Homeport is the single largest developer of affordable housing in Central Ohio with more than 5,700 low- and moderate-income residents, half of whom are children. High quality partnerships help us in promoting and providing stability and opportunity to our residents. This month we kick-off our partner profile series.
Featured Partner: NeighborWorks America
Homeport Question: Tell us about NeighborWorks America (NWA), its mission and purpose, and how it relates to the affordable housing industry?
NWA: For 40 years, NeighborWorks America has worked to create opportunities for people to live in affordable homes, both rented and owned; improve their lives; and strengthen their communities. It accomplishes this mission through a network of nearly 250 nonprofit organizations in all 50 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico. NeighborWorks America supports its network organizations with grants, technical assistance, peer-to-peer learning opportunities and strategic partnerships. It also is a leading provider of training to the broader housing and community development field. Together, NeighborWorks America and its network leverage public and private resources to better the lives of families across America. Over the past five years, NeighborWorks organizations have generated more than $30 billion in investment in their communities.
Homeport: Who is Dorothy Richardson and where does she fit into what NeighborWorks America has become?
NWA: NeighborWorks America exists today because 40 years ago, a coalition of residents, government officials, bankers and community members decided to experiment with a new way of making communities better places to live. Instead of housing projects, this coalition – the Federal Home Loan Bank, William Whiteside of the Coro Foundation, resident leader Dorothy Richardson and many others – envisioned better, more affordable homes in the places where people need them the most. Dorothy Richardson led her neighbors in the Central North Side neighborhood of Pittsburgh to fight back against community decay, resulting in the creation of a group that ultimately became the first NeighborWorks organization.
Homeport: What role does Homeport play in the NeighborWorks America organization?
NWA: All of the organizations in the NeighborWorks network contribute to the overall strength of the network and of every organization in it. NeighborWorks America offers many things to network members, including unrestricted grants, training and oversight to help organizations stay strong, but network leaders consistently tell NeighborWorks America how much they also value peer sharing and peer learning opportunities. So, one of the most important roles Homeport serves is sharing with other network members the many innovative approaches to affordable housing and community development that it has developed through its 30 years of work in Columbus. Homeport is uniquely situated to do this because it is one of 10 network organizations in Ohio, where NeighborWorks America also has a statewide collaborative, so there are many opportunities for Homeport to share its expertise with other organizations in the state in addition to the broader network.
Homeport: What does NeighborWorks America envision as its key characteristics, role and impact 10 years from now?
NWA: The work that NeighborWorks America and its network members do is being impacted by rapid changes that make it difficult to predict impact 10 years from now. However, for 40 years NeighborWorks America has consistently been a leader in affordable housing, neighborhood revitalization and community development, and NeighborWorks America will continue to focus on these areas guided by a five-year plan that was adopted in 2017. NeighborWorks America’s vision states that: “Through NeighborWorks and its partnerships, America is a nation of vibrant communities all are proud to call home,” and the plan reaffirms NeighborWorks’ commitment to the core mission established nearly 40 years ago: creating opportunities for people to live in affordable homes, improve their lives and strengthen their communities.
Click here to learn more about NeighborWorks America.