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7/26/2016
Author(s)/Creator(s): Jayne Windham
Recognizing the importance of rehab work for housing preservation, and the difficulty of running a sustainable rehab line of business, in 2015 the Rural Initiative prioritized an inquiry into the rural rehab line of business. A cross section of experts were gathered from the NeighborWorks network to form a year-long Rural Rehab Task Force to provide recommendations on how NeighborWorks can better support rehab in training, technical assistance, and resource allocation, and to share best practices by producing model business plans demonstrating different ways to structure sustainable rehab programs.

6/23/2016
Author(s)/Creator(s): Community Housing Partners
The following study details the results of a pilot project of NeighborWorks America, which asked 2rw Consultants to evaluate the effectiveness of engineered energy calculation models to adjust utility allowances at affordable housing properties across the United States. NeighborWorks then engaged Community Housing Partners (CHP) to assess the results. The results indicate that using the engineered utility allowance method to estimate usage and costs can be beneficial for affordable housing properties in two ways. First, owners and managers of LIHTC properties will find it easier to fund and recover investments in energy efficiency. Second, pairing the engineered energy calculation method with a resident education program can be used to improve resident use and understanding of energy-efficient components in their homes.

12/23/2015
Author(s)/Creator(s): Robert Santucci, Paul Webb
The Five Key Observations Observation#1: Rural rehab success emanated from positive thinking and persistent implementation Observation #2: Almost every RHRO would benefit from a substantial increase in the per unit funding available, especially in light of the forthcoming HUD HOME requirement to establish written rehab standards in ten subcategories. Observation #3: A smartphone and tablet with 20 to 40 apps is the rehab specialist’s Swiss Army knife. They are our, GPS, calculator, spec writer, office lifeline in case of danger, camera, clock, cost estimator calendar and a hundred other single-purpose but very important uses. Observation #4: NeighborWorks® Rural Initiative could provide a clearinghouse for success techniques targeted to rural rehab. Each month it might focus on a specific aspect of rehab management; inspection checklists in January, green specs in February, feasibility checklist in March, contractor qualification questionnaires in April and so on. Observation #5: Even with most components of in-house contractor success formula in place, per the Statistic Research Institute 53% of construction firms go out of business with in the first 4 years. It remains a very risky model that requires significant; funding, staff experience, administrative support and risk tolerance. Three Rehab Production Models And Their AlternativesThis middle section restates the introduction and methodology and offers a detailed review of the Traditional Rehab Specialist, Construction Management Of Subcontractor and the In-House General Contractor production models .for each model the article provides: definition and staffing pattern, design roles and tasks for each major player, benefits and challenges, alternative models and finally recommendations for successful implementation Focus TopicsDuring our interview process, three ideas surfaced that were best served with a mini discussion of the topic rather than being embedded in the already large middle section.The three topics are; software and technology, management of community relations – marketing and quality control, and budget solutions

12/1/2015
Author(s)/Creator(s): Stockton Williams
Naturally-occuring affordable housing units are likely to be used to serve higher-income households, and affordable housing units are increasingly lost or at risk of losing government subsidies. This report highlights sixteen leading efforts and innovative approaches to preserve affordable housing, including below-market debt funds, private equity vehicles, and real estate investment trusts.

11/30/2015
Author(s)/Creator(s): Sam LaTronica
Sam LaTronica, candidate in Urban Planning at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, presented innovative case studies in affordable single-family home construction, including goals, positive outcomes, and lessons learned.

10/9/2015
Author(s)/Creator(s): Ira Goldstein, Lois Greco, Maggie Grieve
The Wells Fargo Regional Foundation has a well-established continuum of grantmaking and technical-assistance programs designed to improve the quality of life for children and families living in low-income communities in eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey. The foundation's decade long focus on neighborhood revitalization has helped to shape a resident-driven, collaborative, long-term, and data-informed approach designed to make neighborhoods more attractive for large-scale investment. In 2014, the foundation engaged The Reinvestment Fund and Success Measures at NeighborWorks America to jointly evaluate the impact of its grantmaking and related programs from 2003 to 2013, to determine if practices in its approach could be transferred to other regions, and to assess its influence in the field. The evaluation examined lessons from 140 grants, totaling $41.69 million, that enabled hundreds of projects in the region and leveraged $231.5 million in direct and indirect neighborhood investment. Based on the findings of the evaluation, the foundation reaffirmed its mission, revised certain aspects of its Neighborhood Grants Program, and in a new strategic plan further defined and enhanced its opportunities for collaboration and shared learning within the funding community.

9/30/2015
Author(s)/Creator(s): Widmeyer Communications
Homeownership remains an integral part of the American dream, but the burden of student loans has clouded views of homeownership. Those with student loan debt are much more likely to consider renting a home instead of purchasing a home. Widmeyer Communications, a Finn Partners Company, share key findings in this survey conducted from Sept. 14-18, 2015 with a nationally-representative sample of 1,000 U.S. adults.

8/17/2015
Author(s)/Creator(s): Nathalie Janson
Nathalie Janson, candidate in Master in Urban Planning at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, researched comprehensive community development, including its impact, challenges and opportunities for support.

8/7/2015
Author(s)/Creator(s): Jayne Windham
Ten certifications to consider when rehabilitating homes in rural communities.

3/26/2015
We worked with SMARI to execute and report the results of a national consumer financial survey. The survey is aimed at providing important consumer-based information that will inform our delivery of financial capability services and training tools to the nonprofit development profession, expanding understanding of the financial literacy and capability of American households. The results of the survey will add to the body of information gleaned from the first financial capability survey conducted in the spring of 2014.

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