Foreclosure Forefront

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Neighborhood Housing Services of Jamaica, Inc.
City & State:
, Jamaica, New York, 
New York
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement

Neighborhood Housing Services of Jamaica, Inc. (NHSJ) is a non-profit organization committed to preserving, protecting, revitalizing and stabilizing neighborhoods in Southeast Queens. By offering homeownership education, pre-&-post purchase housing counseling, technical & financial assistance to low–& moderate-income families. NHSJ vision is to fill its service area with affordable homes for families on every block throughout its community, and recognizing NHSJ as a household name.

Submission Information

Impact Essay

Neighborhood Housing Services of Jamaica, Inc. (NHSJ), has been perpetually challenged over the past several years with early abandonment and vacant properties throughout our service area, Jamaica, NY and Southern Queens. We now conduct our operations on the forefront of the nation’s worst housing crisis. Sub-prime lenders targeted Jamaica, NY over the last decade, underwriting as many as 50% of their New York City area loans in our service area. Many esteemed real estate research and analysis agencies, including the Furman Center for Real Estate in 2007, have publicly ranked our service region as one of the most critical foreclosure districts in New York. A recent Fannie Mae Mortgage Fraud Findings report, published on the Fannie Mae website in April 2009, ranked Jamaica, NY as the third in the nation for mortgage fraud findings. With foreclosure rates calculated as high as 7.5% (according to U.S. Census data), Jamaica has become New York State’s foreclosure epicenter.NHSJ is a 35 year old not-for-profit organization that’s committed to stabilizing neighborhoods in Jamaica, NY by offering homeownership education, counseling, technical and financial assistance to low- and middle-income residents. Our services are directly aligned with the community needs: low cost loans; homebuyer and emergency repair grants, foreclosure counseling and prevention assistance, resident leadership development, and community preservation projects. The organization has experienced great success in achieving many of its programmatic and financial goals through strong partnership with government, financial supporters and the residents of the community. Due to the recent advancing foreclosure crisis in Jamaica, NHSJ is focusing its resources on foreclosure prevention and community stabilization. For-profit companies, large and small, for several decades have been using Microsoft products to help them optimize their business operations. Patricia Kerr, NHSJ’s Program Director, realizes that “many people from the for-profit sector are coming into non-profits and bringing the results-oriented mindset with them“. Having come from the rigor and focus of the financial services industry, Patricia understands that for the NHSJ to achieve it goals, the staff will need to use affordable but powerful technology. At NHSJ, we use Microsoft products to increase the efficiency of our employees, collaborate effectively with our community development partners, and to develop low–cost outreach and public relations materials. All of these ultimately help to increase our clients base, enable new services, and enhance the overall quality of our programs.Microsoft products increase efficiency and productivity within our firm. This always translates into more clients served because NHSJ employees can spend more time on our clients needs and less time trying become software experts. The applications in the array of Microsoft products we use, including Excel, Word, Publisher, PowerPoint, and Access have a similar interface. Thus, it easy for employees with experience with one program to quickly learn to utilize another. Microsoft applications are designed to integrate with each other; therefore, one employee’s efforts can be used to enhance the work of another. For example, our extremely busy statistical data analyst, an Excel power user, was able to contribute to our public relations and outreach materials via PowerPoint presentations and Publisher documents. We standardize our intake procedures with forms (Word) and databases (Access) to manage demographic and outcomes data; this helps us to better assess the clients needs and manage the delivery of services. The resulting information also gives a clearer picture of our capacity for future growth. We use Outlook to schedule client appointments, dispersing them among the staff members, and, of course, for e-mail communication.One of the critical components of our mission is collaboration with other organizations in the local community development infrastructure. In doing this, we leverage the funds and other resources available to fulfill our mutual objective of stabilization and revitalization. Microsoft products easily help us to share data and communicate project information with our development partners. Our regional government partners and funders require us to share information about our outcomes and operational strategy. We track and analyze the efficacy of our programs with Excel. We create performance and financial reports for our supporters using Excel and Access. When we refer clients to other organizations that provide services that compliment our programs, such as legal assistance with foreclosure actions, we track contact and client information in Excel and Access. The most readily visible impact of Microsoft’s products is in our public relations and outreach department. We maximize our limited resources by using Powerpoint, Publisher and Word to create low-cost marketing, public relations and instructional materials. This year, after more than two decades as subsidiary within a larger network, NHSJ re-emerged as an independent organization. The 2008 annual report, our first as an independent, marked the launch of our new status. The report was created in Publisher, using an amalgam of employee work in various other Microsoft applications. The staff has used PowerPoint to educate homeowners about childhood lead poisoning and other home safety issues. We also taught community residents how to become fiscally responsible first-time homeowners with a curriculum created in PowerPoint. And, we use flyers designed in Publisher to instruct thousands of community homeowners how to access foreclosure prevention assistance. Whether we use Word for community surveys, or Excel to analyze the results, or PowerPoint to present the analysis to our funders, Microsoft products consistently help us to succeed in our mission to the Southern Queens, NY community.

Submission Category
Optimize Mission Delivery
Project Image
NHS Logo.jpg
Supporting Work Files
Supporting Work URL