JP Morgan Chase receives Partner of the Year Award

 

Ron Sellers and Deborah Johnson of JP Morgan Chase, Kim Brumber of NeighborWorks Community Partners and Maureen Murphy of NeighborWorks Rochester.
Ron Sellers and Deborah Johnson of JP Morgan Chase, Kim Brumber of NeighborWorks Community Partners and Maureen Murphy of NeighborWorks Rochester.

NeighborWorks® Rochester presented its Partner of the Year Award at its 2016 Annual Meeting, held April 7th at the agency. The event was a celebration of a year of services provided to new and current homeowners in the Rochester area, as well as an opportunity to recognize individuals and organizations that were significant supporters.

 JP Morgan Chase was honored as the Partner of The Year in recognition of their collaboration, commitment and leadership. Maureen Murphy, Executive Director of NeighborWorks® Rochester, stated, “We are sincerely appreciative of JP Morgan Chase’s many years of support. They were selected because of the way their corporate culture supports us, allowing us to reach well over 1,000 neighbors in 2015. Whether it is through encouraging Chase employee to volunteer, providing financial support for our first-time homebuyer and financial education programs, their commitment to our team’s excellence with continued training or sponsoring our Annual Event, Chase is the strongest of partners.”

Close to 80 guests at the event heard about the impact of the previous year, including that 400 people attended NeighborWorks® Rochester’s Homebuyer Orientation in 2015.  At least 155 individuals were able to realize their dream of homeownership because of the organization’s Home Buyer Program. The majority of people who received loans used them to help purchase their first home while many existing homeowners were able to obtain funds to repair or upgrade their homes. Individuals who took part in Energy Services programs were able to save, on average, $30-$50 per month. More growth is expected in the coming year.

Ceremony to Kickoff Earth Day Celebration

11884952_465122370314642_1826571326288146815_oCollaboration Helps to Build Healthy Neighborhood 

NeighborWorks® Rochester is pleased to announce that, along with St. Mark’s and St. John’s Episcopal Church and Broccolo Tree and Lawn Care, a ribbon cutting ceremony to kick off Earth Day will be held at the Merchants Road Community Garden. The event will be held on Friday, April 22nd at 10:00AM at the Garden, also known as the Garden of E.D.E.N. II, 622 Merchants Road, Rochester, NY.

The garden is a project initiated and maintained by the St. Mark’s and St. John’s Episcopal Church community with support from FoodLink. Recently, NeighborWorks® Rochester secured a grant from the Rochester Area Community Foundation for the Merchants Road Community Garden for enhancements, including a shed and garden tools as part of their Healthy Blocks Neighborhood Initiative.

The garden is located within Rochester’s Triangle Neighborhood of North Winton Village. This community is the focus of the Healthy Blocks program, which seeks to stimulate changes that restore and sustain neighborhood pride and confidence by working together with residents, businesses, and landlords.

In addition, NeighborWorks® Rochester coordinated with the City of Rochester to remove and replace existing features like the entryway pillars, signs, and fencing. Broccolo Tree & Lawn Care has provided technical assistance and additional resources to create landscaping at the garden that promotes the plant and animal life while making the space more inviting.

Maureen Murphy, Executive Director of NeighborWorks® Rochester stated, “This garden is a perfect example of a cooperative effort of residents, merchants, businesses and the city to enhance a neighborhood that is in transition. The collaboration of all the parts will work to strengthen civic involvement, pride in the community and encourage reinvestment. We were especially thankful to St. Mark’s and St. John’s and Broccolo for partnering with us to make this garden a successful neighborhood project, which provides benefits beyond the growing season.“

“It was our pleasure to be involved with the Garden of E.D.E.N,” said Laurie Broccolo, President of Broccolo Tree and Lawn Care. “We want to help educate the community about growing food, including the plants that attract pollinators, which are necessary for success. Connecting people to nature is a personal passion and goal for me. Helping our community to enjoy the benefits of gardening and growing plants is near and dear to my heart.”

Last year, close to 850 pounds of produce was harvested from The Merchants Road Community Garden, with a portion of the harvest going to a local food bank. Local residents who volunteered received a $5 voucher each time they volunteered at the garden, to be used at any local farmer’s market.

