Summer 2015  
Opening Doors Newsletter
From your friends at NeighborWorks Lincoln 
In This Issue
Neighborhoods: more than just geographic areas
Proud to buy a house, excited to call it 'home'
Improving the view in Capitol View
Troubles finding your Dream Home?
NeighborWorks Lincoln in summer News
Upcoming NWL Events
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Neighborhoods: More than Just Geographic Areas

Today, whether you live in the Near South neighborhood, West A, Belmont, University Place, or one of the many neighborhoods in between, you have probably discovered something that you appreciate about your area of town. It's important to celebrate not only the unique attributes of our neighborhoods, but the idea of neighborhoods and what it means to be a part of one. 

And that's exactly what NeighborWorks Lincoln did on June 11. 

NeighborWorks Lincoln organized a festivity to honor the neighborhoods that make Lincoln great. Live music, free food and family-friendly activities made the event special. And representation from many of the city's neighborhoods provided a sense of unity and connection. 

At NeighborWorks Lincoln's June 11th Neighborhood Celebration, people discussed summertime plans, the plentiful rainfall and recent news stories. The nature of and motivation behind the get-together, however, steered many conversations to neighborhoods. Attendees shared what they love about their neighborhoods, why celebrating neighborhoods is important and why they think people should get involved in their neighborhoods. 

"Events like this bring people out. It helps people know each other, which helps strengthen neighborhoods and our community, in general." - Ryan Reinke, resident of Belmont/owner of rental properties in Everett and Near South neighborhoods.


Proud to Buy a House, Excited to Call it 'Home'

Hayder Murad, right, looks forward to living in a new home at 24th and Vine streets with his family, including his wife, Khifshe Ahmad, left, and their children, Adham Yousif, 9; and Fadwa Yousif, 12. Not pictured are Firyal Yousif, 19; and Haytham Yousif, 17.

People often ask new Nebraska residents what brought them here. For Hayder Murad and his family, the answer is simple: "We could not stay where we were." 
Murad came to Lincoln with his wife, Khifshe Ahmad, and their four children in June 2012. Because he had worked as a translator for the U.S. Army from 2005 to 2011 during Operation Iraqi Freedom, they could not stay in their native country after American forces withdrew. 
"It was dangerous for us," he said. 
With help from the U.S. government, the family obtained special immigration visas and journeyed from their home in Sinjar, Iraq, halfway across the globe to their new home in Lincoln, Nebraska. 
"We have relatives here, so we knew that the people are nice, and there are many Yazidi families," Murad said. "And it's quiet, safe and peaceful." 

Ahmad agreed, and added that she appreciates the assistance available to people who are new to the community. 
"A lot of people come here because there are a lot of chances for people to be stable and start new lives," she said. "There is a lot of housing, jobs and training provided by organizations and agencies here." 
One such organization is NeighborWorks Lincoln, which Murad learned about from a colleague. After connecting with NWL, Murad and Ahmad completed the Homeownership Program in December 2014. 
"The class was useful and taught us a lot of things," Murad said. "We learned how the process of buying a house goes." 

After the course finished, Murad and Ahmad got to put what they had learned into practice: They will move into their new home at 24th and Vine streets by Oct. 1. They visited the site Aug. 13 and were pleased with the progress that's been made. 

"It's very exciting to have a new house where we can all live together and be comfortable," Ahmad said. "Everything will be new and fresh." 

Though they've appreciated living in their apartment near 27th and Cornhusker Highway, the family is ready to relocate. Compared to the journey the six of them took together three years ago, this one will be a piece of cake. 

"We decided we wouldn't move from here unless we got a house of our own, so we are very excited that we have done that," Murad said.

Improving the View in Capitol View
Marcia and Bill Thornton sit on their newly poured concrete steps, which make a perfect surface for neighborhood children's sidewalk chalk art.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Thanks in part to $1,000 grants from NeighborWorks Lincoln, many houses within the Capitol View Neighborhood have become more beautiful to all who behold them. 

To receive the grants, interested neighbors completed and submitted applications to NWL about the types of projects they envisioned and their estimated timelines. 

Mark Kohler, Capitol View Neighborhood Association president, took advantage of the available funds. He replaced handrails on his porch, installed a new storm door and did landscaping work. 

A neighbor down the street planted a new tree. Another nearby resident had some bushes removed. Though they sound like small enhancements, Kohler said they've made quite a difference. 

"This was work that needed to be done anyway, but I think the incentive got us all motivated to get it done," he said. 

Bill and Marcia Thornton, who live across 18th Street from Kohler, removed their deteriorating concrete steps and had new ones poured. 

"When we saw the email from Mark about the grant, we immediately thought of the steps," Marcia said. "It was a no-brainer." 

They believe the steps - and the sidewalk leading up to them - were poured when the house was built in 1920. 

"Anybody who comes over here, if they'd seen what was here before, thinks the transformation is pretty amazing," Bill said. "We were ecstatic to get this done and very grateful that NeighborWorks (Lincoln) provided the grants. You don't necessarily have cash just laying around for an improvement of that nature, so to have that available was awesome."

Mark Kohler, president of the Capitol View Neighborhood Association, shows off his new porch handrails.

Troubles Finding Your Dream Home?

Having trouble finding your dream home? Or maybe you can't find any homes that interest you in the slightest? Did you make an offer on a home, only to be beaten out by another buyer? You are actually not alone, reason being Lincoln's current housing supply is low. According to the Realtor Association of Lincoln's Multiple Listing Service and as of July 14th, 2015, the number of existing single family homes under $133,000 - the price limit for NeighborWorks Lincoln's clients- is 180 units. In a typical year, according to the Realtors Association figures, there would be upwards of 600 units available to purchase.

If you are currently searching for a home, it is a good idea to work with a realtor, who can assist you in your quest. Realtors know the market; they often know of homes coming on the market well before they become available to the general public. An agent can also put out a "Buyer's need" email to hundreds of other agents asking for new listings coming up that match your criteria. Keep in mind that you don't pay for the agent's services. The best advice NeighborWorks Lincoln can provide to you is get yourself a Realtor and let them find you your dream home!

NeighborWorks Lincoln in Summer News

Lincoln Journal Star: Right at Home: NeighborWorks helps homeowners dreams come true

Lincoln Journal Star: NeighborWorks has decades long history of strengthening Lincoln Neighborhoods

Lincoln Journal Star: NeighborWorks relocates HQ to historic house

Lincoln Journal Star: New home filling hole on Vine Street

Everett Express

Havelock Herald

NeighborWorks America: Want to eat healthy? Start a hamlet

Upcoming NWL Events
Opening Doors Events
Please join us at one of our upcoming Opening Doors events, where you can meet staff and volunteers from NWL and learn a little bit more about all of the work we are doing to revitalize the Lincoln community.
At these information sessions you'll learn more about our mission and hear firsthand stories from individuals whose lives have been impacted by the work that we do.
Opening Doors Events are being held at our brand new training facility on the third Tuesday of the month for one hour with light refreshments provided. The last Opening Doors Events for the year will be on September 15th and October 20th. Please register at or email Mary Nelson at to reserve your spot today!