By Julie Gurnon
Habitat for Humanity International staff members working on the second round of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program heaved a collective sigh of relief last Thursday when they met the deadline to spend all NSP2 funds.
“It was a bit crazier than usual at the end,” said Donna Golden, director of government grants and lending resources. “But everyone on the team really pulled together to get it done.”
The team also met — in fact, exceeded — its construction goal, providing new or improved homes for 1,245 families. (Scroll down for a list of the latest NSP2 numbers.)
Meeting the expenditure deadline marks the financial end of the three-year program, which began on Feb. 11, 2010, after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded HFHI $137.6 million to partner with seven affiliates to help stabilize neighborhoods devastated by the foreclosure crisis.
Missing the deadline, which effectively closed the NSP2 account and access to its funds, would have meant sending the unused money back to HUD.
“HUD entrusted us with the second- largest NSP2 award, and we didn’t want to tarnish our reputation,” Golden said. “Meeting this deadline is a huge accomplishment for everyone involved.”
Even though the financial component of the program has ended, work on unfinished homes will continue through November. At that time, all 1,245 homeowners must hold the titles to their properties.
Originally, Habitat committed to providing 1,062 NSP2-funded homes. It was able to best that number by 183. NSP2 grant officers also prepared and submitted to HUD an impressive 2,386 environmental reviews of potential properties. (Not all properties ended up being a good match for the program.)
Another remarkable feat? Habitat will surpass the federal requirement to spend no less than 25 percent of NSP2 funds on homeowners who earn at or below 50 percent of the area median income. As of Monday, Habitat has spent 35 percent of the money, or $48.5 million, on this income group, which HUD defines as very low-income.
Golden explained why topping this number is gratifying: “Initially, government officials were promoting rental housing for serving very low-income families. But the Government Relations and Advocacy team were instrumental in persuading them to consider homeownership, based on the proven Habitat model.”
The best news involves a number that the entire Habitat community can celebrate.
“We won’t have the exact figures until later in the year,” said Jeff Pope, senior director of neighborhood revitalization. “But we do know that NSP2 will help Habitat serve more than 4,000 people. Knowing that, and having the opportunity to play a part in such a historic program, makes it all worthwhile.”
This isn’t the last word on NSP2, not as work continues on the homes, the three-year status report to HUD, an NSP2 video and long-term impact studies. But next month, the team will celebrate its accomplishments during a dinner at the Affiliate Conference.
Julie Gurnon is the NSP2 writer/editor for Habitat for Humanity International, based in Americus, Georgia.
NSP2 at three years
Amount of additional funds affiliates will raise for NS P2 projects.
Amount spent on homes for families earning at or below 50 percent of the area median income.
Homes built or rehabilitated.
Homes sold to families earning at or below 50 percent of the area median income.
Breakdown of homes by affiliate
Habitat for Humanity of Collier County
Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity of Greater
Habitat for Humanity of Greater
Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity – New York City
Pensacola Habitat for Humanity