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Displaying results 91-100 (of 133)
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6/1/2004
As one NeighborWorks executive director quipped, "New rural America? What's wrong with the old rural America?" We all like the old rural America. But as the Kellogg Foundation's recent series, Perceptions of Rural America, amply illustrates, our perceptions are outdated. All too often we allow fond memories and impressions passed down for generations to cloud our ability to see not only what is truly happening in rural America but what can happen. In a very real sense this symposium was not about "out with the old and in with the new" but rather "here is a clarion call to recognize and encourage innovation so that what we all truly value in rural America can be preserved." Over 150 participants from 35 states, the District of Colombia, Indian Country and Puerto Rico, all engaged their colleagues and themselves in a series of lively discussions about the new rural America on December 10 in San Francisco. The true value of any Symposium may rest not so much in the degree to which participants are stimulated in the moment, but the degree to which the content of the day adds value to the community development field over time. In that spirit, we offer this synopsis of the day. We are deliberately not trying to capture every stray thought but, rather, highlight those elements that are most likely to draw you into further inquiry.

4/30/2004
Learning Centers are central facilities, frequently located with an apartment community, where programs are available that support residents in attaining their American dreams - children succeeding in school, adults increasing their earning power, families holding savings accounts and moving into homeownership. This report presents the results of the first two years of the Multifamily Initiative's effort to study the question, "What impact do housing-based learning centers have on property operations, low-income households and their communities?" The long-term goals of this initiative effort are to set benchmarks for outcomes, standardize effective programs, document and optimize the impact of learning centers on property performance, and to build collaborative funding sources. Thanks to the participation of the nine founding housing organizations who have made learning centers part of their operations, and to consultants Fred Alsup and Janet Maccubbin, this report presents a detailed picture of the initial work to define and improve the impact of learning centers, share best practices and build efficient, replicable standards. It also provides information on the characteristics of learning centers, such as types of programs, capacity, areas of success and challenges.

4/22/2004
On April 24, 2003, Neighborhood Reinvestment hosted the fourth national symposium on multifamily excellence, The Vitality of America's Working Neighborhoods: Meeting the Local Challenges to Multifamily Housing, in Chicago, Illinois. Organized by NeighborWorks Multifamily Initiative, this symposium brought together national leaders from across the field with experienced practitioners and local leaders to examine the challenge of creating healthy neighborhoods whild ensuring that all Americans, expecially low-income families, coud afford to live in them. Studies show that mixed-income communities are more sustainable than communities of concentrated poverty. Therefore, we sought to explore how mixed- income communities perform over time -- and how we could support more of these communities. In collaboration with Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS), Neighborhood Reinvestment is honored to publish the summation of its findings along with Ellen Seidman's synopsis of the symposium where the research was first presented. Symposium partricipants heard the research and explored this challenge: How can local jurisdictions find and support a balance of affordability, while ensuring the long term value and health of their neighborhoods? If we don't want concentrated poverty, then Americans who are living on low incomes must be able to find homes they can afford in healthy communities. Yet, neighbors often resist "affordable housing," fearing it will "bring crime, harm schools, or reduce property values." We found many communities throughout the country that successfully balance the ownership and rental challenge by developing public tools that creatively address this issue.

4/11/2004
Many community-based organizations engage in mobilizing those they serve, training residents to step into leadership roles, and supporting collective action to improve community conditions because they believe these activities make a difference. They believe they make a difference to the quality of life, the effectiveness of their organization's efforts, and the sustainability of both. The Community Organizing Pilot Program (COPP) was established to gather the evidence. Through a rigorous planning and documentation process, eighteen NeighborWorks organizations across the country established a disciplined process to track their community organizing efforts. During 2001-2002, participating organizations were supported by Neighborhood Reinvestment staff and technical consultants to develop common planning and reporting tools and processes. During 2003, they began to report on the outcomes of their community organizing work. This report represents this first year of reporting, and the culmination of a successful pilot process which led up to it. How does community organizing strengthen the bottom line? We were able to document that participating organizations mobilized thousands of community residents to become more involved in their organizations and communities; leveraged dozens of partnerships, thousands of volunteer hours, and millions of dollars in new community investments; improved safety and physical amenities in their neighborhoods; and resulted in increased responsiveness to community needs on the part of a wide array of public and private institutions, from youth services to public transportation. We then reviewed data on a larger group of NeighborWorks organizations that maintain organizing staff and engage in community organizing, representing approximately 25% of all NeighborWorks affiliates. Our data showed that this group of fifty organizations (including the 18 COPP participants) had significantly lower delinquency rates on their Revolving Loan Funds (8.2% median compared to 14.4% for NWO's that do not have a community organizing component). They also delivered 34% more housing services (median per organization) and successfully secured, on average, 11% more funding for their organizational activities than their non-organizing peers. We believe that this data begins to deliver compelling evidence that community organizing strengthens the bottom line. We look forward to continuing our data gathering and analysis efforts, disseminating "winning strategies," and encouraging organizations to think in terms of this double bottom line. The payoffs are many.