 

NeighborWorks® Rochester Proud to be Part of Solarize the Flower City Campaign

RocSpot logoROCSPOT, an organization devoted to the implementation of solar technology to create jobs and reduce poverty in Rochester, announced today that that Solarize the Flower City 2016 is one of 31 Solarize campaigns across the State beginning this spring. Solarize the Flower City 2016 will kick off with a launch event on March 20, where local and state leaders will come together to celebrate with ROCSPOT, NeighborWorks® Rochester and other partners, and the local community. Governor Cuomo announced the program awards on February 19, funded through Community Solar NY, a NYSERDA program.
As a component of the Governor’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) strategy and NY-Sun program, Community Solar NY makes implementing solar easier and more affordable by supporting locally-organized community outreach aimed at getting a critical mass of area homes and businesses to install solar and obtain competitive pricing, thereby lowering the cost. Historically, Solarize campaigns lower the cost of solar 10 to 20 percent.
Solarize the Flower City 2016 will be selecting designated solar installers using a thorough pre-qualification process. Residents and businesses who sign up for solar installations by September 15, 2016, will be able to take advantage of group rates below market prices. The more customers who sign up, the lower the price will be for everyone.
“New York is blazing the trail when it comes to transitioning to sustainable energy practices and building a clean energy economy,” said Governor Cuomo. “By helping communities across the state install solar technologies, we are opening the door to new opportunities that will lower household energy costs while protecting the environment years into the future.” “I am proud to partner with ROCSPOT and support the Solarize the Flower City Campaign,” said Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren. “The citizens of Rochester are committed to protecting the environment and mitigating the impacts of climate change. Developing more sustainable and more affordable methods of energy production through solar power will play a critical role in that effort and help us create more jobs, safer more vibrant neighborhoods and provide all of our children with a quality education.” “More so now than ever before, the Finger Lakes Region is on the cutting edge of green and renewable energy development, with solar technology being an important part of the equation,” said Senator Rich Funke (R-C-I, Fairport). “I thank ROCSPOT, NYSERDA, and all partners involved in Solarize the Flower City for helping to make solar generation more affordable and accessible for both residents and employers alike across our community.”
Maureen Murphy, Executive Director of NeighborWorks® Rochester said: “NeighborWorks® Rochester is excited to be a partner in the Solarize the Flower City 2016 campaign. Increasing Rochester’s solar capacity, and decreasing household energy usage, will help to reposition our community both by supporting households struggling to meet energy costs, as well as neighborhoods looking to become more sustainable”.
Additional partners and participants include NYSERDA, the Town of Brighton and the Town of Irondequoit.
Solarize the Flower City 2016 is supported by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) under Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s NY-Sun initiative as well as the City of Rochester, through the New York Power Authority (NYPA) Five Cities Energy Plan program. Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun will invest up to $1 billion in solar power through 2023 to significantly expand solar installations across the State, ultimately transforming New York’s solar industry to become self-sustaining. The City of Rochester is investing over $800,000 from the NYPA Five Cities program for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, positioning itself as a leader in climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Our Neighbor’s Story

Mary Lovejoy, Rochester
Mary Lovejoy edit
In 2003 Mary Lovejoy decided it was time to realize her dream of becoming a homeowner. She came to NeighborWorks® Rochester to learn about the home buying process and to help her make good decisions in choosing where she and her daughter would make a lifetime of happy memories. Armed with information, she found a home in Rochester’s historic 19th Ward community that met her needs. Housing stock in the city of Rochester is an average of 73 years old, and Mary’s neighborhood is one of the oldest in the city. Unfortunately, Mary’s was one of those beautiful older homes where lead paint was used on the interior and exterior of the home. Studies have shown that children who are exposed to lead poisoning face serious problems such as decreased IQ levels; higher likelihood of learning disabilities, behavioral problems and/or juvenile delinquency and higher high school dropout rates.

By having gone through the NeighborWorks® Rochester home ownership program, Mary was aware that help was available for home repair to assist her and her young daughter. As part of the NeighborWorks® Rochester’s loan program, lead testing identified the issues. In addition to remediating the lead issues in her home, NeighborWorks® Rochester replaced siding on the house and unattached garage, rebuilt the front porch, replaced windows and did electrical work. Energy work was also a big part of the work on Mary’s home. NeighborWorks® Rochester insulated the house and made repairs to her heating system, which improved safety and comfort and saved the family money in utility bills. “From the beginning, everyone was so friendly and helpful, especially in communicating what was going on to me” Mary commented. “I have recommended many people to them.”

Celebrate City Living!

