NeighborWorks: Getting to know us
Every so often we like to reintroduce ourselves!
While we’ve been here in Grays Harbor since 1981 and presenting this column in The Daily World, since 1999, we know that new folks are always moving into town – and that some of the people who were teens when we started writing this column are now homeowners – or want to be!
Part of the reason we’re being reflective right now about our history and what we do, is that in a few weeks, we’re heading for Washington, D.C. to meet with our network organizations across the nation to discuss housing.
Yes, NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor County is one of the oldest chartered organizations of nearly 250 located in every state and U.S. possessions as part of the NeighborWorks America organization.
The executive directors will meet in March for the annual Directors Symposium in Washington, D.C., to better understand the national picture of housing issues and to share our local challenges, opportunities and best practices with each other.
The other reason for this annual trip is to join with at least 150 other directors who belong to the National NeighborWorks Alliance to visit as many senators and representatives as possible in 15-minute conversations advocating for NeighborWorks America. We share the network’s nationwide impact as well as our Washington State and local impacts to housing-related issues.
While we will soon be educating them on what we do and need, we thought it was a good time to remind our constituents here – that’s you – what it is we can do for you.
That’s why last week we started a review of what we here at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor do. We’ll spend just a minute more reviewing our review!
REVIEWING THE REVIEW
Basically, NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor is a non-profit organization governed by a solid volunteer board of directors. Our mission is to help the Grays Harbor community with housing- related issues by creating affordable housing opportunities and solutions.
Although some of our services require income-qualification, housing counseling is available regardless of income.
If you have a question regarding housing – from home maintenance, to hiring a contractor, dealing with a landlord to building a budget or anything else, just give us a call. If we can’t help you ourselves, we can usually point you in the right direction.
Last week we fleshed out a few of the things we specifically help with including mortgage default as well as home buyer assistance, education and counseling.
Today we’re going to talk a bit about budgeting and money management help as well as landlord/tenant relations.
BUDGETING HELP, MONEY
Anyone feeling the need to get a handle on their spending or wanting to learn the skills necessary for financial stability can access this service, at no charge.
The NeighborWorks counseling department is also available to make presentations to any community group that would like more information on any of our services. Just give us a call at (360) 533-7828.
LANDLORD/ TENANT HELP
First of all we are not attorneys! Our landlord/tenant advice is only intended to give a starting point to address your concerns. If we can help you maintain successful rental relationships through information directly available in the Landlord-tenant Act, we will do so. Poor communication and not understanding responsibilities of and between parties creates most of the problems we hear about.
Our counselor can help both landlords and tenants better understand their rights and responsibilities based on what the Washington State Landlord-Tenant Act says, not our interpretation. The Act is available online or in a paper copy at our office. The counselor can offer some simple advice, but if you even have inkling that you have a legal issue, the simple advice will be to find a knowledgeable attorney. You should by-pass us and begin with a call to NW Justice Project’s CLEAR line (1-888-201-1014). You will find out if you and your case qualify for their legal help and if there is a cost for their legal services.
RENTAL UNITS AVAILABLE
While there are many well-kept rental properties in the Grays Harbor area, there are still too many units that generate ongoing owner, tenant and neighbor complaints. The City of Aberdeen will be addressing minimum housing quality standards of all rental properties in the near future which should help reduce some of the complaints and increase health and safety for tenants and even the neighborhood.
Through our daily efforts, we have been able to create quality, safe and affordable housing options which hopefully creating strong competition for other rental properties in the area to be better.
Of our 38 rental units, 16 are rent-subsidized units. The remaining homes are offered at or below fair-market rent, and located throughout both Aberdeen and Hoquiam. If you are looking for quality rental housing, be sure to check with us for our available homes.
At this writing however, all our units are leased. In the near future we will be listing any available properties for rent and for sale.
Dave Murnen and Pat Beaty are construction specialists at NeighborWorks® of Grays Harbor County, where Murnen is the executive director. This is a non-profit organization committed to creating safe and affordable housing for all residents of Grays Harbor County.
Do you have questions about home repair, renting, remodeling or becoming a homeowner? Call us at 533-7828, write us or visit us at 710 E. Market St. in Aberdeen