Citizens Bank helps Support The American Dream of Homeownership Via NeighborWorks® Rochester Grant

Rochester area residents wanting to fulfill the American Dream of homeownership will be supported by a recent grant from Citizens Bank to NeighborWorks Rochester. The $5,000 grant will help provide tools and resources that allow homebuyers to become mortgage-ready through NeighborWorks Rochester’s homeownership education and counseling. Participants are provided with financial coaching, education in mortgage products, and guidance on available financial assistance and first-time homebuyer grants.

“Our goal is to prepare future homeowners for success – a key component of strengthening the Rochester area’s neighborhoods.” stated Joanne Panarisi-Bottone, NeighborWorks® Rochester’s Executive Director. “We provide the tools homebuyers need to prepare themselves and, as a member of the NeighborWorks America network, our approach is proven.”

NeighborWorks® Rochester is a HUD Housing Counseling Agency serving Rochester and the surrounding area.  The non-profit organization also creates sustainable communities by providing lead paint inspections, home improvement loans and energy services programs that improve energy efficiency, real estate values and resident wellness.

NeighborWorks® Rochester is an affiliate of NeighborWorks® America, and a member of NeighborWorks Community Partners – a consolidation with NeighborWorks organizations in Buffalo and Niagara, formed to increase the number of prospective homebuyers that can be served throughout the Greater Rochester Area, and throughout Western NY.

Do you know a Good Neighbor? Nominations open for Celebration of Rochester Neighbors

NeighborWorks® Rochester is organizing its 3rd Annual Celebration of Rochester Neighbors, to be held in June of 2018. The free event will be held at the iconic City of Rochester Public Market, celebrates the great people that make our neighborhoods strong. Volunteers who are making a difference in each of the city’s four quadrants at neighborhood level, as well as one leader in the overall Rochester community will be recognized. City of Rochester residents who exemplify a vision for a better Rochester, who work to better their neighborhood or spark change by engagning others will be considered. Full nomination details are available on the webpage:  https://nwrochester.org/Celebration-of-rochester-neighbors/.  Anyone can nominate a City of Rochester neighbor for consideration! Fill out a nomination form today!

The event will recognize four Community Champions – individuals from each of the four quadrants of the city for their contributions to their community. The Community Leadership Award award, which recognizes volunteer leaders who work to improve the entire community of Rochester.

Celebration of Rochester Neighbors is much like a block party for the entire city. The event will also kick off NeighborWorks® Week in Rochester and will feature live music, food, and children’s activities. Admission to the event is free. NeighborWorks® Rochester, a non-profit organization, builds strong neighborhoods by educating and counseling new homeowners, providing loan services and energy-savings programs to homeowners and targeted neighborhood revitalization through the Healthy Blocks Neighborhood Initiative. Volunteers who wish to help with the event, or local business interested in sponrorship can contact Kelly Hallenbeck, Resource Development Manager at 327-4170, or khallenbeck@nwrochester.org.

Everyone Deserves a Home For the Holidays

You can help create opportunities for people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities by joining us in the belief that every family should have a safe and healthy home to create their own memories. Your support is a key factor in allowing us to continue building strong communities, one neighbor at a time. As the holiday season approaches, we are hoping that you will consider adding a gift to NeighborWorks Rochester to your holiday to-do list. Every dollar donated to Home For the Holidays supports our work in the Rochester community.

Here are a few ways in which your support will have impact:

Support future homeowners. By working hand in hand with citizens whose dream is to own their first home, we help to develop informed, long-term, sustainable homeowners. For many, it will be an opportunity to achieve financial stability through our education services, counseling, and affordable lending options. These educated and involved neighbors are much more likely to nurture and sustain a healthy neighborhood environment.

Identify and support neighborhood leaders. We work with residents and community stakeholders to improve neighborhoods through housing, community-building and place-making strategies. We identify emerging community leaders and provide them with training and support to affect positive change in their neighborhoods.

Promote energy equity. An important component to maintaining healthy, vibrant and green friendly neighborhoods is an investment in energy conservation. We work with homeowners to analyze their home from top to bottom, providing an honest assessment of how they may be able to live more comfortably and how to invest wisely in their home to save money and energy.

Improve housing and neighborhood conditions. As a Community Development Financial Institution, we provide guidance and resources for homeowners to make important repairs to their homes, with an emphasis on neighborhoods that need the most critical support. In addition, we are certified by the Environmental Protection Agency to conduct lead paint Risk Assessments and Clearance Reports to improve living conditions for families.

