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January 2014

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Redefining ‘renters vs. owners’ to ‘neighbors’
Surveys show wide disparities between perceptions of renters vs. homeowners – some based on reality, and others that are not. Many of the problems could be alleviated, however, if more programs encouraged neighbor-to-neighbor social connections, rather than owners to renters.
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Absentee owners often the root of ‘the renter problem’
It’s a common perception among homeowners that neighborhoods go downhill once too many renters move in. Anecdotes abound of rental properties with peeling paint, dilapidated porches and other problems.
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Is there truth to those renter stereotypes?
The national “ethos” that values homeownership over renting has a long history. On Dec. 2, 1931, for example, President Herbert Hoover said in an address to the White House Conference on Home Building and Homeownership, “[There is] the high ideal and aspiration that each family may pass their days in the home that they own…There can be no fear for a democracy or self-government or for liberty or freedom from homeowners, no matter how humble they may be.”
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Survey shows chasm between renters, owners
Owning your own home is considered by many to be an essential element of “making it.” In fact, a recent national survey commissioned by NeighborWorks America found that 88 percent of adults say homeownership is at least somewhat important to their definition of achieving the “American dream.”
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Alaska group provides one-stop shop for homeless
Homelessness has many causes and spawns many needs, making it difficult to coordinate the multiple visits and services required to stabilize these individuals and put them on the road to “recovery.” That challenge is what inspired the San Francisco Department of Public Health to host its first “Project Homeless Connect” event in 2004, and today, more than 260 other organizations have been trained to follow suit – including NeighborWorks Anchorage in Alaska.
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MLK Day is over, but volunteering brings rewards all year
Martin Luther King Jr. famously once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others?’ ’’ That sentiment, which so aptly reflects the focus of his life, is at the heart of Martin Luther King Jr. Day -- the only federal holiday designed to encourage Americans to commit to a day of service. But volunteerism is a contribution – and a joy – that can and should be practiced throughout the year.
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Lease-to-purchase program provides pathway to homeownership
Traditionally a first-mortgage lender, Kalamazoo Neighborhood Housing Services could no longer offer that assistance as banks pulled back.