United Way Day of Caring – Volunteers Rock!

NeighborWorks Rochester was thrilled to be a host site again for this year’s Day of Caring event sponsored by the United Way of Greater Rochester! For the third straight year, the Harris Corporation sent a team of

Harris Corporation team
Harris Corporation team

volunteers to our not-for-profit organization. Once again, this incredible team was extremely helpful in tackling many building and yard projects, making our organization look it’s best for our customers, neighbors, and partners. Led by Dana Colbert, the group spent time weeding and spreading mulch throughout our entire property. They patched parking lot potholes, cleaned windows and appliances, and also did some painting for us. No project was too grimy or gritty for them, and they did it all with a smile! We look forward to seeing them every year!! Some of our NeighborWorks staff worked side-by-side with the Harris team, while others tackled large projects indoors! I can’t thank The Harris Corporation and NeighborWorks Rochester Teams enough for beautify our landscape inside and out!

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Canandaigua National Bank honored at 2017 Annual Meeting

NeighborWorks® Rochester presented its Partner of the Year Award at its 2017 Annual Meeting, held March 29th at the agency. The event was a celebration of a year of services provided to new and current homeowners i

Executive Vice President, Brian Pasley, accepts the award on behalf of Canandaigua National Bank from NeighborWorks Rochester Executive Director Joanne Panarisi-Bottone and Board President, Matthew McDermott
Executive Vice President, Brian Pasley, accepts the award on behalf of Canandaigua National Bank from NeighborWorks Rochester Executive Director Joanne Panarisi-Bottone and Board President, Matthew McDermott

n the Rochester area, as well as an opportunity to recognize individuals and organizations that were significant supporters.

 

Executive Vice President Brian Pasley accepted the Partner of The Year Award on behalf of Canandaigua Bank. “As an approved Federal Home Loan Bank of NY (FHLBNY) Community Lender, Canandaigua National Bank has continued to take an active role in showing support through contributions and volunteering, and is in complete alignment with NeighborWorks® Rochester’s mission to provide housing solutions as a foundation for individuals, families and neighborhoods to build vibrant communities,” stated Joanne Panarisi-Bottone, NeighborWorks Rochester Executive Director. “We’re excited to continue to grow in our partnership,” she added.

The Volunteer of the Year Award recognized long-time volunteer Ellie MacLeod, of Penfield.  Ms. Panarisi-Bottone said of her, “Pla

Volunteer of the Year, Ellie MacLeod
Volunteer of the Year, Ellie MacLeod

nning, organizing, hustling sponsors, setting up, delivering… she’s done it all…Through her dedicated volunteer efforts, Ellie has made our world a better place.”

 

Guests at the event heard about the impact of the previous year, including that close to 500 families and individuals were impacted by NeighborWorks® Rochester’s services in 2016.  At least 109 individuals were able to realize their dream of homeownership because of the organization’s Home Buyer education services and 97 homeowners received home energy audits and access to financing programs for energy and money savings. In addition, close to $821,000 was invested in the community in the form of down payment assistance, home improvements and home energy improvements.

Want to get started on your path to becoming a homeowner? Four tips that will help you navigate the home buying process.

 

With the holidays over, some people are gearing up to make their next purchase – a home. The homebuying season is in full swing. Below are four tips you can share to help consumers make the best homeownership first time homeownerchoice in 2017: strengthen their credit, shop wisely for a mortgage, choose the right house and negotiate the best price.

  1. Strengthen your credit score before looking for a mortgage. The majority of people don’t know their credit score until they begin to look for a home or a mortgage. Since finding the right house takes an average of one to three months, it could pay off to use the time to strengthen your credit score, especially if it means getting a lower mortgage rate. The benefit varies from lender to lender, but a strong credit score can cut as much as half a percent from your rate. A NeighborWorks® Rochester Housing Advisor can provide guidance on what to do to boost your credit score while shopping for a home.
  1. Shop around for the best mortgage. Not every lender offers the same mortgage rate, so shopping around is essential. Yet, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, nearly half of people who apply for a mortgage don’t shop around. The price of failing to do so can be quite significant after several years. As important as it is to obtain the best mortgage rate, it’s also crucial to be aware of fees charged by mortgage lenders. These fees go by various names—another reason to work closely with a NeighborWorks® Rochester Housing Advisor throughout the process.
  1. Choose your house carefully. With a mortgage-approval letter in hand, it’s time to find your home. A market with low housing supply requires a buyer to look for a “diamond in the rough”—a not-so-perfect house that could be rehabbed to make it suitable. That doesn’t you should settle for a house that doesn’t meet your basic needs. Keep your list of must-haves front and center, but make sure they are not really “nice-to-haves.”
  1. Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate. If real estate is location, location, location, then homebuying is negotiate, negotiate, negotiate. Unless you’re buying in the most heated and competitive markets, there is always room for negotiation. Here’s where selecting the right real estate agent pays off. Whether it’s the price of the house—probably the most important item to negotiate—the portion of closing costs to be paid or whether a warranty for major appliances is included, presenting the seller with a list of requests is important. Remember, the seller wants to sell and you want to buy. Home purchases that are mutually beneficial are made in the middle.