3/24/2004
Author(s)/Creator(s): Bruce Gottschall
The recent rise in subprime mortgage foreclosures threatens to undermine the historic homeownership gains made by low-income and minority households during the 1990s. Particularly problematic is the fact that the wave of foreclosures sweeping the country is concentrated in low-income communities. Foreclosures have devastating financial and psychological impacts on borrowers, damaging their credit reputations and ability to secure credit in the future. Yet the negative impact of foreclosures extends beyond individual borrowers, lenders, and investors. Foreclosed properties often represent an eyesore, a site for illicit activity, and a drag on local house prices in vulnerable neighborhoods, and contribute to negative perceptions of these places. These factors can, in turn, generate a vicious cycle in which the presence of several foreclosed properties in a concentrated geographic area increases the likelihood that loans on neighboring properties will be defaulted on as well. Obviously, a run-up in foreclosures can impose unanticipated costs on mortgage industry participants. For investors and insurers of securities issues, foreclosures represent a direct reduction in cash flows and can reduce the market value of their securities. Foreclosure is also damaging to servicers, who incur significant expense pursuing and attempting to rectify problem loans. In addition, a servicer's bottom line deteriorates as the value of servicing rights must be written down as loans drop out of the pools backing securities issues. Funded by the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation and building on the work of Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) of Chicago, this report seeks to chart new ways that community-based organizations -- working cooperatively with private industry and federal, state, and local governments -- can develop new national-scale foreclosure prevention initiatives. Through its Home Ownership Preservation Initiative (HOPI), the NHS of Chicago has forged a new partnership with the city of Chicago and key lending, investment and servicing institutions doing business in the city. The partnership seeks to preserve homeownership whenever possible and keep families in their homes through pre- and postpurchase counseling, prudent application of loan workouts, and in some cases by providing opportunities to refinance into more affordable NHS loans. When foreclosure is unavoidable, the partners seek to preserve the vacant properties as neighborhood assets.

1/31/2004
This document presents introductory information gathered on a wide range of neighborhood revitalization initiatives.

1/31/2004
Author(s)/Creator(s): Michael Bodaken
Congress included a special $5 million, mixed-income demonstration program in Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation's FY 2003 appropriation. The purpose of the set-aside was to explore approaches for serving households with incomes less than 30 percent of the area median ("extremely low income" or "ELI" households) in mixed-income communities. This paper shares highlights of the 21 grant applications (17 of which have been selected for funding) and how the special congressional funding made a distinct difference in the projects.

1/31/2004
Author(s)/Creator(s): Michael Bodaken
Congress included a special $5 million, mixed-income demonstration program in Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation's FY 2003 appropriation. The purpose of the set-aside was to explore approaches for serving households with incomes less than 30 percent of the area median ("extremely low income" or "ELI" households) in mixed-income communities. This paper shares highlights of the 21 grant applications (17 of which have been selected for funding) and how the special congressional funding made a distinct difference in the projects.

1/28/2004
A series of articles from Fall 2003 NeighborWorks Bright Ideas including articles from Comptroller of the Currency, John D. Hawke, Jr. and Kendall McDaniel, an economist with the Center for the Study of Rural America, a unit of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

9/30/2003
Author(s)/Creator(s): Mark Wiranowski
This paper addresses a two-fold problem. First, some families are struggling to sustain their home ownership, yet market responses are inadequate. Second, postpurchase education and counseling, potential tools to assist vulnerable homeowners, are inadequately provided. This paper presents a conceptual framework for the effect of postpurchase education and counseling in assisting homeowners. It then examines information needs and strategies that can drive the provision of postpurchase services. In particular, the analysis assesses the current effectiveness and implementation of postpurchase programs. It also draws implications from prepurchase counseling and private sector loss mitigation. Finally, current stakeholders in home-ownership outcomes are identified. This paper recommends postpurchase education and counseling that are integrated into the lending models of the financial services industry and comprehensive over the timeline of the mortgage. A series of models ranging in scope are suggested, including potential actors and challenges involved.

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