Monday, August 31, 2009

Four Years After Katrina, a Sustainable Homes Partnership in New Orleans Makes Progress

Four years after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and Gulf Coast communities, Brad Pitt's Make It Right and NeighborWorks America are partnering on sustainable home rebuilding and homeownership education in The Lower Ninth Ward.


Friday, August 28, 2009

Moved Houses Become Happy Homes in Oregon

The Gazette Times reports that Willamette Neighborhood Housing moved a couple houses after buying the land on which they stood and where the organization planned to build a multi-family housing project. Instead of demolishing them, they decided to move them to a plot of land that the nonprofit owns on Southwest Leonard Street, where they became part of the Community Land Trust Program. The point of the land trust is to sell the houses to low-income first-time homebuyers for about half the usual cost of a house in Corvallis.

The total costs for the moving and rehabilitation of both homes totaled $279,996, which was largely financed by the City of Corvallis, as well as Community Frameworks and Neighborworks America.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Remembering Senator Kennedy

From Chris Harper-Fahey, NeighborWorks America, New England District

Always concerned about those less fortunate, Senator Kennedy and the Kennedy name was iconic in Massachusetts. As a young girl, I was often moved by President John Kennedy’s call to public service and Robert’s concern about the poor and I was inspired by the youngest of the three Kennedys, "Teddy" and that he cared about working families in Massachusetts. But it wasn’t until I was an adult raising a family as a single mom, that I really started to pay attention to Senator Ted Kennedy’s social purpose and legislative vision: health care, equality, immigration reform, social justice, and his call to public service just to name a few. He inspired me to pursue a path in public service and social justice and to fight for those less fortunate. But it wasn’t until I heard the Senator’s eulogy for his brother Bobby Kennedy, that I understood my heart’s call. I eventually found that affordable housing was my call. Today, in memory of Senator Edward "Teddy" Kennedy, I share this with you, changing it only to reflect my view of his life’s work, his belief’s and today, his call to us.

"Ted Kennedy need not be idealized or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life, but to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it. Those of us who loved him, and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will someday come to pass for all the world. As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him: 'Some men see things as they are and say, "Why?" Ted Kennedy dreamt of things that never were and say, "Why not?"

Monday, August 24, 2009

Marietta on CBS News: Unemployment Fueling Foreclosures

NeighborWorks America Homeownership Director Marietta Rodriquez, told CBS Evening News that rising unemployment is leading to more housing foreclosures. She said recent reports from foreclosure counselors indicate that 50 percent of the time job loss is the stated reason for mortgage delinquency.

CBS Evening News video, View

Monday, August 17, 2009

New Consumer Videos for Homeowners and Prospective Buyers Available

These are trying times for homeowners and those thinking about buying may wonder if it’s worth the risk. Three new videos from NeighborWorks America provide homeowners and first-time buyers with useful advice for weathering the current environment. “What to Do When Facing Foreclosure” is for homeowners on the brink of losing their homes. “How to Avoid Foreclosure,” is geared toward homeowners who are making their mortgage payments on time, but want to be proactive in ensuring they keep their homes if hard times hit. “Is This a Good Time to Buy a Home?” is for consumers who want to buy a home for the first time but may not be aware of the strong incentives to do so now. NeighborWorks America’s Senior Homeownership Specialist Milt Sharp provides the advice in these videos, which are all available on NeighborWorks YouTube channel.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Follow NeighborWorks Social Media Symposium Live Online!

We would love for you all to join us in Chicago on August 19 for NeighborWorks' symposium, Social Media and Web 2.0: Engaging Community and Achieving Mission. But if you can't attend, you can still participate and follow the discussion live!

Follow us on Twitter
Social media tools like Twitter allow conference participants to join an online dialogue before, during and after the event. We encourage you to try it! Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Sign up for Twitter. It just takes a minute.
  2. Follow neighborworks
  3. You can text your tweets directly from your mobile phone by going to Devices under Settings and adding your mobile phone.
  4. Include the hashtag #nti in your tweets.

Even if you don’t sign up for Twitter, you can still follow the dialogue by going to and entering #nti. Using this hashtag will bring up the real time tweets related to the social media symposium.

Live blog
NeighborWorks has enlisted a couple of crafty folks to live blog from some of the symposium sessions. For the first time, those who can not attend the symposium will be able to follow the key highlights and discussion from the event. Just check the Social Media Symposium Blog next Wednesday to follow along.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Why Are Loan Modifications Taking So Long?

As pressure increases on servicers to pick up the pace of loan modifications, many are wondering: What’s the problem?

NeighborWorks America, in its report to Congress on the National Foreclosure Mitigation Program, reported that more homeowners are being reached through counseling, but that servicers are taking as long as 45-60 days to do their part. recently took a look at five reasons why the loan modification process is so slow. Michael van Zalingen, director of homeownership services for Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, a NeighborWorks member organization, weighed in on many servicers’ insistence on using a fax machine.

"It seems your stuff goes into a black hole," Zalingen told CNN. "It's archaic. Given all the problems we've had with lost faxes, it seems unreasonable to use a fax system."

See what else is on’s list of the “5 dumb reasons you can't get mortgage help.”

Monday, August 10, 2009

Neighbors Helping Neighbors: A Grassroots Group Seeks Small Gifts to End Local Foreclosures

A grassroots organization in Rock County, Wisconsin, has come up with a novel way to fight foreclosures in the area. The organization, called the John Doe Movement, is asking every Rock County homeowner to donate $10 a month to help tackle skyrocketing foreclosure rates and stabilize home values. The “Rescue America Project,” recently featured in the Janesville Gazette, aims to generate $10 million by the end of 2010. The money would be collected by the Beloit-based Stateline Community Foundation and directed to Neighborhood Housing Services in Beloit, Inc., a NeighborWorks America member organization, to help homeowners facing foreclosure modify the terms of their mortgage.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

In Tough Times, Success Measures Expands To Meet Growing Demand for Outcome Measurement

Community development organizations and their funders invest significant resources each year to prepare low- to moderate-income families for sustainable homeownership, to build stronger communities and improve quality of life for community residents.

But how do these organizations know that they are meeting their ultimate goals? How can organizations and their funders be assured that their investments are generating long-term impact?

In these tough economic times it is more important than ever to answer these questions. Because of the weak economy many nonprofits are struggling to survive as foundations and other philanthropic organizations tighten their belts and shrink their investments.

As a result, nonprofits are focusing on core programs and being more strategic about how their dollars are being used. Their funders are demanding more rigorous evaluation methods to determine which programs are making a measurable difference.

Some may argue that this economic downturn has reinforced the importance of measuring the impact of nonprofit programs. And for more than 10 years now, that’s exactly what NeighborWorks America’s Success Measures program has been doing.

Continue reading this feature on how Success Measures is expanding to meet the growing demand for outcome measurement.