Winter 2014 
Opening Doors Newsletter
From your friends at NeighborWorks Lincoln
In This Issue
NWL Leading New Housig Market Study
Opening Doors Fundraising Breakfast
Why Home Matters...
Neglected Building Ordinance
New Faces at NWL
News of Note
Quick Links
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Be A Good Neighbor

Pick up litter near your home, even if you did not put it there. People are less likely to litter where they do not already see litter. You can stop the growth of trash in your neighborhood by taking away existing litter. Neighborhoods that residents are keeping neat and clean sends a positive message that shows residents care about where they live.

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NeighborWorks Lincoln is Leading a New Housing Market Study


NeighborWorks Lincoln is leading a new initiative that will focus on the development and execution of a Housing Market Study of the North 27th Street corridor, including the Clinton and Hartley neighborhoods in the heart of Lincoln. This study will provide NeighborWorks Lincoln and our community partners with an opportunity to identify the greatest housing and economic development needs in this area of our city, and it will help relevant stakeholders in the community to develop a plan for this corridor moving forward.


NWL has hired Hanna:Keelan Associates to develop this study, and they will provide analysis on data collected through a qualitative research component, through the analysis of neighborhood characteristics and population projections, through an economic, social and public safety analysis, and, through an existing housing stock, sites and land use analysis.


The Housing Study, scheduled for completion in June, 2015, is being funded by a Housing Study Program Grant provided by the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority, with matching funds from NeighborWorks Lincoln, the City of Lincoln and Cornhusker Bank.


Opening Doors Fundraising Breakfast



On Wednesday, November 5th, the Board of Directors and Staff of NeighborWorks Lincoln welcomed nearly 250 guests to the Cornhusker Hotel for our first annual "Opening Doors" fundraising breakfast. This inaugural event was intended to educate and inspire attendees by sharing stories of our work, as well as to raise unrestricted dollars that will assist NeighborWorks Lincoln in continuing to make a positive impact in the Lincoln community.


The emcee for this year's event was Cathy Beecham, who is a long-time friend of NeighborWorks Lincoln. The event's speakers included David Landis, Director of the Urban Development Department, and Bill Griepenstroh, a first-time homebuyer who recently completed classes and purchased a home through NeighborWorks Lincoln.


An energetic crowd stepped up to raise over $177,000 in pledges and donations to support NeighborWorks Lincoln's mission to keep Lincoln a safe and prosperous community by revitalizing neighborhoods and promoting homeownership. We are humbled by the tremendous generosity of the Lincoln community, and we thank all of the event attendees for their support.


NeighborWorks Lincoln would like to sincerely thank the following sponsors who helped to make the event possible: Cline Williams Wright Johnson & Oldfather, LLP; HBE Becker Meyer Love LLP; Mutual of Omaha Bank; Olsson Associates; Sinclair Hille Architects; West Gate Bank; and, Zelle Human Resource Solutions.


We would also like to say a very special thank you to US Bank for the generous Leadership Gift and founding membership in the Opening Doors Giving Society.


Why Home Matters...



NeighborWorks Lincoln is committed to helping individuals and families achieve their dream of homeownership through our Homeownership Program, which provides homebuyer education classes and down payment assistance loans to qualifying individuals in the city of Lincoln. NWL is proud of the work that we accomplish through this program, and the staff of NWL enjoys the opportunity to meet many great homebuyer clients, who are eager to turn their dreams of homeownership into a reality. NWL met one such client earlier this year. Bill and Lindsay Griepenstroh shared their heart-warming home ownership story at the Opening Doors Breakfast on November 5th. Their story really encapsulates the mission of NeighborWorks Lincoln, and illustrates why home matters.


The Griepenstrohs first heard of NeighborWorks Lincoln through one of Bill's co-workers. After hearing more about the program, they decided to sign up and take Homeownership classes in July of 2014. The Griepenstrohs found the classes to be very informative, and realized that they were, indeed, ready to own their own home. Owning a home would mean a backyard for their two kids, a garden for Lindsay, and a "man cave" for Bill...all things that the family had wanted for a very long time. In August, the whirlwind of house hunting began for the couple and their two young children. One of the first houses the couple saw was a new construction project in the Clinton Neighborhood. They instantly fell in love with the house. The family closed on their new home in October, and are excited to raise their beautiful family there.


