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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Our Neighbor’s Story

Mary Lovejoy, Rochester
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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.”

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.

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.