The path to your first home can be stressful and confusing. Following these tips and working with the team at NeighborWorks® Rochester will help you successfully find your “home sweet home.” Get started, and learn even more great tips, by attending one of our free monthly Homebuyer Orientations. Sign up on our website.

NeighborWorks® Rochester Helps Bring Free Solar to Triangle Family

Since 2014, NeighborWorks® Rochester’s Healthy Blocks Initiative has been active in The Triangle neighborhood of North Winton Village, working to improve property conditions, neighborhood image, and resident engagement. Part of the work of Healthy Blocks has been focused on making the neighborhood greener through various projects: tree plantings, clean sweeps, free home energy assessments through Green Jobs/Green New York, connecting residents with loans and grants for energy improvements through New York State’s EMPOWER and Assisted Home Performance programs, and more! Since 2014, NeighborWorks® Rochester has helped neighbors invest more than $63,000 in environmentally-friendly energy improvements in the Triangle neighborhood alone. NeighborWorks® Rochester has also shown a commitment to bringing renewable energy to the City of Rochester and Monroe County. Our organization partnered with ROCSPOT on its last two Solarize the Flower City campaigns, which held public solar orientations and helped hundredboswell-familys of Rochesterians sign up for free solar audits.

During this time, NeighborWorks® Rochester was able to partner with the Rochester Area Community Foundation, NeighborWorks® America, and GRID Alternatives to fund and implement 5 free rooftop solar installations to low-to-moderate-income families in the City of Rochester. This pilot program, the first of its kind in the City of Rochester, also includes a workforce development portion, where students in community college solar programs can participate in the installation of the panels and earn a certificate that indicates real job experience to potential employers. Using this model, the first two installations were completed on City homes in November of 2015.

At the close of 2016, NeighborWorks® Rochester celebrated the third installation—on a home in its very own Healthy Blocks neighborhood! Julie and Pat Boswell—pictured with baby Carey and pup Ava—received their 10 solar panels on December 21st from installers they describe as efficient and professional. The panels, which have a lifespan of 20 years, will save the Boswells $40/month in utility bills. Combined with the energy-efficiency improvements they received through the EMPOWER program, their monthly bill will be significantly lowered, helping both the environment and their bottom line. “I never thought this could happen,” says Julie. “I never would have thought this was an option if NeighborWorks® hadn’t reached out to us.”

solar-roofGRID Alternatives is in the process of identifying and scheduling the final two low-mod solar installations, which are slated to be completed by spring of this year.

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Investing in The Triangle through Leadership Training

Part of NeighborWorks® Rochester’s Healthy Blocks program is investing in resident leaders who can work to transform their community from the inside-out. As part of this goal, every year we sponsor a team of residents and City stakeholders to attend NeighborWorks® America’s Community Leadership Institute (CLI), a three-day event focused on training emerging leaders in skills for community organizing and neighborhood revitalization. This year’s attendees were Triangle residents Mikey Rodriguez, Julie Boswell, and Lorna Wright. Stakeholder attendees were: Baye Muhammad, the City’s Commissioner for Neighborhood and Business Development, LaShunda Leslie-Smith from Connected Communities, and Maureen Duggan from Rochester’s Community Design Center.

During the training, attendees took classes on building on community assets, organizing volunteers, marketing your neighborhood, sharing your success stories with the media, and other critical topics taught by experienced and knowledgeable faculty from all over the country. They also had to opportunity to share stories and ideas with other groups. In total, 110 teams from the nation – over 1000 participants – attended the event.

