Augusta Wilbon, Neighborhood Housing Services, Community Relations Specialist, discusses NHS and its Community Leadership Institute.
Host, producer: Donna Morrow Wolfe Co-host, co-producer: Joseph Jackson
NHS has three distinct departments: Real Estate Development, HomeOwnership Center, and Community Relations. Real Estate Development acquires and rehabilitates homes in various states of disrepair and gives them a second life. This is more than flipping homes; every house is renovated so all major systems of the house work properly and the homeowners have a quality home. The goal is to take the one or two destabilizing homes in a block and improve the safety and quality of life for all residents.
This is accomplished by using a combination of grant money and private donations to purchase homes through foreclosures or tax sales. In the past three years, NHS has also been purchasing homes with unrestricted money which allows them to choose specific homes in specific areas. More recently, NHS has received donated homes through banks looking to lessen their financial burdens.
In 2011, the HomeOwnership Center (HOC) was officially designated by NeighborWorks® America and has been honored as one of the top programs in a seven state region. The goal of the HOC is to educate and assist individuals on the process of buying a home, obtaining mortgage loans, and responsible homeownership post purchase. In general, the HOC is divided in that same manner with Education Classes accounting for 37% of the clientele, Pre-Purchase Counseling 43%, and Post-Purchase Counseling 20%.
Grant monies and private donations make it possible for the HOC to have access to the funds needed to assist people in getting loans or making repairs. Partnerships with the City of Kansas City are leveraged to get people into city funded programs. In the coming years the HOC will be continually looking for ways to reach more individuals who need homeownership education.
Community Relations is ground zero for working with neighborhood associations and individuals to improve the community. The goal is to provide the residents with resources for working through city regulations, resolving disputes, and community betterment.
NHS has a designated staff member who works with the community members on a daily basis to ensure questions are answered and problems resolved. This individual has an unwavering commitment to improving the neighborhoods and the lives of those living there.
About NeighborWorks® America
NeighborWorks® America creates opportunities for people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities by providing access to homeownership and to safe and affordable rental housing. Since 1991, NeighborWorks® America has assisted nearly 1.2 million low- to moderate-income families with their housing needs. They achieve much of their success through the support of organizations such as NHS, one of more than 235 community development organizations working in more than 4,400 urban, suburban and rural communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
In 2011, NeighborWorks® America certified NHS as the 100th HomeOwnership Center nationwide and the only one in a 400-mile radius. NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Centers offer a comprehensive range of user-friendly services that attract new customers and significantly boost home ownership among the nation’s most underserved buyers — women, minorities and families of modest means. One hundred homeownership centers are serving communities across the country. Individuals can access all of the services, products and training necessary to shop for, purchase, renovate, insure, maintain and manage a home — under one roof.