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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Is Homeownership for You?

Is Homeownership for You?

Homeownership works for some but not for others. Asking the question as to whether homeownership is right for you is a very noble and mature place to start when considering home purchase. To clearly assess whether or not you should take on the challenge requires personal reflection on the following areas:

  • Current financial status
  • Career plans
  • Appetite for property management and home maintenance

Your current financial situation can determine whether you are financially capable of sustaining a home or not. In addition, your current financial status can give you an idea as to whether you should buy now, wait for a specified period of time, or continue renting. 

Our trained housing specialists can help you determine your current situation and develop a plan to reach your goals.

There are numerous instances where mortgage payments are less than the local rents. However, as a homeowner, you also have to consider the expense of taxes, insurances, home maintenance, and other miscellaneous expenses that arise from owning a home. As a renter, you are responsible for monthly rent and renters’ insurance and do not typically have to worry about home maintenance issues. As a homeowner, you serve as the lead property manager of your home and have responsibility of making sure all mechanisms, both inside and out, are functioning properly. This requires times, effort, and in some instances, money. 

You can always minimize your frustration in these areas as a homeowner by preparing financially. However, those in a position financial position that does not allow room to prepare for future and current home maintenance issues should always think twice before plunging into homeownership. You will want to make sure that you have the financial capacity to sustain a mortgage payment, home maintenance costs, and other monthly living expenses before deciding on homeownership.    

The direction in which your career can take you is full of surprises. Should your career plans consist of future relocation within the next 1 to 3 years, you may want to hold off on homeownership – unless you plan on being a real estate investor who will rent out the property. Be realistic with where you want to be in terms of location, career, and family. 

As a renter, you can always fall back on the landlord in most instances to cover maintenance, landscaping, and all other items pertaining to the upkeep of the property.  For individuals who enjoy like yard work and fixing “things,” though, homeownership is invigorating!  

A happy new homeowner!

Homeownership has always been a great way to provide stability for a family and possibly serve as a wealth-building mechanism depending on how you utilize the tax incentives and market value increases. Before diving into homeownership, allow us to help you assess your current situation and provide feedback as to what your options are.

To learn what your options are, contact our HomeOwnership Center at (203) 562-0598 ext. 26, or visit our office at 333 Sherman Avenue in New Haven!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Learning Corridors

Learning Corridors
By NHS Staff

NHS has joined the efforts of several organizations as they create "learning corridors" along sections of the Farmington Canal Trail.
One of the projects looped in to these learning corridors is the Community Wall on Shelton Avenue (you can read background information about the Wall here).
Kimberly and Kim, our two CB&O VISTAs for the 2013-2014 year, reconnect! Kimberly is now serving as a VISTA Leader at Columbus House, and Kim is now on staff in our Design & Construction Department.

On Thursdays, NHS staff and other volunteers join forces to do some planting, landscaping, watering, and trash collection along the Farmington Canal Trail. We also get to see the progress of the Community Wall, which invites residents to brainstorm uses for community green spaces and empty lots.
Everyone is welcome! Feel free to join us on Thursdays from 5:30 - 7:00.



 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Green Designation

It's Official!
By NHS Staff

Today we received word that we have been approved as a 2014 NeighborWorks America Green Organization!

Even though NHS has been committed to sustainability for years (as indicated by our Energy Star-certified houses and our LEED Platinum-certified Home Improvement and Energy Conservation Lab), the Green Designation process showed us many new ways in which we could improve our operations and policies to be as environmentally friendly as possible.
 
In the past year, NHS has made a number of important changes in pursuit of our Green Designation.

We assembled a Green Team for our staff...


We joined the ranks of the Healthy City/Healthy Climate Challenge, an alliance of New Haven organizations concerned with climate change...

The Healthy City/Healthy Climate Challenge debuted at ArtSpace, coinciding with an art exhibit focused on the effects of climate change.
Some of NHS' staff at the Healthy City/Healthy Climate Challenge launch event.

We implemented semi-annual Green Weeks to raise staff awareness of issues related to environmental degradation and climate change...

NHS now composts! We learned the benefits of composting during our inaugural Green Week event.
We altered our purchasing policy so that our office supplies are recyclable, recycled, environmentally friendly, and local...
Really local... We now make our own air freshener!
We formed a staff Transportation Committee to identify ways we can reduce carbon dioxide emissions, leading to actions such as purchasing bike racks for the office...

Can't wait to install these bad boys!
We emerged victorious in the goNewHavengo Alternative Transportation Challenge...
New Haven Head of Transportation, Doug Hausladen, addresses the organizations that participated in the goNewHavengo Alternative Transportation Challenge.

The champions!
We revised each of our lines of business to ensure that each department could, in its own way, make clients and residents aware of the benefits of energy efficiency, recycling, and sustainability...

We implemented a series of train-the-trainer workshops to teach people about rain gardens and their role in regulating storm water runoff.

We participated in community events with a "green" purpose...

All aboard at the 2014 West River Water Fesitval
And we did it all with the help of our two passionate and motivated Green VISTA Members, James and Allison.

Climate change crusaders!
We are so excited to have achieved our Green Designation! Thank you to everyone who supported us along the way!












 


































Bike and Build 2014

Bike and Build
By NHS Staff

One concern that frequently pops up in the community development and affordable housing fields is getting the younger generation involved. The sustainability of many nonprofits committed to community development hinges on ensuring that Generation Y has a passionate, vested interest in continuing the exploration of neighborhood revitalization, affordable housing, and other such projects.

Bike and Build has found a way to creatively address that concern.
 
In essence, Bike and Build recruits young adults (between 18 and 25) to bike across the United States. Some journeys are longer than others (true cross-country bike trips) and some are shorter (coastal rides), but all of the trips are an exciting, impressive way for these young adults to see the country on a more intimate level. Because along the way, the Bike and Build teams take time to volunteer at affordable housing organizations to learn what issues are faced by various communities and what solutions are underway to address them.


At the end of July, NHS was lucky enough to host a group of these remarkable young adults! The Coastal Drift Bike and Build team, made up of 30 individuals, rolled into New Haven on July 22, just in time to grab dinner and get a good night’s sleep. St. Thomas More Chapel was a wonderful host to them!

On the morning of July 23, the bike crew got to work on a volunteer project at an elderly resident’s house. Our Community Building & Organizing team was on hand to discuss NHS and its guiding philosophies, as well as the neighborhood dynamics that influence community development in New Haven.




 
NHS’ AmeriCorps VISTA Members were especially eager to connect with the young adults at Bike and Build. The VISTA program is another way of getting younger generations involved in affordable housing affairs, and so there was an instant connection between our VISTAs and the “bikers.”




After a successful day’s work in the community, the Bike and Build group relaxed at St. Thomas More Chapel and explored New Haven before joining our CB&O team at NHS’ office campus. We shared dinner together, discussing their journeys and our projects in a more relaxed environment.


After dinner, the intrepid team climbed to the roof of our Home Improvement and Energy Conservation Lab for a group photo in the last of the daylight – and it’s one of our favorite photos of the year!




We loved spending time with this unique organization and the amazing folks who join it. It was an enlightening experience – and we hope you roll into town again soon!


















2014 West River Water Festival

West River Water Festival 2014
By NHS Staff

On Saturday, July 12th, NHS hosted our annual West River Water Festival at the West River Memorial Park. It was a fun and educational family event featuring free canoe rides!

Thanks to everyone who came out and made 2014 Water Festival a success!