Neglected Building Ordinance


In August of this year, the Lincoln City Council approved the Registration of Neglected Buildings ordinance, which establishes a system of fees and civil penalties for vacant and deteriorating houses. This ordinance will allow the city to use penalties as liens against houses and to foreclose upon and sell vacant, dilapidated, unsafe houses that are not properly maintained by private owners. It is intended to encourage homeowners to fix-up neglected properties quickly, in order to avoid the penalties. The ordinance was passed due in large part to the efforts of the Lincoln Policy Network, which is an initiative developed and led by NeighborWorks Lincoln. This was a huge victory for both the Lincoln Policy Network and NeighborWorks Lincoln, since efforts to get this kind of ordinance passed began as many as seven years ago. The Lincoln Policy Network and NeighborWorks Lincoln will continue to work with the City of Lincoln on this initiative moving forward.


New Faces at NWL


Kristin Ness, Homebuyer Education Trainer 

A social worker by trade, Kristin Ness has rejoined the NWL team as their new Homebuyer Education Trainer. Her arrival is actually a return, having spent her first social work practicum with the Community Builders in 2012. Kristin has recently worked in non-profit program evaluation, faculty research assistance, and in several programs supporting youth and families. Kristin has a background in training and education in a wide variety of settings. "I am excited to work for a program that removes barriers for first time homebuyers. It's a great process to arm prospective homebuyers with the information that makes the process feel less intimidating, more possible, and even a little fun!" Kristin has a B.A. from Middlebury College in Vermont, a B.S.W from Nebraska Wesleyan and is currently working to complete her MSW at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She and her three boys live and play in the Eastridge/Taylor Park neighborhood.


Jeremie Memming, Board of Directors
Jeremie Memming is a Lincoln native, working the past year as a Senior Graphic Designer at Swanson Russell, with eight years of industry experience. He joined the NeighborWorks Lincoln Board of Directors in order to learn more about what he can do to strengthen his neighborhood and city. Jeremie participated in NeighborWorks Lincoln's Homebuyer Education classes, and has also participated in NeighborWorks Lincoln's Community Engagement Initiative.


Lucas Arndt, Board of Directors
Lucas Arndt is a Trust Administration Officer at Union Bank & Trust Company, where he has been since December of 2013. Lucas has seven years of industry experience. When asked why he joined the NWL Board, Lucas shared, "I joined the board because I think home ownership is an important factor to the success of our community. I recognized NeighborWorks Lincoln as a leader in assisting individuals with homeownership in our community, and I want to assist in fulfilling the organization's mission."


Ben McShane-Jewell, Board of Directors
Ben McShane-Jewell is the Community Garden and Youth Education program manager at Community Crops. He has been with Community Crops for close to two years. Ben's involvement with NeighborWorks Lincoln began at Dawes Middle School, where he met Shawn Ryba, Chief Operating Officer for NeighborWorks Lincoln, and started collaborating with NWL on various community projects. He is also a recent homeowner, thanks to NeighborWorks Lincoln's Homeownership Program.


News of Note


Recent Grant Awards

NeighborWorks Lincoln is only able to accomplish the work that we do through the generous support of our community partners. We are pleased to announce the following recent grant awards made to NWL.

  • Nebraska Department of Economic Development Grant Award: NeighborWorks Lincoln is pleased to announce that we have received a Nebraska Affordable Housing Program grant from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development in the amount of $442,252.00. This grant will enable NeighborWorks Lincoln to provide down payment assistance with rehabilitation to thirteen qualified homeowners at or below 100% of the Area Median Income in Lincoln, Nebraska.
  • First National Bank: First National Bank has awarded a grant in the amount of $20,000 to NeighborWorks Lincoln. This grant will be used to support NWL's Real Estate Development Program and Community Building Program in 2015. We are grateful to First National Bank for this generous grant award, and for their continued support of our efforts.
  • Wells Fargo Housing Foundation Grant: NeighborWorks Lincoln has also received a Wells Fargo Housing Foundation grant in the amount of $5,000. This grant will be used to support NWL's Real Estate Development Program and Community Building Program in 2015. NeighborWorks Lincoln is excited to be the recipient of this grant, and we look forward to working with the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation in 2015.  

NWL in the Community
NeighborWorks Lincoln participated in the fourth annual Streets Alive! Community event on September 14th, led by Partnership for a Healthy Lincoln. Over 5,000 people participated in an afternoon of free, family fun. NeighborWorks Lincoln was part of the over 100 exhibitors and entertainers who were on hand to distribute information and promote community programs. NeighborWorks Lincoln looks forward to participating in this community event next year!