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!

NeighborWorks® Rochester and First Niagara Bank Celebrate Partnership during NeighborWorks® Week

Equity Builder Celebration
From Left: Migdalia Toro NeighborWorks® Rochester Homeownership Coordinator, Ted Colucci, NeighborWorks® Rochester Lending Program Manager, Maureen Murphy, NeighborWorks® Rochester Executive Director, homeowners Jaime Rivera and Danielle McDonald, Phil Swetz and Bridget Campbell, First Niagara Bank.

NeighborWorks® Rochester recently celebrated the success of its Equity Builder Loan program by recognizing the first recipient of the loan and our bank partner, First Niagara Bank. The loan helps new homeowners save money on their home by providing closing cost assistance, up to 105% Loan to Value of the home. Homeowners Jamie Rivera and Danielle McDonald, of Rochester, were on hand, along with Phil Swetz and Bridget Campbell of First Niagara to be part of the celebration.

The event was part of the local celebration of NeighborWorks® Week, a nationally-recognized celebration of neighborhood revitalization activities.

“First Niagara is a huge proponent of initiatives that increase self-sufficiency, stabilize housing and improve our neighborhoods,” said Phil Swetz, First Niagara Vice President of Mortgage Banking. “We’re proud to work with Neighborworks® to contribute to stronger, more diverse and thriving communities.”

The Equity Builder Loan helps future homeowners purchase a home with a down payment of more than 20%, avoiding a monthly Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) payment. Over the course of home ownership, this can result in substantial savings.

“We are so thrilled to be able to offer this loan product in conjunction with our bank partner,” said Maureen Murphy, Executive Director of NeighborWorks® Rochester. “It provides money for closing costs and long-term savings for the homeowner. And, as any homeowner can tell you, buying the home is just the beginning – you need to be able to maintain and sustain it throughout the years. We are pleased to be able to help those homeowners stay in it for the long run and make our community stronger as well.

During NeighborWorks® Week, NeighborWorks® Rochester and other NeighborWorks® organizations across the country will mobilize people for neighborhood change and awareness, rehab and repair homes, paint and landscape properties, conduct neighborhood tours, recognize successful partnerships and host a number of events that educate, train and inform.

NeighborWorks® Rochester is part of the national NeighborWorks® network, an affiliation of more than 245 nonprofit organizations located in every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. In 2014, the NeighborWorks® network helped­ 300,000 individuals and families with affordable housing and counseling. The NeighborWorks network was founded and is supported by NeighborWorks America, which creates opportunities for people to live in affordable homes, improve their lives and strengthen their communities.

Want to learn more about the Equity Builder or NeighborWorks® Rochester loans? Give us a call at 325-4170.

Our Bags Roc to kick off NeighborWorks® Week

NeighborWorks® Rochester will be holding a tote-ally awesome fundraiser on Friday, June 5th called Our Bags Roc. The event will be held at the newly-renovated NeighborWorks® Rochester offices at 570 South Avenue in the South Wedge area of Rochester from 5:00 P.M. to 7:30 P.M. and will feature the live auction of “Bags of Swag” donated by local merchants, artisans, restaurants and more. The event will kick off the local celebration of NeighborWorks® Week – a week to recognize successful partnerships, neighborhood change and awareness – which begins June 6th.

OurBagsRoc_Logo cropped LoRezItems for auction include a custom-fitted suit from Vittorio Menswear, a tasting for 20 from Black Button Distillery, a Home Improvement Bag valued at $250, a personalized Memory Quilt and Cocktail Culture and much more. You can view all of our generously donated items and bid on them online: http://www.biddingowl.com/NWRochester

The event will also include delicious food, signature cocktails and beverages. Sponsors include SiteHub, Madison and Dunn, YELP! and Innovative Solutions. Todd Solomon will provide live musical entertainment.

Funds from Our Bags Roc will support the agency’s wide range of services supporting neighborhood stabilization through homeowner education, strategic lending and energy conservation.

Tickets are only $10.00 and are available at ABODE Rochester, 289 Gregory St., Rochester or at NeighborWorks® Rochester offices or online at https://ourbagsroc.eventbrite.com .

Call 585.325.4170 or visit www.NWRochester.org for more information.

New Executive Director Starts at NeighborWorks® Rochester

Maureen Murphy

NeighborWorks® Rochester is excited to announce the appointment of Maureen Murphy, M.P.A, as Executive Director. Ms. Murphy has a history of community service in the Rochester area and currently serves as Board President of the Friends of the Public Market and was a long-standing board member of the South East Area Coalition (SEAC) in Rochester. She previously served as Executive Director of the Habitat for Humanity of Ontario County.

