NeighborLink Partners with the City of Fort Wayne
We've been fortunate to receive a $120,000 grant that allows us to empower our volunteers to help more neighbors in need with large scale or complicated projects that require the skills of a contractor. As houses deteriorate and age, individuals on fixed incomes have a harder time affording major repairs like furnace or roof replacements. These are also the types of projects volunteers are rarely able to do. In an effort to attempt to do a few more each year, we've been awarded this grant to hire contractors and cover material expenses. We hope to do between 25-40 major projects with this funding.
Here's what is different about this grant from previous home improvement grants the City has offered in the past.
All projects have to be selected and initiated by our volunteers rather than a traditional application process. It's the only way within the NeighborLink model we can create a equitable and fair environment where everyone has the same opportunity to get assistance. In the end, this is about empowering our volunteers to never have to walk away from a project they want to help on, but cannot because they lack the skills and resources. Want to help a neighbor in your neighborhood with a furnace issue, but know nothing about furnaces or have the money to help? This allows you to call them, assess the situation, and then contact us to see if they qualify. If they do, the furnace will be fixed and you'll help a neighbor in need. How it Works: Anyone can call us at any time at 260.710.7611 to ask for help and give us their info. We take the info and post the project online, which makes it available to all our volunteers. They can post their need online as well. Volunteers search the website for projects they want to take on and if they select one, they'll call the homeowner directly to ask questions and set an appointment to look at things. If the volunteers take a look at the project and believe they would be a good fit for the program, they'd contact NeighborLink staff and the NL staff would follow up with you to take the next steps. The next steps include qualifying the homeowner through a number of questionnaires and financial verification. In order to qualify for these funds, you must meet Federal income guidelines and that requires some work, including getting paperwork like bank statements. For example, a family of 4 must make less than $49,451. An individual must make less than $34,651. If they qualify for the funding, we'll order some estimates to be done by contractors, which will require at least two companies to come by their home and give some estimates. Once NL receives those estimates, we'll choose the best one and then get it scheduled to be completed Once completed, the homeowner will have a new improvement.
Initially, only projects up to $5,000 will to considered in this program. Anything over $5,000, will either have to be fundraised for through NeighborLink or the homeowners will have to contribute. If anything is over $5,000, we'l figure it at the moment.
This program is quite a bit different from previous programs by similar organizations, but in the end it's going to be fantastic.
We need more volunteers to step up and help us identify projects in order to make this grant happen. If you've been looking for an opportunity to help, but feel like you don't have skills, this is the opportunity that gives you the opportunity to show your kindness, compassion, and use your insights to help us identify people to help. Contact us if you have questions.
Andrew Hoffman, Executive Director
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