Who we are and what we do at NeighborWorks

  • Sat May 4th, 2019 1:30am
  • Life

Nailing it Down

By Dave Murnen and Pat Beaty

This column has been appearing here weekly for more than 19 years!

Every so often we like to pause and try to give an overview of all the various aspects of what we do here at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor County (with the idea that maybe you will find something we can help you with).

In 1981, we became officially affiliated with a nationwide organization originally known as Neighborhood Reinvestment, an organization created by Congress to address lenders not loaning on houses in certain areas — a practice called “red-lining.” There were also so many more needs of low-income, blighted communities suffering from the effects of deteriorating housing.

Now it is called NeighborWorks America, and NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor County is one of the oldest chartered organizations of the nearly 250 now located in every state and U.S. possession.

In a nutshell, our volunteer board and our staff are very committed to providing decent, safe and affordable housing opportunities for the Grays Harbor community. We want you to know about all the different programs and areas of expertise we can provide.

Our motivation is helping more people find solutions for their various housing, home maintenance and budgeting needs.

Our intent is to support sustainable housing for homeowners, home buyers and renters through no-cost counseling/advising, home buyer education, tailored affordable loans, construction management and community education opportunities, like this weekly column.

As you look at this list in the next two weeks, even if you currently aren’t in need, perhaps you have a neighbor, friend or relative who could use one of our services. Word of mouth is our best advertisement!

WHO CAN RECEIVE

OUR HELP?

We were established more than 35 years ago to develop the funding and construction expertise necessary to offer an owner-occupied rehabilitation program in a targeted neighborhood in Aberdeen. Since then we’ve expanded our offerings and service area several times.

We now serve folks of all incomes in some way, and we have income-qualified loan products focused on the purchase and or rehabilitation of owner-occupied homes.

While many of our loan products are intended to serve income-qualified folks, anyone can access our HUD housing counseling at no cost. We also offer construction management on a fee-for-service basis, regardless of income.

Our rehab loans always include the beginning-to-completion construction management.

We simply can’t include all of our programs and services in one column; so here’s a partial listing of our services. (Stay tuned for more next week.)

MORTGAGE DEFAULT COUNSELING

Mortgage default counseling is intended to be a foreclosure prevention program. Our counselor helps you organize the information your lender requires in order to discuss your options and, if possible, to negotiate your situation with your mortgage company (or other creditors as necessary), making every effort to avoid foreclosure and stabilize your housing situation.

HOME BUYER

ASSISTANCE

On the other end of the spectrum, if you want to buy a home, we may be able to help guide you to down payment assistance and first mortgage opportunities. It’s one of the many services we offer to help encourage homeownership.

Before getting financial help from us — or anyone else — for a down payment, and better mortgage terms, you’ll do better by becoming educated. We offer an online course using eHome. The course is very comprehensive, convenient, inexpensive, and required to be eligible for many of the best and affordable lending programs, including ours and many of our partners’ loan products.

This eHome HomeBuyer Education is available online. As the host counselor for most of Western Washington, we issue the certificate. We will do our best to help you all the way to homeownership. Find the link on our website or Google it!

Created by Community Ventures Corp. and NeighborWorks America, this online course is recognized throughout the country as being one of the best home buyer education sources out there. It takes about six to eight hours to complete.

For just $50 you can complete the course at your own pace, at the time that’s convenient for you, in the privacy and convenience of your own home — or anywhere there’s an internet connection, even on a smartphone. It includes animated videos, easy-to-read content, and module quizzes throughout to ensure your complete understanding of the home buying processes. It also includes a one-on-one advisory session with our HUD-approved housing counselor here in Aberdeen — in person or by phone. The course is also available in Spanish.

The course certificate is accepted by USDA, Washington State Housing Finance Commission and other lenders that require it for some of their first-time home buyer loan products.

At the successful completion of this simple but comprehensive course, you will receive a certificate that will make you eligible to apply for down payment assistance and first mortgage funding — although this does not guarantee such funding will be available when you need it, or that you will secure it. As you will learn, there is plenty to know and prepare when becoming a sustainable homeowner.

When you have completed the course, you can ask questions about anything regarding the home buying process. We not only discuss the home purchase process, but also offer no-cost support and assistance from application to closing.

DONATIONS SOUGHT

TO BEAUTIFY HOQUIAM

Are you interested in helping the appearance of downtown Hoquiam? The Hoquiam Beautification Committee is seeking donations to help buy plants, soil and new cement planters to place along the sidewalks in Hoquiam.

To learn more about this endeavor, check out their website at hoquiambeautification.weebly.com or email hoquiambeautification@gmail.com. Please mail your tax-deductible gift to: Hoquiam Beautification Committee, City of Hoquiam, 609 Eighth St., Hoquiam, WA 98550.

We love seeing citizens working together to make positive changes in our communities!

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. Our office is fully ADA-compliant.