Celebrate City Living
Celebrate City Living
The City of Rochester and the Rochester Coalition for Neighborhood Living, which NeighborWorks® Rochester is a part of, have launched Celebrate City Living, a new program to help homebuyers and renters learn about the benefits of living in the city and find the resources to make it easier to buy or rent a home in Rochester.
“Rochester’s neighborhoods are a great place to grow and Celebrate City Living is our way of making sure everyone knows why,” said City of Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren. “I want to thank the Rochester Coalition for Neighborhood Living and all of our sponsors for helping us create an exciting new opportunity to celebrate city living and invite more people to choose Rochester as their home. People who know why Rochester is a wonderful place to live can become active partners in our mission to create more jobs, safer, more vibrant neighborhoods and provide all of our children with a quality education.”
“The Rochester Coalition for Neighborhood Living is extremely proud to partner with the City of Rochester to promote city living by helping potential homebuyers and renters fully appreciate and enjoy the amenities of living in Rochester,” said Coalition Chairs Beverly Fair-Brooks, Vice President, Regional Community Reinvestment Officer of M&T Bank; and Ted Wood, Realtor, Construction Manager and Real Estate Broker at the Ibero American Development Corp. “Celebrate City Living is a fun and exciting way to increase investment and build a stronger sense of community in all of Rochester’s neighborhoods.”
Celebrate City Living is a year-round program designed to encourage city residency for consumers at every stage of the housing search, including renters, first-time homebuyers, experienced owners, those who require financial assistance and those seeking high-end, luxury spaces.
The program places a special emphasis on the distinctive settings and wide variety of housing choices in each of Rochester’s neighborhoods. The goal is to help consumers understand that Rochester is a city of neighborhoods and they can quickly focus their search for an ideal home by learning about the characteristics of each neighborhood.
The event website and an annual event will help consumers search city neighborhoods for a house or apartment and connect them to available resources, including Realtors, lenders and non-profit agencies that specialize in city housing. NeighborWorks Rochester will be there to assist all first time home buyers learn more about our programs and resources.
The website features a custom search engine that filters available housing choices by neighborhood along with profiles of the neighborhoods. The site is interactive and will include a social media center and enable neighborhood residents and merchants to submit neighborhood events to a community calendar.
The inaugural Five Star Bank Celebrate City Living Housing Expo will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, April 16 in City Hall, 30 Church St. The Housing Expo will serve as a resource fair, where home hunters can meet representatives of each neighborhood along with Realtors, lenders and non-profit agencies who specialize in serving city customers.
Exhibitors will also include home décor stores, food vendors, entertainment venues and health and recreation facilities.
On Sunday, April 17 many open houses will be held at available city properties. In addition, the Landmark Society of Western New York will host three bus tours of city neighborhoods on April 9, 15 and 16. All tours start at 1 p.m. and depart from City Hall. Visit www.celebratecityliving.com to register for a tour.
Along with the annual Housing Expo, CCL will also partner with neighborhood representatives along with Canandaigua National Bank to host a series of Celebrate City Living neighborhood celebrations throughout the year, where neighborhood leaders and merchants can highlight the distinct benefits of their neighborhood in a festive setting.
The Rochester Coalition for Neighborhood Living members are: The City of Rochester, M&T Bank, NeighborWorks® Rochester, Ibero-American Development Corp, The Housing Council at PathStone, Citizens Bank, The Landmark Society of Western New York, Greater Rochester Association of Realtors, Game Plan Marketing, ROC City Realty, New2U Homes, Hart’s Local Grocers and Magellan Realty. This year’s title sponsor for the Home Expo is Five Star Bank.

Home For The Holidays

homeholiday_logo FINAL
Home for the Holidays….
What does that mean to you? Not just bricks and mortar but the place where you find refuge, the pride of ownership, where you feel safe, welcome and happy. NeighborWorks® Rochester’s mission is to build great communities, one homeowner at a time.
Your belief in healthy community and strong homeownership can help NeighborWorks® Rochester continue to assist hundreds of individuals each year. Help us bridge the gap for individuals who need a hand up to achieve their dream of healthy homeownership with your generous support.
Our focus is to ensure safe, healthy homes for Rochester area families. That includes educating first time homebuyers about the smart way to buy a home and assisting homeowners who need help when the roof is leaking or when they can’t afford to replace an aging furnace. We work with neighbors to develop a sense of community through our Healthy Blocks program, making streets safer and neighborhoods more stable. We help hundreds of families each year create secure, healthy homes to raise their children.

