Based on recommendations from a group of NeighborWorks organization (NWO) directors, Neighborhood Reinvestment initiated the Campaign for Home Ownership in 1993. That campaign provided NWOs with both funding and technical assistance to expand homeownership opportunities in the communities they serve. Based on the experiences of organizations involved with that campaign, Neighborhood Reinvestment staff distilled a model homeownership assistance strategy they call Full-Cycle Lending. This model includes six components: partnership building, pre-purchase home-buyer education, flexible loan products, property services, post-purchase counseling and neighborhood impact. Based on the success of this first five-year Campaign, Neighborhood Reinvestment supported a second five-year campaign called the Campaign for Home Ownership 2002.
In 1998 Congress authorized $25 million for a NeighborWorks Home Ownership Pilot program designed to leverage additional local support and test new strategies for assisting first-time home buyers. In less than four months, the Neighborhood Reinvestment Home Ownership Campaign staff developed and implemented specific program guidelines for the distribution of funds to local NWOs. These guidelines allowed NWOs great flexibility in the use of Pilot funds including using the funds for upgrading computers, hiring staff, developing marketing plans and programs, capitalizing loan funds, providing down payment assistance as well as other uses.
Campaign staff developed guidelines for three funding categories, A, B, and C, designed to respond to the different needs of NWOs. Category A grants (up to $500,000) were to assist NWOs that were already assisting 30 or more home buyers a year increase the number of home buyers assisted. Category B grants (up to $500,000) were to assist NWOs that were already assisting a large number of new home buyers enhance the positive impacts of home ownership on their target areas by undertaking other neighborhood improvement activities as well as increasing the number of home buyers assisted. Category C grants (up to $50,000) were to assist NWOs that were assisting a relatively low number of new home buyers build their capacities to do so. A total of 35 Category A grants were made, nine Category B grants and 40 Category C grants.
To assist Campaign and Pilot sites in achieving their goals, Neighborhood Reinvestment provides several types of technical assistance. The semi-annual Neighborhood Reinvestment Training Institute offers a variety of courses on developing homeownership promotion programs and home-owner education methods. Neighborhood Reinvestment has also developed an extensive array of marketing materials that can be used by Campaign and Pilot organizations. Finally, Neighborhood Reinvestment Campaign and field staff assist participating organizations with special challenges as they arise.
This report is the second of three reports evaluating the outcomes, implementation process and impacts of the Pilot. The outcome evaluation was designed to document the results of the Pilot including the number of persons trained and/or counseled, the number of new home owners assisted, and the value of housing units purchased, built or rehabilitated with the assistance of the Pilot organizations. This evaluation is based on information provided to Neighborhood Reinvestment by participating NWOs. The process evaluation was designed to document and evaluate the efforts of Neighborhood Reinvestment and participating NWOs in planning and implementing the Pilot programs. This part of the evaluation is based on interviews conducted in two rounds of site visits to eight Category A and B Pilot programs -- once in the fall of 1999 and once in the spring and summer of 2001. Finally, the impact evaluation was designed to assess the influence of the Pilot on the participating NWOs and their clients. The evaluation is based on interviews with NWO staff and focus groups of new home owners assisted in the eight sites visited.