What Is Neighborhood Reinvestment?

Steven Symes

Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation is a not-for-profit organization that helps secure funding for projects to improve communities and create affordable housing in urban, suburban and rural areas. The organization was started in 1968 by a neighborhood activist in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, who convinced bankers and local government leaders to extend loans to improve her community. Today, Neighborhood Reinvestment changed its name in April of 2005, now being known as NeighborWorks America. NeighborWorks has several offices and works with other not-for-profit organizations across the United States to continue revitalizing communities.

Neighborhood Reinvestment aims to improve communities.
Neighborhood Reinvestment aims to improve communities.

The organization works with financial institutions that are based in communities needing assistance, along with local government leaders and community residents, to improve the condition of the community. Financial institutions pledge to provide loans for local not-for-profit organizations, government entities or private citizens to improve the community. Projects might include improvements to housing, community cultural events and the creation or maintenance of public recreational facilities, among other projects. Organizations or individuals seeking financial assistance must apply for a grant from NeighborWorks America.

Neighborhood reinvestment may focus on developing greenspaces for public use.
Neighborhood reinvestment may focus on developing greenspaces for public use.

A network of NeighborWorks offices, plus local community development not-for-profit organizations ensures the organization has an effect in communities across the United States. Neighborworks’ main office is located in Washington, D.C., with nine other offices scattered across the United States. The organization also works with 235 other not-for-profit organizations, providing grants for projects as well as training for members of these other organizations and program support or assistance.

The overall objective of Neighborhood Reinvestment is to strengthen communities through affordable housing and other community-based projects. Projects include restoring run-down properties and then selling them to lower-income residents at a price that is lower than market value, providing grants for lower-income homeowners to make improvements to their property and creating events or facilities that encourage community togetherness. The exact opportunities that are available in a community depend on several factors, including what local government leaders have decided are community priorities and the amount of money offered by local financial institutions.

In 1968, a Pittsburg resident founded the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation as a way to improve her own neighborhood. By the 1970s, Neighborhood Reinvestment began training savings and loan officers to work with urban communities. Title IV of the Housing and Community Development Amendments of 1978 established NeighborWorks as a Congressionally-chartered not-for-profit organization. The United States Congress still oversees the operations of NeighborWorks, with the Public Policy and Legislative Affairs division managing NeighborWorks’ relationship with Congress and other United States federal agencies.

Neighborhood reinvestment might focus on creating activities for local children.
Neighborhood reinvestment might focus on creating activities for local children.

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