“Maureen has significant non-profit leadership experience and brings knowledge and experience in housing programs, and experience managing staff, but as important, she brings a high level of passion, commitment, and heart for the work that we do,” stated Kim Brumber, President and CEO of the NeighborWorks® Western NY Affiliation. “Maureen knows our programs first-hand; she bought her first home through our Homebuyer Education and Counseling program and also lived in Swillburg during our first Healthy Blocks initiative, seeing up close and personal the impact and potential of Healthy Blocks.”

Maureen, who currently lives in the Park Avenue area of Rochester, is a graduate of SUNY Brockport and Nazareth College. She enjoys running and can be found most Saturdays at the Rochester Public Market.

Dedication of NeighborWorks® Rochester’s Education Center in Memory of Karen DiNardo

Dinardo Karen 600dpiWe were honored to dedicate our newly-renovated Education Center to volunteer and friend, Karen DiNardo, at our recent Annual Meeting. The following are remarks made by Kim Brumber, President and CEO of NeighborWorks® Community Partners, during the dedication.

Karen was one of those people that even though I didn’t know her really well, I was able to draw strength from her; that was just the type of person she was.

Karen was a real estate attorney with the local firm Phillips Lytle whom NeighborWorks® Rochester worked closely with at the time. I think we may all likely have an image that comes to our mind when we say real estate attorney – but I will venture to say that at least in my mind, she wasn’t your “typical attorney” – whatever that is! 

Karen served as a volunteer in our homebuyer education classes. For those of you that don’t know, we bring in experts for various sections of the class – a home inspector, a realtor, and an attorney. Karen was our go to person for the “Choosing and working with an attorney” section of the class.

As a volunteer she gave a lot of time to NeighborWorks® Rochester and to our customers. She would often present at the class and then hang around long after her presentation time to assure that she had met with every participant that wanted to ask her a question one-on-one. Her care for our customers and commitment to their success as homebuyers was palpable. I quickly learned through various circumstances that she was very protective of the first time home buyers that she worked with through here – that, I believe was representative of the person she was.  Caring, dedicated, committed and unwavering.

This quiet, gentle strength. She had a patience and calm with people that instantly put people at ease.

Karen left us too soon. She fought a long, difficult battle with cancer – but even through that, she remained positive and still gave of herself endlessly, for as long as she was able. She never gave up. In the years since her passing, when I remember Karen, I recall a very passionate person who cared deeply about those she helped and her work – I think of her as being “all in” when she did something; there was no half way with Karen. For me, she was one of those people that touches our life for a brief time but leaves an impression that goes on forever.  If I had to pick one word that comes to mind when I remember her, it is exceptional. 

It is my honor to dedicate this room, our education center in memory of someone who cared so deeply about our first time homebuyers that are educated here – this will assure that Karen’s life will be remembered through our work.

Partner of the Year, 1st Niagara Bank

Congratulations to our Award Recipients!

Partner of the Year, 1st Niagara Bank
1st Niagara Bank representatives, Phil Swetz, Karla Gadley, Bridget Campbell and Laura Smith accept the Partner of the Year Award from Luis Burgos.
Luis Burgos and Kim Mitchell.
Luis Burgos and Kim Mitchell.
Luis Burgos and Greg Stefl.
Luis Burgos and Greg Stefl.

NeighborWorks® Rochester recently held its 2015 Annual Meeting at the agency’s newly renovated facilities. More than 150 people attended the event, which was a celebration of a record-setting year of services provided to new and current homeowners in the Rochester area, as well as an opportunity for us to recognize individuals and organizations that were significant supporters.

First Niagara Bank was honored as the Partner of The Year in recognition of their collaboration, commitment and leadership. Luis Burgos, Executive Director of NeighborWorks® Rochester, stated, “Our relationship with First Niagara has been a solid one from the beginning, when we first connected with them for our First Home Club. They are a great resource for potential home buyers and for NeighborWorks® Rochester, as well.” We are so pleased to partner with them in making Rochester a great place to live!

The Edline Chun Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Kim Mitchell, of Rochester, who serves on our Marketing and Development Committee and donates her considerable decorative talents and materials to all agency events. As a homeowner who has received NeighborWorks® Rochester services, Kim actively promotes the programs and acts as an ambassador for the organization, whenever requested. “This award is given to honor the legacy of Edline Chun, an extraordinary volunteer who gave of herself selflessly to achieve our mission of strengthening neighborhoods. Kim embodies many of the same characteristics that made Edline special,” Burgos said.

Also recognized at the event as Employee of the Year was Operations Manager Greg Stefl, of Rochester. As the point person for the recent facility renovation and technology upgrade, Stefl’s “exacting standards have improved many aspects of our organization and his passion for our mission has made a difference for the communities which we serve“ said Burgos.

We are so grateful for the support of our partners, friends, volunteers and staff. They allow us to provide great customer service to our community and to help make Rochester a great place to live!

For more pictures, check out our Facebook page.

