NeighborWorks Week starts June 2nd

NeighborWorks Week starts June 2nd

NeighborWorks Umpqua excited to join NeighborWorks Week this Saturday

Every year in June, NeighborWorks Umpqua participates in a national event with other NeighborWorks America organizations:  NeighborWorks Week. NeighborWorks Week mobilizes tens of thousands of volunteers, businesspeople, and civic leaders across the country in a week of neighborhood change and awareness. The theme for this year’s national event is “Creating Opportunity”, a core tenet of NeighborWorks Umpqua’s (NWU) mission and strategic goals. NeighborWorks Week gives NWU the perfect opportunity to practice what we preach. Starting June 2 and ending June 9, this year’s NeighborWorks Week will be the organization’s most ambitious one yet.

In years past, NWU has cleaned up neighborhoods, hosted barbecues for veterans, painted and repaired homes, but these projects have typically been rooted in one specific geographic area. This year, we will work in four of our service counties to create opportunity all within the same week in June!

In Coos Bay, NWU staff will be attending an important government-sponsored resource fair, held in partnership with Oregon Housing and Community Services, the Association of Oregon Counties, and the League of Oregon Cities. The resource fair in Coos Bay will allow the local government of Coos Bay to meet and talk with nonprofits in their area to identify important housing resources and experts for the local community. In addition to the resource fair, NWU will also work alongside its first Community Leadership Institute group and the Southwestern Oregon Community College (SWOCC) garden club to beautify the grounds of SWOCC on Saturday. The Coos Bay office will hold a Volunteer Celebration for their tax preparation and filing volunteers who filed over 500 tax returns and contributed over 1500 volunteer hours.

In Roseburg, NeighborWorks Umpqua will begin working on the historic property, the Willis House. The work includes painting and repairing the outdoor gazebo. All week, volunteers and staff will be on site making repairs, painting, and landscaping the important historic property.

In Medford, NWU staff will be attending another resource fair, held in partnership with Oregon Housing and Community Services, Association of Oregon Counties, and the League of Oregon Cities. In addition to the work in Medford, NWU will also work on its property, Rice Park, in Ashland. The staff will clean up the local community garden for the residents and ensure they are able to use the resource for years to come.

In Cottage Grove, NWU staff will be attending another fair, held in partnership with Oregon Housing and Community Services, Association of Oregon Counties, and the League of Oregon Cities. The resource fair in Cottage Grove will allow the local government of Cottage Grove to meet and talk with nonprofits in their area in order to identify important housing resources and experts for the local community.

NeighborWorks Umpqua is excited to complete this impressive mix of projects during NeighborWorks Week. To follow the projects and process, make sure to visit social media for photos and pictures.

NeighborWorks Umpqua Opens Community Leadership Institute Enrollment Until End of November 2017

NeighborWorks Umpqua is proud to announce the commencement of recruitment for the organization’s first-ever Community Leadership Institute (CLI). Starting in November, NeighborWorks Umpqua will be working with local Roseburg residents the first Saturday of each month through April 2018 to provide a unique, rigorous training designed to draw out and sharpen a participant’s leadership skills in the hopes of educating and promoting a more engaged citizen. NeighborWorks Umpqua is looking for interested residents within the Roseburg area to join the ranks of the CLI cohort. The enrollment period has been extended until the end of November.

“NeighborWorks Umpqua is ecstatic to be hosting the organization’s first Community Leadership Institute at the Roseburg Senior Center starting this November!” exclaims NeighborWorks Umpqua Director of Community and Economic Development, Michelle Martin. “We are looking for applicants who are looking for ways to become better leaders for their communities but have yet to take that first step in their development. Applicants can expect a rigorous, educational course that will enrich both the individual and their immediate community.”

Part of NeighborWorks Umpqua’s mission is the dedication to providing important community development services to the residents of Coos, Curry, and Douglas Counties. The CLI is an important part of delivering on this promise. The curriculum of the CLI will be familiar to those who have seen similar pieces of training facilitated by the Ford Family Foundation.

“The CLI’s design is rooted in a number of popular, accredited training, and was developed as an homage to the training held by the Ford Family Foundation,” explains Mrs. Martin. “The training will run in earnest, starting November 4th with our orientation. Classes will run from 1 pm to 4 pm the first Saturday of each month until graduation in April.”

All interested participants will need to apply before the end of November. All qualified applicants will be contacted with more information about the coursework and expectations. For more information about the curriculum or to sign up, please download an application at www.nwumpqua.org/cli/.

Housing Assistance Council Grant Awarded to NeighborWorks Umpqua for Douglas County Veterans

NeighborWorks Umpqua has been awarded a grant from the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) to help make critical repairs to veteran-owned homes in Roseburg.  NeighborWorks Umpqua was one of ten non-profit housing organizations across the country, and the only one in Oregon, to receive funding as part of HAC’s Affordable Housing for Rural Veterans Initiative.

