Dorothy Mae Richardson

The legacy of Dorothy Mae Richardson

February is a significant month for us, among other reasons, because during this time, we celebrate and reflect on Black History and how hundreds of African-American personalities have contributed to forging the legacy of this country. For us, one person stands out, Dorothy Mae Richardson, “founding mother” of NeighborWorks America. This federal institution brings together more than 400 certified community development organizations throughout the country. And Dorothy Mae Richardson distinct from others because her life serves as an example and motivation for the team of community leaders that we have convened to participate in 2021 CLI training, organized precisely by NeighborWorks America.

The CLI is a training event (from February to May) where hundreds of leaders from different communities nationwide participate in various workshops, conferences, and discussions. We learn from shared experiences and develop the skills to implement those projects that produce a transformative impact on our neighbors. NHSSF team brings together different leaders from Overtown and Liberty City to the 2021 CLI, all of them eager to learn and share their grassroots experiences, following the example set by Dorothy Mae Richardson.

But who was Dorothy Mae Richardson? Richardson was born in Pittsburgh on May 3, 1922. She graduated from Allegheny High School in 1940 and resided in that same neighborhood until her death on April 28, 1991. From her middle age, she was an active member of his community. In the mid-1960s, Richardson and the neighbors from the North Side of the City enlisted city bankers and government officials to help improve their community. As the team leader, she convinced 16 financial institutions to give out conventional loans to the community, which financed dilapidated homes and rehabilitation projects. This effort laid the groundwork for the new field of community-based development and led to the founding of Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) of Pittsburgh in 1968.

We take a giant step and see, in 1978, the Congress institutionalizing the NHS network -thrived by NHS forces- by establishing the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, known today as NeighborWorks America, with its mission grounded on the community development efforts set forth by Richardson and her neighborhood a decade before.

She was an impactful advocate for change in her community. Still, as Morton Coleman, dean and professor emeritus at the University of Pittsburgh, also wrote, Richardson was “not only able to organize around the needs of her immediate community, but she also created institutions, both in Pittsburgh and nationally, that continue to provide a voice for the powerless and disenfranchised.” That is why Dorothy Richardson is also a source of inspiration for all those African-American women who lead organizations focused on community work, such as Kim Henderson, President and CEO of the NHSSF.

In this month where we honor Black History, her figure and commitment serve as a beacon to continue with our mission of transforming our neighborhoods through housing equity, financial education, and prosperity for all.


photo of Danielle Pierre

New Board Member: Welcome to the Neighborhood!

We are thrilled to welcome Daniella Pierre as the newest member of the Board of Governance of Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida. Daniella Pierre is Chief Affordable Housing Advocate at On the Grid Community Housing Advocate, while also acting as an Academic and Career Advisor at Miami Dade College.

Her nomination to the board was unanimously approved on December 9, 2020, after understanding that “as a resident and business member of South Florida, [Ms. Pierre brings] talents that are essential to the success of our governing board,” as Board Chair, Ofonedu-Ime Goodwyn, said in his welcoming letter.

Ms. Pierre’s perspectives and insights on community issues, financial planning matters, and direction will support our mission in South Florida. As one of her first actions within the Board, Ms. Pierre is attending the Community Leadership Institute 2021, organized by NeighborWorks America, with the rest of the NHSSF community leaders’ team. She brings to this training her in-depth knowledge and experience around Miami Dade challenges and possibilities.

Thank you for your commitment to our community and for joining the board of directors.

 

Welcome to NHSSF!


Stop Home Scams

Stop Home Scams Campaign – Empower Homeowners & Renters to Combat Housing Scams

Stop Home ScamsWe joined Neighborworks® America to launch the Stop Home Scams Initiative to protect consumers against foreclosure and eviction fraud. StopHomeScams is a national public education campaign led by Neighborworks® America with support from the Wells Fargo Foundation, National Fair Housing Alliance, and National Foundation for Credit Counseling designed to help protect consumers by empowering them to act and protect their home and community from scammers. The goal is for consumers to know the signs, get the facts, and stop home scams.

The economic impact of COVID-19 has made housing security even more uncertain for many Americans. With a patchwork of forbearance and rental assistance programs scheduled to end and up to 21% of renters at risk of eviction, many families are seeking solutions and finding themselves at risk of being taken advantage of through questionable programs and unscrupulous actors until it is too late.

“We want to emphasize how important it is for consumers to know the signs of a housing scam and quickly report any scam activities,” said Marietta Rodriguez, president and chief executive officer of Neighborworks® America. “The Stop Home Scams initiative is making it easier for homeowners and renters in distress to protect themselves and help shut down scammers.”

 

Here are three key consumer tips for avoiding scammers —find more information and guidance on StopHomeScams.org:

  • Avoid promises of success or anyone who guarantees to assist with payment or prevent foreclosure or eviction.
  • Avoid companies that tell you to stop paying your rent or mortgage. Being told to stop paying is a sure sign of a scam.
  • Reach out to your landlord or mortgage company when you are struggling with your monthly payments to ask any questions or share concerns about your home.

 

Access StopHomeScams to find educational resources to help recognize and report a housing scam. In addition to scam awareness tips, StopHomeScams.org provides links to state and national partner resources to support consumers and help them find assistance for their individual needs.

“We believe this effort to prevent housing scams is particularly important during a time when far too many families, including people of color impacted by the economic downturn caused by COVID-19, are facing financial challenges,” said Eileen Fitzgerald, head of housing affordability philanthropy with the Wells Fargo Foundation. “Protecting people from being compromised by scam attempts is important to helping keep people housed in a safe and affordable place they can call home.”

 

As a NeighborWorks network member, NHSSF is spreading the word and will educate consumers and conduct outreach efforts to community groups and residents across South Florida. StopHomeScams.org offers inclusive, consumer-friendly tools and resources.

StopHomeScams.org is based on the belief that knowledge and action are the best defense against falling prey to scammers,” said Rodriguez. “That is why it was so important for NeighborWorks and our partners, like the Wells Fargo Foundation, to come together to help consumers, especially those most vulnerable at this time, with the tools they need to minimize their risk and stop scammers in their tracks. COVID-19 has proven to exacerbate scam activity, and consumers must empower themselves and protect their homes.”

For more information, visit www.StopHomeScams.org.

 

About NeighborWorks America

For more than 40 years, Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp., a national, nonpartisan nonprofit known as Neighborworks® America, has strived to make every community a place of opportunity. Our network of excellence includes nearly 240 members in every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Neighborworks® America offers grant funding, peer-exchange, technical assistance, evaluation tools and access to training, as the nation’s leading trainer of housing and community development professionals. NeighborWorks network organizations provide residents in their communities with affordable homes, owned and rented; financial counseling and coaching; community building through resident engagement; and collaboration in the areas of health, employment and education.

 

About NHSSF

NHSSF is a certified CDFI and an accredited community development nonprofit serving South Florida residents for over 40 years. We are committed to advance prosperity for all South Floridians through Lending, Real Estate Development, Home Buyer Education & Counseling, and Community Transformation. NHSSF is also a chartered member of the NeighborWorks® America. In this capacity, we are part of a nationwide network of over 240 chartered community development organizations and one of the twenty that serve Florida residents.