 Encourage collaborations. Collaborations blend resources and expertise, leading to improved collective impact. We work with a network of bank partners, and non-profit and for-profit organizations to maximize funding available to income-eligible homeowners. By working together, we help Rochester homeowners live in safer, healthier, and more efficient homes.

In 2017, NeighborWorks® Rochester is on track to directly impact more than 1,000 families with our services. In 2018, we hope to exceed this achievement, but we cannot do this without you. The Annual Home for the Holidays campaign is your chance to support NeighborWorks® Rochester’s mission of building great communities.

Your gift won’t just help the people of our community, and the environment; you will also be making a direct impact on your local economy, stabilizing neighborhoods, and, in turn, supporting local businesses.

Now, more than ever, your support is essential for NeighborWorks® Rochester. By investing in our work, you are making a difference in your community. Without your caring and generous gift, the dream of homeownership for many in our community may slip away. Through your generosity, homeowners in need can access resources necessary to maintain a healthy home for their family, ensuring a safe, warm environment for families to thrive and memories to be made.

Please consider making your gift now. Your investment will have a lasting impact on the community you care about most – yours.

Thanks to Rochester Safe and Efficient Homes Initiative, Rochester Homeowner can make needed repairs

Nate Sheppard from ABC and Al Rayburn, Technical Services Manager at NeighborWorks Rochester, with homeowner, Joyce Vereecke.

The following was written by guest-blogger, Elizabeth McDade, Program Coordinator for the Rochester Safe and Efficient Homes Initiative (RSEHI)

In December 2014, Joyce Vereecke was served with divorce papers and asked to vacate her home with her two daughters. It was just before Christmas and the younger daughter was a senior in high school. Joyce, her daughters, and two dogs moved into a hotel room where they lived for over two months while Joyce searched for a new home. After deciding to buy a house and moving into it, it was discovered that the person who sold it to her did not have the right to do so. Once again, they had to move.

The family moved into a home on Dickinson Street in Rochester two years ago. The house was nice but needed some repairs and, as Joyce says, she was “not handy.” There was also the question of finding time to do home repairs—in addition to working part time and taking care of her children, Joyce also helped care for her mother who was in assisted living and suffering from dementia.

From the day they moved in, Joyce has slept downstairs in the living room because “one window fell right into the house when the wind blew” and the other window “couldn’t fully close or be locked.” Joyce slept on the couch because “If someone came in the house through one of those windows, I wouldn’t have heard them upstairs in my room…and I have two daughters!”

Joyce worked with NeighborWorks Rochester in Spring 2017 because her sewer line was backed up and needed repair. “We couldn’t flush the toilet or take a shower. You can’t show up at work if you don’t take a shower.” NeighborWorks brought this project to the RSEHI table because they couldn’t do weatherization work without getting the sewer line replaced, but their funding did not cover that scope of work. RSEHI approved a new sewer line (and sidewalk replacement) at $3,650.00. NeighborWorks was able to provide $7,365.99 worth of insulation and health and safety interventions for a total of $10,995.99.

This Fall, Joyce qualified for the ABC Weatherization program. ABC suggested that Joyce apply for the City of Rochester Window’s Program. ABC installed a new furnace and various health and safety items worth $3,168.00. The City of Rochester provided windows valued at $1,316.00 and RSEHI provided $1,600.00 to install the windows for a total of $6,084.00 worth of work.

Through various programs with NeighborWorks Rochester, Action for a Better Community, City of Rochester Windows Program, and the Rochester Safe and Efficient Homes Initiative, Joyce and her family have received a new sewer line, insulation, a high efficiency furnace, air sealing, a new door, other health/safety and weatherization interventions, AND eight new windows that close and lock.

For the first time in two years Joyce is sleeping upstairs in her own bed.

Learn more about the RSEHI program

Learn more about NeighborWorks Rochester Energy Services

“Project Reinvest: Homeownership” will make the American Dream more affordable in Western New York

$1.2 million award will fund homebuyer assistance in Monroe and Erie Counties

Updated: 6/12/2018 – All funds have been deployed in all participating counties. 

Project Reinvest: Homeownership will make $1.2 million available to homebuyers in Monroe, Erie and Niagara Counties, providing down payment assistance for the purchase of first homes. The funds were awarded to NeighborWorks Rochester, a Community Development Financial Institution, to be executed in partnership with West Side Neighborhood Housing Services in Buffalo, NY.

Eligible homebuyers can receive $10,500 in down payment assistance for the purchase of their first homes in Monroe, Erie or Niagara County.

