NeighborWorks® Boise: On a Mission
If you haven’t noticed, the Boise Valley is GROWING! With new office buildings, hotels, and condos decorating the city skyline and a residential construction boom in the suburban areas, it’s easy to see why Forbes recently listed it as the 17th fastest growing area in the United States.¹ Yet all of this exciting new growth brought us to record low housing inventory levels at the end of 2016² – making it tough for the average area resident to get a home and even tougher for those seeking affordable housing. But NeighborWorks® Boise is on a mission to help!
Our mission is to lead in creating innovative housing solutions for underserved populations through strategic partnerships that contribute to building stronger communities. Basically, we are here to help low and moderate income (LMI) folks obtain and sustain affordable housing, while building an inclusive environment that strengthens our communities. Thanks to your support, this past year we were able to achieve some really exciting outcomes in our housing programs, so that more Treasure Valley residents can have a safe and affordable place to call Home.
NeighborWorks® HomeOwnership Center℠
In August, NWB was designated as a NeighborWorks® HomeOwnership Center℠, which joins our Homeownership Programs and Homeownership Lending departments together into one symbiotic group of programs to better serve our community – including LMI families and individuals. This designation has already helped us develop existing partnerships. It should also increase our exposure in the community and help us leverage new and existing funds and other partnerships – expanding our reach to more clients and the range of services we can offer them.
Perhaps the most important impact of joining these departments together is making us more effective in helping our clients achieve sustainable homeownership. We will be able to help more LMI residents like recent clients, Vic and Cassie, who were interested in finding an affordable home in their city that would comfortably house them and their three children and took NWB’s Homebuyer Education course this past year. Even though Vic was a full time state employee and Cassie worked part time, money was tight; so the couple also attended NWB’s Financial Fitness Coaching – hoping we could help them identify leakages in their budget. While the couple already budgeted very well, had excellent credit, and even had a little money saved for a down payment, it was still hard for them to find a place they could afford in Meridian, considering the increasing prices and low housing supply in the rapidly growing area. NWB Homeownership Lending was able to offer them a down payment assistance grant that we received from the City of Meridian’s Community Development Block Grant funds and the family of five are now proud homeowners in the city they love!
Full-Cycle Homeownership Story
So far this year, NWB received $25,000 from The Lightfoot Foundation and approval for an $8,000 award from the Wells Fargo Foundation in support of our Acquisition and Rehabilitation of Single Family Homes. With these grants that make our homes affordable, for the first time ever, we were able to help a family through our entire full-cycle homeownership process.
Meridian couple, Josh and Jasmine were looking for a home to accommodate their expanding family, having a toddler and another baby on the way, when their Realtor® showed them one of NWB’s newly rehabbed homes for sale. After filling out the loan application with NWB Lending, they took our Pre-purchase Counseling and Homebuyer Education courses, where they learned about the home buying process and how to be responsible homeowners. Our loan officer discovered that the family qualified for a down payment assistance grant that NWB received from the City of Meridian’s Community Development Block Grant funds. This grant assistance combined with first and second layered loans through NWB Lending – helping them bypass the additional cost of mortgage insurance – enabled Josh and Jasmine to purchase NWB’s newest rehabbed home located near the elementary school. The couple looks forward to the future, when their house can be the ‘hangout home’ where their kids’ friends can have a fun, safe, and stable place to spend time.
CDFI Fund Award
In September NWB’s Homeownership Lending department had more reason to celebrate, as we received word that the U.S. Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institution Fund (CDFI Fund) had awarded us $500,000 in lending funds – specifically to help LMI Idaho residents purchase a home. What perfect timing as we ramp up the HomeOwnership Center℠!
Milestone Year for Community Revitalization Event
In 2016, NWB’s Rake Up Boise™ helped a record number of recipients. A total of 822 senior and disabled homeowners had their yards raked and winterized by 6,911 volunteers.
Rake Up Boise™ and NWB’s other community revitalization event for our senior and disabled neighbors, Paint The Town™ have become staples of the community – positively affecting the entire community by helping the recipients maintain affordable and independent housing while raising their dignity and morale, restoring neighborhood pride, and bringing community members together to improve our neighborhoods.
