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The Latest News from NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania

The Latest News from NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania

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IN THIS ISSUE:

Improving Our Customer Experience
Homeowner Story: Daylin
Big Ideas in the Big Easy
Join Us for 50 Years of Home



Improving Our Customer Experience

NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania is rolling out new tools, technology, products, and services designed to improve the customer experience. With the help of our marketing partners at Trailblaze Creative, earlier this month, we launched a new, mobile-optimized website, with in-depth program and organizational information. The site is a culmination of the organization’s rebranding efforts, featuring new designs, colors, and a new slogan: Home Starts Here.

 

Later this month, a new web-based interface will be available to all new and existing customers, allowing them to create user profiles, register for workshops and set up counseling sessions online, and keep track of financial goals and progress toward goals through the use of individual dashboards. This proprietary technology, developed by NeighborWorks America, will integrate seamlessly into our website and will be linked to a customized Salesforce platform, allowing for automatic customer reminders about next steps, action items, and appointments.

 

To make our homeownership and financial wellness services more accessible to customers across western Pennsylvania, we are now offering virtual counseling. We know that many of our customers are unable to take off work during regular business hours. By offering virtual counseling, we are able to better accommodate evening, weekend, and lunch-break appointments. These appointments are available to all customers who have attended an in-person workshop or participated in online homebuyer education. Appointments will soon be available through the new, Salesforce-based system. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit our website or call (412) 281-9773.


Homeowner Story: Daylin

Daylin Chatley had several reasons for purchasing a home. She wanted to build equity, rather than paying rent every month. She also sought the freedom, independence and security of being a homeowner. But now that she’s achieved her goal, those aren’t her favorite things about owning a home. That would be her dog. “She’s the best part of homeownership,” according to Daylin.


She completed NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania’s Homebuyer Workshop, which she learned about through the Lawrenceville Corporation, before purchasing her home in Lawrenceville through a community land trust. The Saturday class, designed to meet the needs of Pittsburgh's first-time homebuyers, covers everything from credit to closing. It features presentations by loan officers, real estate agents, home inspectors, and insurance representatives.


“They went through the process step by step,” said Daylin, who found the format inviting and informative. “It really helped me prepare.”


The bank through which she got her mortgage required she take a homebuyer workshop. “I'm very happy I did,” she said, explaining how it brought many things to her attention that she didn't fully consider beforehand. Also, by completing the course, her bank offered an interest rate reduction.


Her advice to those going through the homebuying process: be patient. “Finding the right place will take time and effort, but it is so worth it,” said Daylin. “The right house will be there.” Additionally, she recommends making a budget. “Unexpected things will occur, and you can't just call a landlord,” said Daylin. “So, patience and planning is key.”


As a new homeowner, Daylin looks forward to hosting Thanksgiving for her family this year. “I’ll get to cook the turkey for the first time,” she exclaimed. Of course, her dog will be there, too, who has “made the house feel like a home.”



Big Ideas in the Big Easy

NWWPA staff and community partners recently participated in the NeighborWorks Training Institute in New Orleans.
NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania (NWWPA) staff and partners traveled to New Orleans, LA August 19-23 for a week of learning and networking at the NeighborWorks Training Institute. Held three times annually in cities across the country, NeighborWorks Training Institutes attract nearly 2,000 community development and housing professionals from all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Ten NWWPA staff members attended the New Orleans Institute, accompanied by partners from the Mon Valley Initiative, Operation Better Block, McKees Rocks Community Development Corporation, and Zellous Hope Project.
 

Our team participated in intensive training and skills building on topics such as program design, training and facilitation, financial coaching skills, advancing operational strategies, and effective team management. Importantly, our leadership also attended a day-long training on harassment in the workplace.

 

As a charter member of the NeighborWorks network, our organization receives an allotment of training slots, allowing our team to participate in top-notch training at a fraction of the cost. We are happy to be able to extend some of these discounted slots to our community partners.

 

Jerome Jackson, Executive Director of Operation Better Block (OBB) in Homewood, has been attending NeighborWorks Training Institutes since 2012 and is working toward a professional certificate in Community Economic Development. OBB Program Manager Reginald Good had the opportunity to attend his first NTI in New Orleans. “The NeighborWorks Training Institute provided me with the education, knowledge, and a process that will assist our organization in addressing housing endeavors in the neighborhoods that we serve,” said Reginald.

 

In between the learning and networking, our staff and partners enjoyed taking in the culinary and musical traditions of New Orleans, and exploring the many neighborhoods that make up the city.


Join Us for 50 Years of Home

Over the past 50 years, NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania (NWWPA) has helped thousands of families to purchase their first homes, so they can experience the personal and community stability that accompanies homeownership.


Join us on October 16 in the Northside, as we recognize the legacy of our organization’s founder, Dorothy Mae Richardson, with the dedication of an official Pennsylvania historical marker in her honor, followed by a reception in celebration of our 50th anniversary.


A lifelong resident of Pittsburgh’s Northside, Dorothy founded Neighborhood Housing Services—which would eventually become NWWPA—to address the lack of safe and affordable housing in her community. Dorothy and her neighbors brought together financial institutions and government officials in a successful effort to revitalize their neighborhood, creating a model of resident-led community development that inspired a national movement and laid the foundation for NeighborWorks America.


Please join the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, NWWPA and our supporters, and members of Dorothy’s family for the celebration. The historical marker dedication will take place at 4 p.m., at the intersection of Jacksonia and Arch Streets, followed by a reception at 5 p.m. at The Mattress Factory. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. To learn about sponsorship opportunities, visit the event webpage, or contact Emily Lavin.


Copyright © 2019 NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania, All rights reserved.



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