“We are excited to be able to offer this down payment assistance in partnership with West Side Neighborhood Housing Services,” said Joanne Panarisi-Bottone, Executive Director of NeighborWorks Rochester.  “The cities of Buffalo and Rochester face challenges of low average incomes and weaker housing markets, and these funds will help homebuyers to achieve more equity in their home purchase.”

“For people whose American dream of owning their own home might have been just out of reach, Project Reinvest Homeownership will give them the opportunity to build wealth and a brighter future,” said Ed Jackson, Executive Director of West Side NHS.

Project Reinvest: Homeownership is a no-interest deferred loan. Homebuyers may qualify if they make at or below 100% of the Area Median Income for their county and if they are purchasing in Monroe, Erie or Niagara County.

Interested homebuyers should contact the lender of their choice for more information or to start an application. Monroe County partners are Citizens Bank, Canandaigua National Bank, M&T Bank, Five Star Bank, Fairport Savings Bank and Northwest Bank. Erie and Niagara County partners are Evans Bank, Fairport Savings Bank, Five Star Bank, M&T Bank, Citizens Bank and Northwest Bank.

NeighborWorks® Rochester and West Side Neighborhood Housing Services are each affiliates of NeighborWorks Community Partners, a newly-formed affordable housing group building strong neighborhoods in Western New York by providing education and counseling services to new homeowners. Interested home buyers can choose from the following list of bank partners for more information and to start the application process.

NeighborWorks® Rochester Chosen for Pilot Health Study

Mom and daughterNeighborWorks® Rochester actively remains current on trends and research in the field of community development through specific Community Initiatives, including the intersection of housing and health. According to the Healthcare Intelligence Network, “Evidence is mounting that social determinants of health—social, economic and environmental factors that impact quality of life—significantly influence population health. Research published by Brigham Young University in 2015 determined that the social determinants of loneliness and social isolation pose as great a threat to longevity as obesity. Cognizant of the need to promote social and physical environments conducive to optimal health, more than two-thirds of healthcare organizations now assess populations for social determinants of health (SDOH) as part of ongoing care management.”[1]

Because of attention focused on health outcomes both from community partners and from funders, it is increasingly necessary for community development organizations to demonstrate that their programming makes an impact on the SDOH of their target populations in a way that measurably improves health outcomes over time. With support from organizations including the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation and the Kresge Foundation, Enterprise Community Partners and NeighborWorks® America launched a Health Outcomes Demonstration Pilot in order to “build organizations’ capacity to evaluate the health outcomes of their work through a national cohort, building the body of evidence demonstrating housing and community development’s contribution to improved health outcomes.”[2] Only 20 organizations were awarded the opportunity to participate, which includes technical assistance, grant support, peer-to-peer learning, and most importantly, access to a comprehensive set of data collection tools that were developed and tested by Success Measures to measure health outcomes of programs and initiatives on the populations they serve.

NeighborWorks® Rochester was awarded a slot in the Pilot to evaluate Healthy Blocks, its creative neighborhood-strengthening initiative that makes a five-year commitment to a neighborhood (in this case, the Triangle) in transition with the goals of improving property conditions, resident engagement, and neighborhood image. Healthy Blocks staff worked with a consultant to develop an evaluation that focuses on the SDOH upon which the projects, events, and other elements of Healthy Blocks have the most direct effect; namely, social cohesion (community efficacy, inter-resident trust, participation, etc.). The Healthy Blocks initiative is a more complicated endeavor to evaluation compared with other service-providing programs that have more direct and specific contact and service delivery to participants. Because the initiative is designed to work in tandem with market forces and measures its success based resident satisfaction, block conditions, and rising home values (all of which have a wide variety of confounding variables), it is with caution that we attribute improvements in health outcomes to the work directly done by Healthy Blocks. However, in an effort to evaluate the initiative as accurately as possible, our target population consists of Triangle neighborhood residents who have been directly involved in at least one HB-sponsored activity or reside in a geographical location immediately surrounding our existing or planned public streetscape improvements.

[1] Abstract from “Social Determinants of Health in 2017: Scarcity of Supportive Services Hampers SDOH Linkages” 2017 Healthcare Intelligence Network <http://www.hin.com/library/registerSocialHealthDeterminants2017.html>

[2] Excerpt from Health Outcomes Demonstration Project Q&A Webinar, presented 12 September 2016 Enterprise Community Partners https://www.enterprisecommunity.org/resources/national-health-outcomes-demonstration-project-qa-webinar-1-18246, emphasis added

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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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.

Home For The Holidays

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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.