West Palm Beach, FL – Neighborhood Renaissance closed on the sale of its first Lease-Purchase home through its Community Land Trust (CLT) toJanita Finleyon April 3, 2012. The program allowed Ms. Finley to rent her three bedroom single-family home for the past three years while she saved funds for a down payment. PNC Bank made the construction loan to build the house located in the Northwood Neighborhood of West Palm Beach at a time when property values were higher. Because of their commitment to preserving neighborhoods and helping first-time homebuyers they allowed Neighborhood Renaissance to sell the home to Ms. Finley for less than their loan amount. United Way also matched each dollar saved by Ms. Finley with two dollars through their Individual Development Account Program that helps first-time homebuyers like Janita to accumulate savings.
During Janita’s house hunt it became apparent to her that she needed to save more money before she could purchase a quality home for herself and her daughter that did not need costly repairs; however, with earnings as a radiology file clerk, Ms. Finley found it impossible to save for a down payment while paying the high cost of rent. Neighborhood Renaissance developed a Lease-Purchase program for potential homeowners like Janita, who need additional time to accumulate savings and/or address minor credit issues, and who need a reasonably priced rental home that they can ultimately purchase. As a participant in the Lease – Purchase program, Janita received help with budgeting and developed a savings plan, plus she became accustomed to the responsibilities of homeownership like maintaining her yard, which she continues to be very proud of. In the words of Janita, “I am so happy this day finally came and it was worth the wait.”
Neighborhood Renaissance’s C LT provides an alternative to renting and places homeownership within the financial reach of more working people. This is accomplished by removing the cost of land from the purchase price, therefore only selling the house to the buyer. This program benefits the community as well because it preserves quality homes and the public investments used to create them for future generations of first-time homebuyers.
Two CLT single-family homes located in Northwood are available now for Lease-Purchase and an additional 11 three and four bedroom homes will be available in the next three months for future homeowners like Janita. Neighborhood Renaissance is now taking applications. To apply, please contact Lashea Brooks or Christina Hewitt at (561) 832-6776.
Association Meeting Schedules and Contact Information
Northwood Gardens Neighborhood Association
Meets third Wednesday of each month at the Fire Station on Broadway at 7:00 pm
To become more involved contact Mike Mullen at (561) 568-7705 or email@example.com or vist them on Facebook
Old Northwood Neighborhood Association-
Meets the third Wednesday of the month at 3510 Spruce Street at 7:00 pm
To become more involved visit their website at www.oldnorthwood.org
Northboro Park Neighborhood Association-
Meets the second Tuesday of the month at the Fire Station on Broadway at 7:00 pm
For more information contact Greg Accordino at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit them on Facebook
Northwood Harbor Neighborhood Association-
Meets on the second Wednesday of the the month at the Fire Station on Broadway at 7:00 pm
To become more involved, contact Romin Currier at (561) 841-8801 or email@example.com
Northwood Hills Neighborhood Association-
Northwood Shores Neighborhood Association-
Meets quarterly, their next meeting is March 13th at 7:00 pm
For volunteer and become active, contact Lon Sabella at firstname.lastname@example.org
Pinewood Park Neighborhood Association-
To become involved contact Denise Smith-Barnes at email@example.com
Northwood Legacy Neighborhood Association-
This new association is just forming, to become involved contact Julie Hyatt at (561) 385-4550
• The Boys and Girls Club in Northwood now operates the Sunshine Food Co-OP. Each shopping trip costs $30.00 and includes 3 times more food than you could purchase at the supermarket. Take advantage of these savings! Call Christina Hewitt at 832-6776 ext. 104 for more information.
• Make sure to clean out and recycle yard debris before hurricane season starts.
• Remember, rental and community land trust lease payments are due on the first of each month, please mail or drop off payments to 510 24th St., Suite A, West Palm Beach, FL 33407
As Neighborhood Renaissance was completing the final CLT homes, the housing and mortgage lending markets drastically changed and the foreclosure crisis began. Many low-income renters including our current tenants were being displaced due to landlord foreclosures. To address these conditions, we developed a Lease-to-Purchase program with a $375,000 grant from the Housing & Community Development Dept. of Palm Beach County.
Currently, this program includes 5 of the homes in the CLT and each is rented to the future owner with an option to purchase. All the participants are receiving ongoing case management and making progress in overcoming their barriers to homeownership.
In the future we look to expand this program to include additional homes in the Northwood-Pleasant City neighborhoods through our Northwood Neighborhood Stabilization Initiative.
The Northwood neighborhoods in West Palm Beach have not been immune to the economic crisis that has impacted the entire County. During the last year Neighborhood Renaissance has continued to be an asset to residents with the help of our partners.
Through our partnership with JP Morgan Chase and the Florida Community Loan Fund, we completed the substantial renovation of a vacant, foreclosed home in the Northwood Hills neighborhood. The home was given to the agency through Chase’s REO Community Revitalization Program. The construction financing was provided through a revolving line of credit with the Loan Fund. The remodel of the home was extensive and included energy efficient updates, such as impact glass windows, the installation of central air conditioning and updating the electrical and plumbing systems. Now that construction is completed, this house is occupied by a family who loves the neighborhood and is working towards potentially purchasing their residence in the future.
Despite this success, there is much more that can be done in Northwood. The number of homes that remain vacant and dilapidated still remains high. According to HUD’s foreclosure index, Northwood has nearly 550 properties that have been vacant for more than three months and 20.3% of households are delinquent in their mortgage, which could lead to more foreclosures and vacancies. With local government support, our success in the Hills could be replicated in other neighborhoods throughout the City.
The Northwood/Pleasant City area is located in the northeast corner of West Palm Beach and consists of 14 residential neighborhoods surrounding a historic business district known as the Northwood Village.
With its own “Main Street”, the district is home to unique restaurants, quant antique shops and specialty boutiques. Comprised of new and historic homes, the area is rich with cultural history, enjoys neighborhood parks, is just a mile north of downtown West Palm Beach, and is only a short walk to the Intracoastal Waterway. The residents who call Northwood/Pleasant City home are a diverse mixture of people and cultures from around the world that gives the community its unique flavor.
Neighborhood Renaissance has made great strides to increase and preserve workforce housing that is affordable for area residents. We have undertaken comprehensive neighborhood improvements that benefit the overall Northwood community.
To these ends, we continue our work in the Northwood area through the following programs:
- Community Land Trust
- Lease-Purchase Housing Program
- Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2
- Village Centre
The progress made in Northwood-Pleasant City would not have been possible without the continued support of our dedicated partner: