Through training, grants, research, learning cohorts and more, NeighborWorks America makes a difference in communities across the nation, in partnership with nearly 250 network organizations who do the "work on the ground." As 2022 draws to a close, some of NeighborWorks' senior leaders share what they see as the biggest impacts in 2022.
Paul Singh, vice president of Community Initiatives
"I'm proud that we were able to invest more than $10 million in comprehensive, resident-led efforts across the network. These efforts are changing communities, centered around the things residents want most. I'm also glad that we were able to host our first in-person Community Leadership Institute since the beginning of the pandemic! Nearly 600 resident leaders gathered in Charlotte, North Carolina to work on their skills and discuss projects that they're bringing back to their communities. I'm looking forward to seeing these projects move ahead next year."
Mel Willie, director of Native Partnerships and Strategies
"In 2022, NeighborWorks America awarded 10 Native partnership grants to network organizations throughout the United States. The overall goal of these grants is to increase housing and homeownership opportunities through building partnerships between network organizations and tribal communities. Some network members are creating new relationships while others are deepening their impact through current programs and services."
Katie Watts, senior vice president of Field Operations
"For the past few years, we've seen the NeighborWorks network continue to be stretched as they step up to respond to the ongoing needs of their community. In the past year, a lot of resources became available at the state and federal level. Network members played a big role in helping administer those resources and helping clients connect to them. With the Great Resignation, the field has also been supporting organizations as they think about how to continue to have an impact in their communities with their teams in transition. Relationship managers have been a sounding board for network leaders. It really does make a big difference to have a trusted partner.
"We've helped connect the network to resources and to other partners in their community. We've set up peer exchanges and grants. Our role in bringing all of the pieces together has been huge this year. We've also helped support some exciting pilots, including in the leadership development space. We've been helping our organizations expand their ability to do more. For example, in the southern region, multiple network organizations are partnering with community development credit unions to provide counseling and education services for clients.
"The field is also leading a cross-divisional effort around embedding equity more deeply in our grant making. I think it will be an important part of our work in fiscal year 2023."
Douglas Sessions, senior vice president of Training
"The NeighborWorks Training Institutes held in both Los Angeles and Kansas City brought housing counselors and community development practitioners from all 50 states and several territories with close to 2,000 attendees combined and nearing 3,000 course certificates earned.
"To address industry trends and learning needs, we expanded our catalog of in-person and online course offerings, adding more than 20 new courses, covering new topics on Native and rural community development, shared equity housing, rental eviction prevention and trauma informed coaching. We also introduced a new training format: hybrid courses. Participants can pick the option that works best for their travel schedule and budget. We also worked hard to make sure out-of-pocket costs for our network members to attend these events remained flat while also offering more than 1,300 scholarships, thanks to the support of our generous sponsors.
"A key highlight was the return of the Community Leadership Institute, where resident leaders once again came together in the tradition of NeighborWorks to focus on making communities throughout America a better place to live and where people can thrive. Sharing best practices and gaining new skills, community leaders then focused on converting these learnings to improve and initiate projects in their communities, which included receiving start up grant money through our Community Initiatives Program to get them started.
"Overall, this past year was phenomenally successful in making learning accessible to our broad customer base. With close to 11,000 training certificates earned from attendees from more than 1,600 unique organizations, NeighborWorks' training continues to address the learning needs of our industry, staying ahead of trends, showing flexibility and creativity to bring learning via diverse modes of delivery whether in-person or online, synchronous or asynchronous, to meet the needs of our customers and fit within their busy schedules and learning style preferences."
Lisa Getter, vice president of National Real Estate Programs
"In 2022, the National Real Estate Programs division was able to deliver some new opportunities to the network through collaborations with our partners and the capital corporations. It was a year of some great firsts!
"Through the new Rental Housing Development Intensive Training program, Mutual Housing Association of Greater Hartford, Connecticut Housing Partners and NeighborWorks New Horizons each received $900,000 in funding from the state of Connecticut Department of Housing (DOH). The funding came as a result of these organization's participating in the Rental Housing Development Intensive (RHDI) training program designed by National Real Estate Programs for the Northeastern Region. The intensive was designed to help nonprofit developers ready themselves for project financing and operational funding the state is making available from American Rescue Plan funds and other resources.
"In partnership with Field Operations Midwest Region staff, our division offered a new technical assistance opportunity to for-sale developers within the NeighborWorks network. Three network organizations, NeighborWorks Columbus (Georgia) NHS of Southwest Wisconsin and Suncoast Housing Connections (Florida), worked with consultants from July to September to strengthen their for-sale lines of business. Along with the For-Sale Peer Learning grants and monthly innovation webinar series, this opportunity provided additional support to for-sale developers, in alignment with NeighborWorks' strategic plan.
"We were also excited that Neighborhood Risk Management Corp. awarded Consortium For Housing & Asset Management (CHAM) a $1 million grant to support a comprehensive risk management program to help multifamily affordable housing owners to implement robust risk management practices."
"And the Community Housing Capital (CHC) team had an amazing first – closing on the network's first Single Family New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) deal. CHC committed to and successfully brought a financing source to the network that had not been leveraged before and the experience will hopefully translate into future opportunities for even more network organizations and communities. The $30 million NMTC transaction supported the creation of equity for families through affordable homeownership in targeted areas of higher distress. The organizations receiving the allocation included: NHS of Baltimore (West Baltimore); Dayton's Bluff (Village on Rivoli), Piedmont Housing (Fifeville-Prospect/Southwood); NeighborWorks Columbus (Elliott's Walk); and Avenue (Northline)."