The Press Newspaper
Counseling, weatherization, education key services
Last spring, NeighborWorks hosted its first annual fundraising event called "Buy a Shingle, Save a Home".
This event was born from a growing concern that the greater community is not aware of the role a sound roof plays in maintaining a basic shelter for human existence.
"Buy a Shingle, Save a Roof" saved four owner-occupied homes, one each in four targeted neighborhoods by tearing off the existing roof, completing any necessary structural repairs and reinstalling a new roof, utilizing the Owens-Corning Oakridge product system.
The event raised over $30,000 to pay for the labor on the four homes. Raffle tickets were sold in each neighborhood and the winners were chosen last June.
In 2007, Neighborhood Housing Services of Toledo, Inc., now NeighborWorks, celebrated its 30th year as a neighborhood-based community development corporation. The East Toledo-based organization has numerous programs to help property owners.
NHS loaned $110,000. This past year NeighborWorks loaned over $1.6 million for the fourth consecutive year. The program that was originally focused in two neighborhoods expanded to a third in 1993 and by 1998 went city-wide. To date more than 870 borrowers have been served, at a total investment of over $18 million.
NeighborWorks manages a diverse portfolio of initiatives including home improvement loans; loans for purchasing homes; emergency loans when health and safety issues come into play; new construction projects; energy services; foreclosure prevention services; home buyer education, training, and counseling; and financial management training and counseling.
The Home Weatherization Assistance Program provides energy efficiency improvements for homes occupied by lower income families. A lower income family can qualify for a comprehensive response to their home energy efficiency needs at no cost to them. To date, NeighborWorks has installed over $23.7 million in materials and equipment for 15,000-plus customers in Toledo and Lucas County.
A companion initiative to the lending and weatherization activities is housing development. NeighborWorks is involved in two types: housing offered for sale and rental housing.
For families who are currently holding a Section 8 voucher, NeighborWorks has teamed with the Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority to find subsidies for first-time homebuyers. To qualify, one must be working a minimum of 30 hours weekly and earn an income of $10,300 yearly but cannot exceed 80 percent of the area median income requirements. For disabled or senior citizens, the recipient must receive a total income of at least $6,548.
New, affordable homes have also been built by NeighborWorks to in-fill a neighborhood that has been negatively impacted by neglect. At present NeighborWorks has adopted a strategy that uses affordable housing in tandem with market-rate housing. An example can be seen at the intersection of Navarre and Miami. NHS partnered in constructing the Starboard Side Condominium project, which represents high-end housing that is situated along the Maumee River.
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