Shining A Light On Our Energy Services

save-energy-bulb-lgIf you’re interested in saving money and helping the environment, you may want to consider scheduling a NeighborWorks® Rochester Home Energy Audit for your home! here are some answers to FAQ’s: Does it cost money to have an energy audit done on my home? Energy audits are free to households with annual income of less than $137,000. Households with a higher income can have an audit done for a pro-rated fee. NeighborWorks® Rochester has energy programs available regardless of income, including grant funds for lower income households, and subsidy programs that can help pay for energy-related work. The audit is likely to save you money in the long run, as we can help point out areas in your home that can be improved upon for energy and money savings. In addition, as a non-profit organization, our focus is on you, the homeowner, making sure that you have reliable information and a high level of customer service. Why would I want to schedule an Energy Audit? Sometimes there are issues in your home that you might not even be aware of, such as appliances that are using large amounts of energy and needlessly inflating your gas or electric bill.We can show you simple fixes to your home that you can do yourself, potentially saving you money and headaches in the future. Do you have big icicles that appear every winter and thaw every spring? They might be doing more damage than you can see from the outside, which will be more costly as time goes on. And, because we can provide tips on how to cut down on drafts and air leaks, your family could be much more comfortable on those cold, blustery days of winter. In addition, as a non-profit organization, our focus is on you, the homeowner, making sure that you have reliable information that is not part of a sales pitch. Why are you so interested in saving me money? Our mission is to help people become homeowners and to give them the tools to stay in their homes. Equipping people with information that will make their home healthier and more comfortable and will better prepare them to be long-term homeowners. Long-term homeowners make better neighbors, and better neighbors, make better neighborhoods!

NWR-Logo JPEG

Who you gonna call? Your full-service partner, that’s who!

Your Full-Service Partner..

Owning a home of your own can be as stressful as it is enjoyable. How can you make your family as safe and comfortable as possible, without spending all your hard-earned money? Does the roof need to be replaced, or just fixed? How can you be sure that the contractor can be trusted to finish on-time and on-budget? NeighborWorks® Rochester is here to help.

As a non-profit, one-stop shop for homebuyers and homeowners, our goal is to guide you through the buying process as well as all stages of homeownership, including home repairs. If your home is in need of fixing, NeighborWorks Rochester can work with you to offer unbiased solutions to your home issues. We can give you the confidence that comes with knowing you have someone in your corner. And we’ll be there with you for years to come, building great communities, one dream home at a time. Some Frequently Asked Questions about our Lending Program are:house construction

Q. Are there qualifying income limits to receive your services?

A. No.  There are no income minimums or maximums needed to access our services.  We work with all ranges of incomes.

Q. Do you only work with City residents?

A. No.  We serve all the residents of Monroe County. The only lending service that we offer that is specific to city residents is our construction management service. Our lending services are available to any resident within the Monroe County area  looking to do repairs on their home!
Q. Do you do home repairs?

A. NeighborWorks® Rochester offers financing for home repairs.  But we, ourselves, don’t do them. We help to get the customer an estimate of all the work and to solicit bids from qualified contractors, so that virtually, any type of home repair the customer needs/wants to get done, our contractors can do!

Do you have a question that you don’t see here? Ask in the comments or give us a call at 585.325.4170 and one of our experts will answer any other questions you may have.

Home Sweet Home Puts Rochester’s Most Delicious Cakes All In One Place!

SOCIAL-MEDIA-hshWhere else can you find delicious desserts from all around Rochester under one roof? Dozens of area bakeries and bakers will be participating in the Home Sweet Home Cake Auction at the High Falls Interpretive Center and Museum in Rochester on Thurs., Nov. 6th. The event will feature an auction of cakes and other confections, along with food, live music from the Erik Stabnau Jazz Combo, champagne cocktails, a coffee bar and great networking, starting at 5:00PM. What a sweet way to support programs which benefit homeowners and healthy neighborhoods in our community! Check out all of our sweet friends!
Tickets are only $5.oo and will provide entre to an evening of yummy fun while helping to change lives. Each year, approximately 42% of the people who start their journey down the path to homeownership are single women, usually the head of their households. This event will help them create a better life for themselves and their children, while supporting strong city neighborhoods.
Thanks to our sponsors:

Fairport Savings Bank
Woods Oviatt Gilman
Heveron & Co., CPAs
Vincent Associates Real Estate – Vince Pace & Greg Stefl
Harter Secrest & Emery, LLPEmpire Realty
Innovative Solutions
Santariello, AKL & Associates, PLLC
Stewart Title Insurance Co.
Tompkins Bank of Castile
The City of Rochester
The Central Library of Rochester
The Office of the City Historian Rochester

To get in on the fun, purchase tickets online now at https://homesweethomecakeauction.eventbrite.com Or contact NeighborWorks® Rochester at 585.325.4170.