NeighborWorks Umpqua will use the $30,000 grant award to assist no less than three veteran homeowners carry out critical repairs focused on addressing accessibility modifications, replacing unsafe major components like leaking plumbing, old electrical wiring, failed roofs, and inefficient or dangerous heating systems, and other repairs that can help veterans protect and preserve their homes and improve the quality of their housing so it is safe and sound. NeighborWorks Umpqua will prioritize serving veterans of modest means.

“We are honored to have received this grant, which gives us the ability to serve additional veterans in Roseburg.  No one who has served our country should live in substandard housing conditions,” explains Brian Shelton-Kelley, Director of Acquisitions and Development with NeighborWorks Umpqua. “We will work closely with veteran’s service organizations and our community social service providers, as well as the local VA offices to identify homeowners who would be eligible for assistance under this program.”

“A disproportionately high number of rural Americans serve in the armed forces and they deserve to have decent, affordable homes,” said Moises Loza, the HAC’s Executive Director. HAC builds the capacity of local housing nonprofits to help more veterans and others in their communities. HAC provides grants, training, research, loans, and other assistance to rural nonprofits that serve veterans. Founded in 1971 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., HAC is a national nonprofit dedicated to helping local rural organizations build affordable homes by providing below-market financing, technical assistance, training, research, and information services. To learn more, visit http://www.ruralhome.org/veterans.

Repairs will start in late 2017, and go through the summer of 2018.

How I Bought the First Home I have Ever Owned, at Age 59!

How I Bought the First Home I have Ever Owned, at Age 59!

I’ve worked hard all my life but I felt I had nothing tangible to show for all that hard work. My husband died suddenly and I found myself living with my sister. Plus I had a 14 year old Lhasa Apso to provide for. I found a new career and went looking for a place to rent. Did you know that if you have a dog landlords say “NO’ or charge you horrible fees?

Not being able to even consider giving up my doggie, I thought maybe I could buy a second hand trailer in a 55+ mobile home park.

I spoke with the management of a nice senior park and after filling out an application, my doggie and I were approved.

Now I had to figure out how to get financing. I had zero savings but I discovered my credit report was mid-range OK.

I had rented a storage unit a couple months back from E.L. Edwards. When I went to pay my bill one day I took one of those life-changing chances. I asked to speak to the Real Estate Agents. We talked about my situation and they looked at all their inexpensive mobile home listings. These two agents, Kelly and Mark, were so kind to me. I was really surprised. After all, I knew they knew I didn’t have a high income and no savings for any type of down payment. But they listened to me. The two of them seemed genuinely concerned for my predicament and then they pointed me in the direction that would change my life: Neighbor Works Umpqua, a helping hand program that guides you in the process of becoming a home owner.

I walked in to that office full of fear that this would probably never work out for someone like me. That’s when I met Valorie Rose.

I told her about my idea to purchase a small used mobile home. We looked and looked for financing. She made dozens of calls on my behalf. We found dead ends everywhere. She had a copy of the credit report I provided and kept saying, “you’re just right there. So close … ”

That’s when she asked me why I had my sights set on a mobile. I admitted I didn’t think I could have a real house. And that is when this lovely lady really went to work for me.

She gave me instructions on how to qualify for their program. There was a nominal fee for materials, a computer class to take and copies of tax returns, income statements and a letter from my sister to secure.

I did absolutely everything she told me to do, step by step. A couple of appointments later she told me I could go shopping for a real ‘stick built’ house. Valorie had helped me define my budget and shown me how much I could afford to ask from a secure lender. A real bank. Umpqua Bank.

I was stunned. During this whole process I still had that feeling that this was not really going to happen. No way could I be that lucky. I really was afraid to get my hopes up too high. Valorie told me to find a Realtor and have them help me find a home in my defined price range. I knew exactly who I was going to go see. Kelly and Mark, my friends, at E.L. Edwards. I walked in to their office that day with tears in my eyes.

Take me shopping! I said. Kelly took me all over the place. My sister joined in on the search. We found the ‘perfect’ place in just a few weeks. There were things to do. Of course, there always are, but with the help of Kelly, Valorie, my wonderful sister and a terrific lady named Pam VanDolah at Umpqua Bank, we put an offer on the little grey 1924 cottage overlooking the bay. It even had a nice hill with a good sized yard for my old doggie. The owners accepted my offer right away!


Mark and Kelly hand held me through the entire process. Mark came with me to sign all those scary title papers and the title company even let me keep the pen! Pam at Umpqua Bank gave me a key chain with a shiny little house on it and Valorie rejoiced and hugged me. My home buying experience took about four months from beginning to end and my little house closed two days before my 59th birthday.Kriss' new home has space for her doggie

I have been in my home for a little over two years now. My little old doggie, Philo, passed away last February and is now buried in the corner at the top of “Philo’s Hill.” He loved it here; so do I.

Without the help and assistance of all these wonderful people, this never would have happened for me.

I have recommended this program, Neighbor Works Umpqua, E.L. Edwards and Umpqua Bank over and over to anyone I see in a similar situation.

Take a chance on your future! Do what they tell you, the way that they tell you and believe that there are amazing people out there just waiting to help you and your family find a home that is perfect for you.