Neighbors helping neighbors--what a great feeling!
By Ken Kunhardt
A pair of chance encounters illustrates how powerful the idea of neighbors helping neighbors can be.
Neighbors helping neighbors.
It’s one of the ways we describe our work at the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund. It has been in our organizational DNA since 1984, when the Sisters of Mercy lent us the money to help 14 low-income homeowners buy their manufactured-home park in Meredith.
I see evidence of neighbors helping neighbors every time I drive past one of New Hampshire’s 123 resident-owned manufactured-home communities (ROCs).
I’m reminded again when I talk with the people who make our work possible. They include the 489 individuals whose investment dollars we loan to create and maintain this affordable housing throughout our state. Last year we had another 450 donors, whose gifts provide the education and technical assistance that help ROCs and other borrowers succeed.
But who are these neighbors whose lives we have changed for the better?
'I would be homeless!'
When I stopped by my pharmacy recently, a new pharmacist behind the counter noticed the Community Loan Fund logo on my fleece vest.
“You work for the Community Loan Fund?” she asked excitedly. When I responded yes, she replied, “Without you, I would be homeless!”
“My landlord decided to sell the house that I was renting. I spent months looking for another rental but could not find anything that I could afford,” she explained. “Then a friend told me about the Community Loan Fund’s Welcome Home Loan program. Working with them, I was able to buy my own home for less than it cost me to rent!”
'We really wanted to buy a home'
More recently, again wearing my vest, I stopped by my local gas station. The woman behind the counter asked, “You work for the Community Loan Fund?”
She told me her story: “My growing family has been renting for years and we really wanted to buy a home. We found one in a resident-owned manufactured-home community just down the road and you are providing the financing. Without the Community Loan Fund, we would be renting forever!”
Being a part of helping my neighbors—that’s a great feeling.
Now I always wear my vest or Community Loan Fund hat around town, because you never know who you are going to meet!
Ken Kunhardt is Director of Investor Relations.