NeighborWorks® Green Bay participates in a unique program in which a corporation or local philanthropist sponsors a home renovation project. The Sponsor makes loans to the charitable organization to finance all acquisition and renovation costs. When construction is complete and the house is sold, the charity provides the sale proceeds back to the Sponsor. Any shortfall on the repayment of the loans from the sale proceeds is forgiven and considered a charitable contribution from the Sponsor. The Adopt-A-Home Program™ is a nationally recognized "Winning Strategy" by NeighborWorks America.
The Adopt-A-Home Program™ gives NeighborWorks® Green Bay an opportunity to leverage scarce federal dollars, accomplish more projects, have substantial community impact, and create mixed-income neighborhoods. Regardless of income, the agency renovates all houses to the same high standard, so that a lower-income buyer’s home looks like that of an above-moderate-income buyer. In 2007, NeighborWorks® Green Bay began its eleventh Adopt-A-Home™ project.
These projects have a positive influence on the community. The neighborhood gets an attractive house and greater economic diversity and a committed resident who will work to improve the community.
Creating Mixed-Income Neighborhoods. NeighborWorks® Green Bay projects that are completed with public funding, such as CDBG or HOME, typically have a low- to moderate-income constraint attached. A problem with this approach is that it increases the concentration of low-income households in particular neighborhoods.
To address this issue, the Adopt-A-Home™ program was created with no income restrictions. The program creates opportunities for moderate- and above-moderate-income households to become homeowners in the neighborhood, which helps create neighborhoods of choice and eliminate any stigma associated with subsidized housing. By creating mixed-income neighborhoods, NeighborWorks® Green Bay is creating stronger communities and significantly increasing its impact.
The Renovation Process. NeighborWorks® Green Bay strives to accomplish every rehabilitation project to the best of its ability. Each job involves attention to detail, from contextual architecture principles to proper job management. Budgets are created for each project, and general contractors as well as project sponsors are kept informed of all project details and developments. Sponsors select rehabilitation projects based on their own criteria, which may include the amount of anticipated net investment required. NeighborWorks® Green Bay then obtains site control, prepares plans and specs, and solicits bids for the rehabilitation.
Buyer Involvement. When NeighborWorks® Green Bay markets its rehabilitated properties, buyers are asked to keep the property in good condition, build and protect their equity, and get involved in the neighborhood. The homes must be owner-occupied. One particular buyer was exemplary: she set an exceptionally high standard for landscaping and interior design, got involved with both the neighborhood association and with NeighborWorks® Green Bay, and eventually sought election to the board and served as board president. Today this buyer is a valued member of the agency’s design team, making color and finish selections for upcoming rehabilitation projects.
Jack Meng and Inky Meng (a Dorothy Richardson Award winner), created this program to foster healthy, mixed income neighborhoods. Adopt-A-Home™ is a registered trademark of Engrid H. Meng. The Adopt-A-Home Program™ is an ideal vehicle for raising funds for housing renovation through partially forgivable construction loans. To learn more about the Program and for information on becoming a Sponsor or charitable development partner, contact NeighborWorks® Green Bay at email@example.com.
Jack Jenson co-authored this article.