Jay-Z
**FILE** Jay-Z (Courtesy photo)

EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Landis, the company operating the homeownership program. We regret the error.

Landis, a New York-based company aiming to help renters become homeowners, announced that a group of investors including superstars Jay-Z and Will Smith has contributed $165 million to its program helping renters build credit until they can purchase homes.

Landis buys homes and rents them to clients until they qualify for a mortgage. At that point, the client can buy the property back at a predetermined price up to two years after the initial acquisition.

According to Ebuzztt.com, the model counts as a new spin on a rent-to-own strategy that’s been employed by other companies such as Home Partners of America, which Blackstone Group Inc. agreed to purchase for $6 billion.

“As part of its service, Landis provides coaching for clients on how to manage their finances to improve their credit and save the amount they need for a down payment,” the tech site reported. 

The company’s typical client is a first-time homebuyer with a budget between $110,000 and $400,000, Ebuzztt noted.

The venture is Jay-Z’s latest philanthropic endeavor to help renters. The hip-hop icon and business guru recently teamed with Twitter founder Jack Dorsey to announce a new “Bitcoin Academy” for underserved residents, particularly those in the Marcy Houses in New York’s Brooklyn borough, where the rap pioneer grew up.

The duo announced that the academy would offer one year of in-person and online classes through Sept. 7, only for Marcy residents.

They plan to add other locations for the program designed in collaboration with Crypto Blockchain Plug and Black Bitcoin Billionaire.

Jay-Z and Dorsey said their mission includes providing education and empowering the community with knowledge.

Program participants would receive MiFi devices, a one-year limited data plan and smartphones, if needed. Residents may keep the devices.

Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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