As a follow-up to the CLI, NeighborWorks® America provides a small grant opportunity to each team to put a resident-driven community project into action. This year’s team has chosen to pursue painting a community mural on Culver Road, the main gateway street for both The Triangle and Beechwood neighborhoods. The mural will bring the community together, both by addressing residents’ concerns about the street-facing facades of Culver Road commercial spaces and by adding unique and recognizable place-making elements to the The Triangle. Congratulations to all the attendees!

Building Upon the Past

till-fritzschingTill Fritzsching of Rochester, NY, found his new home on Craig’s List three years ago. Although the house was set for demolition by the City of Rochester, he saw the home and felt that it was a metaphor for his own life journey – as he puts it “the home had been through hell, and so had I.”
In 2013, Mr. Fritzsching had hit rock bottom. He was divorced, and no longer employed at the successful mid-west company he had once presided over. His home of the past few years had been a jail cell due to addiction. A physical injury had set him back as well and he ended up living in his mother’s home.
When he first saw the 1920’s era house on Northview Terrace, he knew it had potential, despite years of neglect and trees growing through the roof. The only tenants for years had been rodents. As the building was scheduled for demolition the very next day, the price was affordable. However, there was much work to be done to save it from the wrecking ball.
A neighbor referred him to NeighborWorks® Rochester, as the organization had assisted several other homeowners in the neighborhood. While he had put in a lot of his own sweat-equity, and had to learn to negotiate a labyrinth of homeowner-assistance programs, he still had a long way to go to rehab the home. NeighborWorks® Rochester was able to assist on several fronts.
NeighborWorks® Rochester was able to provide Mr. Fritzsching with resources for lead testing and encapsulation in the his home, garage, and basement, a new roof, gutters and eaves, exterior and interior paint, a new porch. “The house went from the worst on the block to one of the best,” Mr. Fritzsching stated. Also added to the home were new windows and a water heater.

In the past 5 years, NeighborWorks® Rochester has invested $4,784,000 in loans to help 279 homeowners purchase or rehab their home. Many of these loans also had a grant as part of the assistance, which allowed homeowners even more capacity to fix their house, without having to finance all of the expense. NeighborWorks® Rochester will work with customers who may be turned away by traditional lenders due to credit issues or not having enough equity in their home. The organization is a resource to homeowners who may face losing their home or living in disrepair or unhealthy or unsafe conditions.

“NeighborWorks® Rochester left a great taste in my mouth, and was my first choice once my credit was cleaned up. The contractors were great and I’m really satisfied,” Mr. Fritzsching added.
In a neighborhood hard-hit by the city’s decades of manufacturing job loss, his home now stands out as one of the nicest on the street.
Mr. Fritzsching added, “I’m not done yet. I just built myself a new back porch, and it really satisfies me to look at where this house was and where it is now. I consider not only the house but the project as a metaphor for my own life recovery in the sense that I made a commitment to restoring a once beautiful thing, much like my own life, to not necessarily what it was before but rather a recreation of a new vision of what it could be. I believe that the past should always be recognized and the foundation on what we can build, but we should never be limited by it for its own sake. That to me at least, gives me the freedom to not only build upon the past but create a new reality from it.”
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Healthy Blocks Celebrates its Landscaping Contest Winners

NW_hale04NeighborWorks® Rochester is delighted to celebrate the completion of a collaborative home improvement project in The Triangle, its current Healthy Blocks target neighborhood. Late last year, NeighborWorks® Rochester held a raffle contest for all homeowners in The Triangle who had closed on a home improvement loan in 2015. The winners of the raffle, Joyce and Neville Hayle, received $500 from Healthy Blocks for front yard landscaping material, which was matched by in-kind services provided by Broccolo Tree and Lawn Care. This landscape project was completed in August. The Hayle family made use of a NeighborWorks Rochester’s Home Improvement Loan to install a new sidewalk and to rebuild and repaint their porch, among other repairs. Now, with the added landscaping from Broccolo, they can enjoy a well maintained, beautiful home for many years to come.

Laurie Broccolo (pictured with Joyce and Neville left) and her family have been an enormous asset to the work of NeighborWorks® Rochester in The Triangle neighborhood and elsewhere. In addition to doing the work on the Hayles’ house, they contributed time and resources to the St. Mark’s & St John’s EDEN community garden at the entrance of Farmington Park, which produces hundreds of NW_hale02pounds of food per year and is regularly identified by rNW_hale01esidents as an important neighborhood asset.

NeighborWorks® Rochester invested over $150,000 in home improvements in The Triangle neighborhood in 2015.