Nereida is an example of how your passion about our mission will help to keep the Rochester community strong:

As a nurse and single mom from Rochester, Nereida discovered that the NeighborWorks® Rochester’s free Home Energy Assessment wNereidaas just the beginning of a new homeowner journey and that our staff was able to help her in many additional, unexpected ways. NeighborWorks® Rochester’s professionally-trained staff were able to pin point the areas in her home where she should invest to receive the best return on her money. As a hardworking mom, she wasn’t sure how to check her credit history or weed out unscrupulous contractors. Our Homeowner Advisors were with her every step of the way, from reviewing her credit history – even finding and removing a damaging credit mistake – to working with the home improvement contractors to make sure that she received the best service possible.
Now, when Nereida’s grandchildren come through her front door, they’ll feel more than the warmth of the holidays. They’ll walk in from the cold weather, all bundled up, and feel the warm air on their rosy cheeks, in a home that’s no longer drafty. This holiday season, for the first time ever, she can enjoy entertaining family and friends in her large, eat-in kitchen due to the improvements that NeighborWorks® Rochester made to her home. Her holidays will be filled with the love and laughter of family, rather than concern about how to pay her heating bills and the deteriorating condition of her home. “I am so relieved. My utility bill is a third of what it used to be because of the improvements. I no longer have to turn to HEAP to get through the winter. My house is new to me.” And best of all, she is a partner in the improvements in her home because NeighborWorks® Rochester gave her trusted information, helped her access additional resources and educated her on how to maintain her home. NeighborWorks® Rochester “made me feel accomplished,” Nereida added. She is now a stronger homeowner, which will benefit her neighborhood and our community.

Nereida is one of hundreds of homeowners in our community that NeighborWorks® Rochester assists every year. As our partner, you can help us to continue to be a full-service shop for home owners – providing access to resources, education and trusted advice.
Your support is essential. Without your caring and generous gift, homeowners such as Nereida may not receive the helping hand needed to remain in their homes. Everyone deserves a healthy, happy home to enjoy during the holidays and beyond.
Won’t you please consider making a gift to our Home For the Holidays Annual Campaign? Your investment in our community will have a lasting impact on our community’s health through homeownership.

All of us at NeighborWorks® Rochester would like to express our sincere wishes that your home is filled with joy throughout the holiday season,

Maureen K. Murphy
Executive Director

Make a Gift Now

Unique Collaboration on Solar Installation Project to Bolster Community, Save Residents Money and Energy

solar house imageWe are excited to announce that, with support from NeighborWorks® America and Rochester Area Community Foundation, NeighborWorks® Rochester will be coordinating solar installations on two homes in the City of Rochester during the week of November 10th. The organization is also collaborating with GRID Alternatives, the country’s largest nonprofit solar installer, to install the solar panels on the two income qualified, owner occupied homes.
The two-day installations will take place at 262 Fernwood Avenue and 78 Woodbine Avenue in November. The average household pays nearly $170 each month in energy costs, and the typical homeowner saves more than $1,000 a year on electricity by installing roof-top solar panels.

“This has been a great team effort,” stated Maureen Murphy, NeighborWorks® Rochester’s Executive Director. “It will make a huge difference to the families that benefit from this, and it is the first solar project that is targeting low to modified income households in Rochester. NeighborWorks® Rochester is proud to lead the way in using alternative energy as an effective way to not only save money, but also build community, along with our partners at Rochester Area Community Foundation and GRID Alternatives. Together we are increasing the access of low-income families to solar power.”

Mary Hartstein, Program Associate, Community Programs at Rochester Area Community Foundation stated, “We welcome this opportunity to invest in providing sustainable financial relief to our low income families. We hope this effort will help build momentum for a residential solar panel movement in Rochester.”

In addition to providing the homeowners with money-saving opportunities, the project will also provide hands-on professional-development opportunities in the booming solar industry for local trainees. Volunteers will be able to have a hands-on experience to help further their education and to make them more employable. According to the U.S. Census, solar installation jobs offer wages of $20-$24 an hour, but usually do not require advanced education. Call (585)327-4705 if you’re interested in volunteering for the install.

NeighborWorks® Rochester is one of nine grantees from across the country who will collectively receive $170,000 in grants to equip affordable single- and multi-family homes with solar power from NeighborWorks® America. Under the partnership with GRID Alternatives, 68 homes and 6 multifamily buildings serving 50 farmworker families will be equipped with solar panels at various locations across the country.

Celebrate Park(ing) Day in our Pop-up Park!

