental health and mental illness. She is a master workshop facilitator, offering topics such as: Redefining What it Means to be a “Strong Black Woman,” Working on Empty: The Antidote for Secondhand Stress, and Rewiring the Brain to Combat Stressful Involuntary Bias. Dr. Akhu is also a wife and mother of two girls.

Learn more at http://www.drakhu.com

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NFL – Roc Nation Partnership

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New York, NY – Roc Nation announced it has entered into a long-term partnership with the National Football League as the league’s official Live Music Entertainment Strategists. The partnership will begin as the NFL’s 100th season kicks off and will serve as a commitment from Roc Nation and the NFL to nurture and strengthen community through music and the NFL’s Inspire Change initiative.

Roc Nation will spearhead and advise on the selection of artists for NFL tentpole performances, including the Super Bowl, and will assist in the production and promotion of new music as well as culture- and cause-focused initiatives.  

A core component of the partnership will be to amplify the Inspire Change platform priority areas identified by NFL Players, including Education and Economic Advancement, Improving Police-Community Relations, and Criminal Justice Reform.

 “With its global reach, the National Football League has the platform and opportunity to inspire change across the country,” said Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter. “Roc Nation has shown that entertainment and enacting change are not mutually exclusive ideas – instead, we unify them. This partnership is an opportunity to strengthen the fabric of communities across America.”

Roc Nation and the NFL will work together to create and distribute music content across multiple music streaming services for a variety of initiatives. Roc Nation will work alongside the league with artists to curate the richness of football culture nationwide. Content initiatives may include a Live Visual Album, “Songs of the Season” original music, archived and current content from live NFL music events and artist podcasts.

“Roc Nation is one of the most globally influential and impactful organizations in entertainment,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “The NFL and Roc Nation share a vision of inspiring meaningful social change across our country. We are thrilled to partner with Roc Nation and look forward to making a difference in our communities together.”

Roc Nation will also consult and collaborate on various aspects of production, promotion, marketing, and communications for live music events and related activations, which include new endeavors such as Songs of the Season and a Pro Bowl Community Concert.

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We Buy Black Convention

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Black Consumers and Sellers Gear Up For Historic We Buy Black Convention

The second annual event plans to honor the enslaved Africans who arrived in 1619, and reclaim the power of Black commerce.

Attendees and founders of We Buy Black convention

This August marks 400 years since the first Africans reached the shores of Jamestown, Virginia where they were auctioned for sale as slaves. In remembrance of this historic event, one millennial entrepreneur is planning a different kind of sale – one that he hopes will impact the next 400 years of African-American history.

On Aug. 23-25, 2019, over 120 Black-owned vendors and consumers will gather at the second-annual We Buy Black Convention in Atlanta at the Georgia International Convention Center. There will be Black-owned companies selling everything from soaps and shea butter to laundry detergent, bed linens, and toothbrushes. While the items themselves may represent the routines of everyday life, event organizer and founder of e-commerce site WeBuyBlack.com, Shareef Abdul-Malik says that the impact of this singular commercial event has significance beyond its surface. 

“This year’s convention is deeper on a lot of levels because our people were brought to this country to be bought and sold,” said Abdul-Malik. “So, not only are we honoring our ancestors and how their struggle for freedom and justice got us where we are today, but we’re also reclaiming the effects of capitalism that enslaved us in the first place.”

At just 27, Abdul-Malik is already a veteran when it comes to connecting Black consumers with Black-owned businesses, but he hopes this convention will help get the Black community excited about the wide variety of high-quality products Black businesses have to offer and inspire others to become business owners themselves. 

“Our mission is for the average Black family to be able to easily and efficiently buy everything they want and need from a Black vendor,” Abdul-Malik said. “We’ve been able to help business owners sell and market their goods, but now we need more Black manufacturers.”

With the theme “Setting the Precedent for the Next 400 Years”, the convention will begin with the Inaugural The Next 400 Gala, honoring Yusuf Salaam of the Central Park 5, Mo’Nique the comedian and entertainer, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf who preceded Kaepernick by 20 years and lost his NBA career due to his political stance, and lastly Dr. Key Hallmon of the Village Market ATL. This Gala will be hosted by Derrick Boazman of WAOK 1380 Radio, and Cleveland Councilman Bashir Jones will be the Keynote Speaker. There are only 400 tickets available to attend this Gala that Friday evening.

The weekend includes workshops on business ownership and manufacturing, alongside the vast array of Black-owned products that will be sold. There will also be B2B Speed Consulting Sessions and a “Shark Tank” style pitch competition called Pitch Black.

The event also boasts live performances from national and local recording artists, a Popcorn Competition, and a Children’s Village, where youth participants can engage with Black-owned brands and performers on their own level.

On Sunday, August 25th, The We Buy Black Convention will be the United States satellite location to observe the international moment of silence in commemoration for the 400 years. This weekend will be full of notable moments in our history and it’s definitely something that deserves our participation. 

“Even if you just come to replenish your supply of toothbrushes or get your child a new backpack for school, you’ve contributed to something that will help generations of Black people,” he said. “I think our ancestors would be proud of what we’re trying to do.”

We Buy Black Convention
Aug. 23-25, 2019
Georgia International Convention Center
2000 Convention Center Concourse – Atlanta, GA 30337
Tickets and more information can be found at www.webuyblackconvention.com.

About WeBuyBlack.com

WeBuyBlack.com is the largest online marketplace for Black-owned businesses and individual sellers. By giving Black businesses and sellers access to a diverse, open, and international market, WeBuyBlack stimulates the circulation of wealth among the Black Diaspora and assists Black businesses in providing for families and communities at large.

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