NeighborWorks® Rochester welcomes new leadership

JPB editedNeighborWorks® Rochester is pleased to announce the appointment of Joanne Panarisi-Bottone, LCSW, as Executive Director. Ms. Panarisi-Bottone is an experienced professional with hands-on team and leadership development, having previously worked at several large area non-profit organizations.

“Joanne has significant non-profit leadership experience and brings knowledge and strength in managing efficiencies and developing employee talent. We are very excited to have her experience managing staff, as well as her high level of passion for the Rochester community,” stated Matthew McDermott, President of the NeighborWorks® Rochester Board of Directors.

Ms. Panarisi-Bottone has a Master’s degree from Syracuse University and earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Nazareth College in Rochester, NY. She is the Board Chair of NCBI Rochester and lives in Rochester with her wife, where they both share a passion for animals. Please join us in welcoming Joanne to the NeighborWorks® Rochester team!

Grant from Chase Bank to Support Financial Capabilities

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NeighborWorks® Rochester is pleased to announce that they are the recipient of a $20,000 grant from Chase in support of its Financial Capabilities Program. The grant is part of the firm’s commitment to support innovative new products and services that leverage technology and insights from design and behavioral science to help consumers increase savings, improve credit and build assets. This investment will support NeighborWorks® Rochester in assisting low- and middle-income individuals within the Greater Rochester area, assisting them in improving their financial situations through structured education and strategic coaching. The program will help clients to increase savings account balances, improve credit scores and decrease debt load. Currently, more than 40% of NeighborWorks® Rochester’s clients are single female head of households.

“Through the use of improved technology, also funded by Chase, we’ve been able to identify those individuals who need coaching and have expressed the interest to succeed with their financial goals, but could use additional support in taking the next step toward changing their lives,” said Joanne Panarisi-Bottone, Executive Director of NeighborWorks® Rochester. “We’re extremely pleased to partner with Chase, utilizing an innovative approach to provide those in need with the tools and resources necessary for achieving personal financial success. In turn, this will also help to build strong neighborhoods in the Rochester community by providing educated, financially-stable, long-term homeowners.”

“The more we can do to increase the number of financially healthy people in our communities, the more we’ll see our communities thrive,” said Matthew Tipple, Market Executive, Middle Market Banking at JPMorgan Chase & Co. “We are proud to partner with NeighborWorks Rochester and support their essential work to help improve consumer financial health in Rochester.”

The support of community partners like Chase allows NeighborWorks® Rochester to continue to provide financial education services and more. Thank you to our friends at Chase Bank.

Healthy Blocks Announces its Bike Rack Artists!

www.ssrphotography.com
www.ssrphotography.com

MSA Logo

NeighborWorks® Rochester is thrilled to announce the local artists who have been chosen to design four bike racks to be installed in The Triangle of North Winton Village this August, via the Healthy Blocks Neighborhood Initiative Program! The goals of this project are to create bike parking where there currently is none, to improve access to the businesses located at the apex of the Triangle neighborhood, and to enhance the neighborhood’s unique image. Two of the racks will be fabricated by MetalSomeArt, a collaboration of Clay Lieberman and Matty Soanes, and two will be created by Jesse Hughson, Skillhoarder and creator of CyrCraft Customs. These racks will installed by the City of Rochester in four strategic locations in the business district area of Culver-Merchants.

Beer Stein MSAMetalSomeArt was founded by Matty and Clay (pictured top) in 2013, though both have a decade of metal fabrication experience. Operating from their workshop on E Main, they create handmade belt buckles, metal-plated leather journals, custom sculptures, and more. Recently, they designed and constructed the trophy to be given to the winner of Rochester Real Beer Week’s “Best New Beer of 2015” (pictured right). Matty and Clay’s racks (without giving away the surprise!) will incorporate minimalist, industrial, functional and modern design concepts.

Immanuel Baptist Bike RackJesse Hughson lives in Beechwood and is an artist who specializes in metal fabrication, prototyping, sculptural work, CNC machining, electronics, woodworking, and more. Through CyrCraft Customs, he builds, engraves and adds LEDs to Cyr Wheels, a specialized type of full-body gymnastics equipment. His past work also includes a bike rack he built for Immanuel Baptist Church on Park Avenue (pictured left). His fabrications for the Triangle will bring creativity and life into the area.

Healthy Blocks looks forward to the completion of this project and the increased aesthetic appeal and bicycle traffic it will bring to The Triangle!