NeighborWorks: Getting to know us, Part Two

  • Sat May 11th, 2019 1:30am
  • Life

Nailing It Down

By Dave Murnen and Pat Beaty

Every so often, we like to reintroduce ourselves.

We’ve been here in Grays Harbor since 1981 and presenting this column in The Daily World since 1999. Still, we know new folks are always moving into town, and that some of the people who were teens when we started writing this column are now homeowners — or want to be.

That’s why last week we started a review of what we do at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor.

REVIEWING

THE REVIEW

Basically, NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor is a private nonprofit organization governed by a solid volunteer board of directors. Our mission is to help the Grays Harbor community with housing-related issues by creating affordable housing opportunities and solutions in partnership with local governments, businesses and residents.

Although some of our services require income qualification, housing counseling is available regardless of income.

Call us if you have any question regarding housing — ownership, maintenance, hiring a contractor, dealing with a landlord, securing a rental, building a budget or building your credit. If we can’t help you ourselves, we can usually point you in the right direction.

Last week we fleshed out a few of the things we specifically help with, including mortgage default and home buyer assistance, education and counseling.

Today we’re going to talk a bit about budgeting and money management help as well as landlord/tenant relations.

BUDGETING HELP

Because nearly everyone can use a little help sorting out monthly bills or determining how best to reach financial goals (savings, buying a home, paying for an education, taking a vacation, etc.), we offer budget/money management counseling.

Anyone feeling the need to get a handle on their spending or wanting to learn the skills necessary for financial stability can access this service at no charge.

The NeighborWorks counseling department is also available to make presentations to any community group that would like more information on any of our services. Just give us a call at 360-533-7828.

LANDLORD/

TENANT HELP

First of all, we are not attorneys! Our landlord/tenant advice is only intended to give you a starting point to address your concerns.

Poor communication and not understanding responsibilities of and between parties creates most of the problems we hear about. If we can help you understand or better maintain your rental relationships through information directly available in the Landlord-Tenant Act, we will do so.

Our counselor can help both landlords and tenants better understand their rights and responsibilities based on what the Washington State Landlord-Tenant Act says, not our interpretation. The law is available online or on paper at our office.

The counselor can offer some simple advice, but if you even have an inkling that you have a legal issue, the simple advice will be to find a knowledgeable attorney. You should bypass us and begin with a call to NW Justice Project’s CLEAR line (888-201-1014). You will find out if you and your case qualify for their legal help and if there is a cost for their legal services.

RENTAL UNITS

While there are many well-kept rental properties in the Grays Harbor area, there are still too many units that generate ongoing owner, tenant and neighbor complaints. The City of Aberdeen will be addressing minimum housing quality standards for all rental properties in the near future, which should help reduce some of the complaints and increase health and safety for tenants and even the neighborhood.

Through our daily efforts, we have been able to create quality, safe and affordable housing options — while hopefully creating strong competition for other rental properties in the area to become better.

Of our 38 rental units, 16 are rent-subsidized units. The remaining homes are offered at or below fair-market rent, and located throughout both Aberdeen and Hoquiam. If you are looking for quality rental housing, be sure to check with us for our available homes.

At this writing, however, all of our units are leased.

Dave Murnen and Pat Beaty are construction specialists at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor County, where Murnen is executive director. This is a nonprofit organization committed to creating safe and affordable housing for all residents of Grays Harbor County. For questions about home repair, renting, remodeling or buying, call 360-533-7828 or visit 710 E. Market St. in Aberdeen.