Park(ing) Day pop
Park(ing) Day Pop-up Park to be located at 1090 Culver Road, Rochester

NeighborWorks® Rochester’s Healthy Blocks Neighborhood Initiative will provide a temporary public open space – a Pop-up Park – to foster community in a city neighborhood and celebrate Park(ing) Day on September 18th. Park(ing) Day is a world-wide initiative which allows residents, businesses, community organizations, etc. to collaborate and transform a parking space into a temporary public green space. This urban oasis will take place at 1090 Culver Road, Rochester, in the parking lot of Rochester’s only remaining cobblestone structure. This space exists within the Triangle Neighborhood (bordered by Culver, Merchants and Main Streets), which is the focus of NeighborWorks® Rochester’s Health Blocks Neighborhood Initiative.

The Park(ing) Day event will allow neighbors and the public to socialize in a relaxing outdoor setting which includes food, drink, history and games. Thanks to Broccolo Tree and Lawn Care who will provide greenery to help make the otherwise empty lot into a Pop-up Park.  The event will be held from noon to 6:00 P.M. and will include ice cream from Eat Me Ice Cream and espresso from Ugly Duck Coffee. The first 50 Triangle residents will receive a free affagato – a coffee and ice cream confection. They will also be available, along with ice cream and espresso, for purchase. The Landmark Society of Western New York will also be there to provide historic photos and a history of this unique building, while Reconnect Rochester will provide a mini-golf course and Park(ing) Day bus stop cubes to add to the fun.

WHAT: Park(ing) Day Celebration

WHERE: 1090 Culver Road, Rochester

WHEN: Noon to 6:00PM

HOW: Free to all, espressos from Ugly Duck Coffee and ice cream from Eat Me Ice Cream available for purchase

 

 

Grant from JP Morgan Chase & Co. to Support Financial Fitness

NeighborWorks® Rochester is pleased to announce that they are the recipient of a $60,000 grant from JPMorgan Chase to support enhancement of technological systems for its Financial Fitness Program. The grant will allow NeighborWorks® Rochester to build capacity and efficiency through technology and will have a tremendous impact on the financial health of its customers. Individual successes through the NeighborWorks® Rochester Financial Fitness Program will increase with the organization’s ability to more effectively track, monitor and manage their progress. The JP Morgan Chase Foundation’s partnership in this initiative is instrumental to its success.

Maureen Murphy, Executive Director of NeighborWorks® Rochester stated, “Assisting those who strive to improve their lives by increasing their financial skills and providing education for successful homeownership is the core of the NeighborWorks® Rochester mission. We’re extremely pleased to partner with JPMorgan Chase with an innovative approach to provide those in need with tools and resources to make a better path for themselves. In turn, this will also help to build strong neighborhoods in the Rochester community by providing educated, financially-stable, long-term homeowners.”

The support of community partners like JPMorgan Chase allows NeighborWorks® Rochester to continue to provide these services and more. The community-based organization builds strong neighborhoods by educating and counseling new homeowners, providing resources to individuals who may be turned away by traditional lenders, energy-savings programs and targeted neighborhood revitalization through the Healthy Blocks Neighborhood Initiative.

Healthy Blocks Have Healthy Trees

Last February when NeighborWorks® Rochester’s Interim Executive Director, Luis Burgos and Eric Van Dusen, Director of Community Initiatives trudged through the snowbanks in the Triangle neighborhood on what was probably the worst day of our Rochester winter, they came to a realization. Luis who was once the Director of Recreation and Special Services for the City of Rochester, saw the Triangle in a way most of us do not. Luis pointed out the alarming number of missing city street trees in the neighborhood.

Why do trees matter? Street trees have a number of social, health and environmental benefits. They create a walkable environment which in turn creates a safer one too! A street lined with trees makes it appear narrower which causes drivers to reduce speeds. According to Luis, one mature tree supplies enough oxygen for two people a year. Trees also absorb pollution – they can absorb 48 pounds of Co2 per year!

Here’s an example of how street trees can enhance the curb appeal of a home:

curb appeal

This information stirred the Healthy Blocks planning committee into action and NeighborWorks® Rochester scheduled a meeting with the City Forester about filling in the missing trees. The entire Triangle was invited to this meeting, where the City Forester provided an extensive background on how the City of Rochester removes and plants trees. The exciting news is that we can have 20 to 30 trees planted in the Triangle this fall!

The City forester has recently shared a GIS map of the neighborhood detailing where the existing and missing trees are in the neighborhood. The neighborhood group will meet again to discuss where the new trees will have the most impact.

Stay tuned, and take a walk in the Triangle this fall. We hope you’ll be able to enjoy the results of this effort!