In 2016, NeighborWorks Lincoln (NWL) is excited to be celebrating our 30th Anniversary of making an impact in Lincoln. We are incredibly proud of what we have accomplished over the last three decades, and we are thrilled to be marking this milestone in the organization’s history.
Established in 1986, NWL is a non-profit organization dedicated to keeping Lincoln a safe and prosperous community by revitalizing neighborhoods and promoting home ownership. NeighborWorks Lincoln aspires to make Lincoln a vibrant city with an exceptional quality of life for all. The organization fulfills its mission through an active partnership of resident leaders, private businesses, the philanthropic community and the public sector.
First known as Lincoln Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc, NWL spent its early years defining its scope and programs and building relationships. By 1993, the organization had a clear direction and plan for revitalization of several inner city neighborhoods. In 1994, NWL became a chartered member of the national NeighborWorks America network, which had been established under Title VI of the Housing and Community Development Amendments of 1978 as a congressionally chartered non-profit agency dedicated to improving distressed communities. This affiliation with approximately 240 similar organizations allowed NWL to gain access to financial resources, tools, training opportunities, and the experience of hundreds of colleagues around the country. In 2005, the Lincoln organization began doing business as NeighborWorks Lincoln to maximize the branding advantage of being a NeighborWorks America affiliate.
Throughout its years of service, NWL has been a leader in community development. It was the first organization in the nation to establish a homebuilding program for high school students and the first non-profit organization in Nebraska to offer homebuyer education. NWL is governed by a fifteen member Board of Directors representing community members, the business and banking industries, and urban development governmental agencies. The organization is funded by many partners, including the City of Lincoln, Nebraska Department of Economic Development, the philanthropic community, and NeighborWorks America.
NeighborWorks Lincoln is deeply committed to keeping Lincoln a thriving and vibrant community, and we do this through what we call a “three-legged stool” approach to neighborhood revitalization. This approach includes work in our three core areas of focus:
- Facilitating sustainable home ownership through our Home Ownership Services Program, which includes a Down Payment Assistance Program as well as Homebuyer Education classes;
- Developing desirable housing through our Real Estate Development Program, which includes the development of properties through both rehabilitation and new construction; and,
- Strengthening communities by empowering residents through our Community Building Program, which works to educate and empower neighborhood residents to take action and influence change in their communities.
We believe that if any one of these approaches is used without the other two in tandem, the impact of our efforts in the community is lessened. We are proud of the work we have done in the city of Lincoln, and are truly grateful for the continued support of our community partners.
HOME OWNERSHIP SERVICES
NeighborWorks Lincoln educates potential homebuyers through our Homebuyer Education Classes, and prepares them to be sustainable homeowners. NWL also assists qualifying first-time homebuyers with down payment assistance loans. In FY16, NWL provided homebuyer education to 215 households (302 individuals). Of the 215 households educated through our homebuyer education classes, 90 went on to purchase homes in Lincoln. A total of 86 of these clients qualified for NWL’s program and received down payment assistance, and 67 received rehabilitation services. The total amount of the rehabilitation costs of the homes purchased through the Home Ownership Services program in FY16 was $617,267. The total amount of loans distributed for down payment assistance and rehab in FY16 was $1,406,566. The total amount of first mortgages closed for NWL clients was $9,398,566.
Since our inception, NWL has assisted over 1,500 households through our Home Ownership Services program, and has invested tens of millions of dollars back into the Lincoln community, through the rehabilitation of homes purchased through this program.
REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT
NeighborWorks Lincoln strives to develop affordable and desirable housing in some of Lincoln’s most established neighborhoods. NWL’s real estate development efforts include the rehabilitation of existing homes, as well as new construction. In FY16, NeighborWorks Lincoln’s Real Estate Development Program built and sold eleven newly constructed single-family homes in the core neighborhoods of Lincoln.
The average amount NWL paid for a property in need of redevelopment in FY16 was $23,509. Each of these completed properties sold for an average price of $135,329 in FY16. Using these figures, the average percent increase in value of each property would be 476%. In addition, the total amount of dollars NeighborWorks Lincoln re-invested in the city through the re-development of these eleven properties was $1,944,450.
In 2007, Real Estate Development efforts became a focal point for the organization based on community need. Since 2007, NWL has redeveloped an average of eleven affordable and desirable single-family housing units per year.
Community Builders work to strengthen the community by educating and empowering residents. They serve as the “eyes” and “ears” of NeighborWorks Lincoln on the ground. They work with residents throughout the city of Lincoln to learn the problems and greatest needs in the neighborhoods. Community Builders attend neighborhood association meetings, conduct neighborhood surveys, identify community resources, and help identify dilapidated properties. They provide residents with educational opportunities and leadership training to build confidence in neighborhood redevelopment.
Community Builders assist NWL in effectively identifying areas of need and work with community partners to advocate for (and direct) available resources. In FY16, Community Building efforts involved more than 450 residents and stakeholders through more than 5,000 community service hours, including service on boards, attendance and coordination of the Lincoln Policy Network meetings, and volunteering at numerous NWL sponsored events such as the Civic Health Summit and Neighbor Powered Networks. Community Builders continued economic development and marketing work with the commercial district along the North 27th Street corridor and in the Clinton Hartley neighborhoods. Our Community Building efforts provide a grassroots, all-inclusive approach to solving some of the city’s most pressing housing and neighborhood issues.