NeighborWorks Northeast Nebraska is a stellar example of a successful small business in our community dedicated to serving their customers, making sure each guest has a positive experience and leading by example for everyone they do business with. So, we wanted to know what their secret was– NeighborWorks Northeast Nebraska shared with us the history of the business along with their blueprint for success!
Describe your business:
NeighborWorks Northeast Nebraska is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit housing development organization. We provide housing opportunities to individuals and families. This is accomplished through our Homebuyer Education, Financial Coaching, New Construction and Purchase/Rehab/Resell Programs. NWNEN has been in Norfolk for 22.5 years and at our second location in Columbus since 2007. We have 6 full-time and 1 part-time employees. Target customers are those seeking information and financial assistance in purchasing a home for their family. Beneficiaries must be within the established household income guidelines.
Tell us about the history of your business:
NWNEN has been in business since 1994. It was formed by a Housing Task Force led by the Norfolk Chamber, to help meet the housing needs in the mid 1990’s. At that time Beef-America was expanding to a 3rd shift, however, the unemployment rate was very low, therefore, workforce had to come into the community from somewhere else to fill the jobs. At that time there was a shortage of available affordable housing in Norfolk, which then led to establishing NWNEN. Roger started part-time and has since grown the org. to 2 offices, 7 employees and assisted over 650 families with their housing needs in northeast Nebraska.
What do you consider to be your blueprint for success?
The reasons for NWNEN’s success is many; 1) Huge need for affordable housing, 2) Partnerships established to help serve our clients, 3) Dedicated and very hard working Board Members and employees, 4) Successfully securing grant funds.
Share with us a success story of your business:
Matt & Angela had some family ties to the area and had recently moved this way along with their 1-year old daughter when Matt took a new job. The couple was referred to NWNEN by their lender in June of 2016 and took the Homebuyer Education workshop as soon as they could. A new HVAC system was installed in a home they found in, and Matt installed a new top rail on the deck himself. In October of 2016 NWNEN sold the young family their first house while providing down payment assistance. “We are very thankful for all the hard work you did while helping our family find a house we can afford. We learned so much from the homebuying class. We are also thankful for the down payment assistance loan. Thanks a million, NeighborWorks Norheast Nebraska.”-Matt, Angela & Grace.
Why did you decide to become a member of the Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce?
NeighborWorks Northeast Nebraska joined the chamber right at the organization’s beginning. We knew it was important to be a part of the business network in Norfolk. The membership has supported our organization many times through Business After Hours, Coffee Calls, Special Events. NeighborWorks Northeast Nebraska is here in Norfolk due to the support of the Housing Task Force of the Chamber in 1990’s.
What are your plans for the future of your business?
NWNEN will continue to provide its current programs for the education component and housing development programs to provide safe, decent and affordable housing to families. We will continue to serve the 7 counties in northeast Nebraska. We are in early discussions to take a leading rold in possibly adding some housing units to the communities of Norfolk and Columbus.