The Florida-based nonprofit network NeighborWorks announced the establishment of a new partnership between all 10 of its members. The new group will be a collective effort to increase housing opportunities throughout the state of Florida.
The new collaboration, which will be known as the NeighborWorks Florida Collaborative, will hold its first meeting at the NeighborWorks Training Institute (NTI) in Orlando, Florida, this week. NTI is sponsored by NeighborWorks America, a nationwide organization dedicated to finding affordable housing opportunities while helping people improve their lives and strengthen their communities. NTI is a weeklong training and education program and is the largest assembly in the country of nonprofits dedicated to community development.
Among the goals of the NeighborWorks Florida Collaborative are to encourage first-time home ownership, make rental properties more available, and reduce foreclosures around the state. The group plans to achieve these goals by enhancing their work within the organization, working more closely with local and state governments, and increasing engagement with businesses in the private sector and charities.
All 10 organizations that form Florida's NeighborWorks network have solid track records in community development. Last year, they combined to invest more than $255 million to their cause. The various organizations owned and managed more than 4,300 rental homes in 2013, and their efforts netted affordable housing for more than 1,200 buyers.
“Historically, Florida has been at the forefront of housing and community development both in terms of need and state and local response,” said Bob Ansley, president of Orlando Neighborhood Improvement Corporation. "This is a unique opportunity for Florida community development professionals to learn from the nations’ finest."
The 10 members of NeighborWorks forming the new collaborative effort are: Centro Campesino Farmworker Center (Florida City), Clearwater Neighborhood Housing Services (Clearwater), Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa (Tampa), Housing Partnership (Riviera Beach), Neighborhood Housing and Development Corporation (Gainesville), Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida (Miami), Orlando Neighborhood Improvement Corp. (Orlando), Rural Neighborhoods (Florida City), Tallahassee Lenders’ Consortium (Tallahassee), and Tampa Bay Community Development Corporation.
NeighborWorks America has helped countless numbers of people find affordable housing since its formation 35 years ago. In the last five years, various NeighborWorks organizations across the country have generated more than $22.5 billion for reinvestment in their respective communities.