These invaluable programs help our neighbors like Jenise, a 2016 Rake Up Boise™ recipient, who expressed how the program raised her spirits in a letter stating, “I am fighting cancer…I have been a strong, independent woman, caring for my home, family and business. Now I have to sit back and heal – letting others care for me. I watched these kids play in the leaves, laugh and be a team and I sobbed. Play comes with their giving hearts. Such a beautiful gift. I can’t thank you enough.”
Paint The Town™ is on June 10th this year, and now is the time to register your team for this fun and rewarding event!
Single Family Rental Homes
In an effort help solve affordability issues for our community’s tenants, NWB applied for and was awarded a Single Family Rental grant in the amount of $460,000 from Idaho Housing and Finance Association. This funding will allow us to purchase two homes that are close in to schools, shopping, employment and services; rehab them with energy-efficient improvements; and then rent them out to families with incomes at or below 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI). NWB has already purchased the homes and plans to have them move-in ready in 2017.
HOME Funds for Affordable New Homes in Pocket Neighborhoods</p>
As a way of combatting gentrification near downtown Boise, NWB is building sensibly-priced homes on infill property in innovatively-designed pocket neighborhoods. In 2016, we were awarded HOME Program funds from both the City of Boise and IHFA to support the construction of some of these homes in Boise and Garden City – setting them aside specifically for home buyers at or below 80% AMI.
Wells Fargo Housing Foundation – Priority Markets Program Award
For the second consecutive year, the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation has partnered with NWB through their Priority Markets Program – also providing funding to decrease construction costs in these pocket neighborhoods so Neighborhood Homes – the construction company owned by NWB – can pass along the savings to our LMI home buyers. Wells Fargo employees also engage in hundreds of hours of volunteer projects within these new neighborhoods throughout the year – preparing lots, building and staining fences, and painting garages.
This year, the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation is helping support our 43rd Adams Cottages pocket neighborhood in Garden City. A celebration of this support – including a check presentation and a tour of one of the homes – took place on March 31st. Thanks to the $100,000 contribution from the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation, our homes will be more accessible to our community’s LMI residents.
Community Building and Integration Award Winners
NWB has also experienced success over the past year in our efforts to build a more inclusive and empowering environment within our affordable apartment communities. Both an NWB board member and one of the resident leaders from our rental units received awards for community building and cultural integration.
Erin Sorensen, our former board president, received NeighborWorks® America’s prestigious Dorothy Richardson Award for Resident Leadership for helping revitalize her neighborhood and making it more inclusive. Sorensen was one of only eight winners in the nation to receive this award. She is considering using the $5,000 grant associated with the award to fund scholarships for low income residents who want to create their own business, giving them access to business training and mentorship.
Adey, a resident at one of NWB’s affordable apartment communities, received the 2017 Success & Integration Award at the Idaho Conference on Refugees in February. She was honored for her strength and leadership in helping raise her siblings in the midst of fleeing war-torn Somalia, completing her 2-year medical assistant degree and getting a job in that career field when she got to America. On top of those responsibilities, Adey chose to become a resident leader – coordinating a resident-driven Harvest Party which included planning the event, recruiting her neighbors as volunteers and supervising them. Adey’s idea for 2017 is to plan an event that brings her neighbors together and celebrates the end of Ramadan. She wants to help her neighbors understand the importance of this holiday, while embracing diversity and creating a safe place for people to celebrate.
Help Us Make More Mission Moments
Each NWB board, committee and staff meeting includes a mission moment – a brief success story of how we have helped a family or individual achieve or maintain affordable housing in our communities. These positive little moments keep us focused on the people we serve, our organizational goals, and the partners who help us achieve them. NeighborWorks® Boise is extremely grateful for all our current partners, donors, volunteers, and sponsors who helped us achieve so many mission moments this past year. You were a huge part of our success!
If you have not yet had the opportunity to collaborate with us in our mission to create more innovative housing solutions for the underserved, please consider one or more of the following ways to help us make more mission moments in 2017, as we work together to strengthen our growing communities.
- Tell someone about NeighborWorks® Boise’s programs and services
For more information about NeighborWorks® Boise programs and services, visit our website at www.nwboise.org or call 208-343-4065
¹ America’s Fastest- Growing Cities 2016. Forbes. Accessed December 13, 2016. Web.
¹² December 2016 Market Statistics for Ada and Canyon Counties. Boise Regional Realtors. Accessed January 14, 2017. Web.