Working In Neighborhoods empowers people to make
informed choices for themselves and their neighborhoods
through community building, home ownership, and
This year marks the 35th Anniversary of Working In Neighborhoods (WIN). In celebration of this milestone, we are also celebrating the 35 strategic partnerships we have built along the way. Through their foresight and belief in our mission, our partners have enabled us to respond to the needs of our community, and have made it possible for us to develop innovative programs that are as impactful today as they were 35 years ago.
In 1978, our nation was facing spiraling inflation and an energy crisis. Here in Cincinnati, low-income residents and the elderly were struggling to pay their heating bills. WIN’s Executive Director, Sister Barbara Busch, along with resident leaders in some of Cincinnati’s poorest neighborhoods, joined together to address the problems facing them, and Working In Neighborhoods was born.
One of WIN’s earliest collaborators was Cincinnati Gas and Electric, now Duke Energy, and together we forged a partnership to help address serious and sometimes life-threatening energy access problems. We developed an energy education program, and today we teach annually over 500 low-income residents in 7 counties how to save money and conserve energy. Through this program, the people who benefited from WIN’s effort were among the first people in the tri-state area to use compact fluorescent light bulbs in their homes.
In WIN’s early years, we saw that Cincinnati’s neighborhoods were plagued by vacant, abandoned homes, and many low-income residents needed decent places to live. WIN set out to develop a comprehensive, sustainable method to address home ownership and family stability. WIN works with residents to target strategic areas that will benefit from development. We are not only transforming homes by renovating and rebuilding, but entire streets as well. The homeownership rate in the low income neighborhoods we serve is now over 50%.
Once WIN sells homes to first time homeowners, the market takes over, and the neighborhood thrives. We have sold hundreds of homes in targeted areas, and these communities—Northside, College Hill, South Cumminsville, Over-the-Rhine, Village of Elmwood– are moving forward. WIN’s innovative approach gets results.
WIN’s progress in housing has faced multiple challenges. In the 1980’s, lenders were hesitant to invest money in many low-income communities. WIN partnered with lenders and the banking community at large. Together we worked diligently to develop programs for first-time homeowners, which have yielded over $800 million in mortgage investments for our city. WIN continues to build strategic partnerships with our banking community by educating homeowners not only about purchasing, but maintaining their homes, which results in residents who take pride in rebuilding their communities.
In the early 80’s WIN also became a pioneer in green housing development in Cincinnati. WIN began installing energy-efficient furnaces and increasing the insulation in the homes we built. Our homes today meet LEED requirements, save our homeowners money on their utility bills, and sustain viable customers for Duke Energy.
Because of WIN’s many partnerships with the communities we serve, we are able to identify and respond to trends quickly. In 2002, WIN saw the foreclosure crisis taking hold in our communities, and we published our first foreclosure study. At that time, few people were concerned about foreclosures; many believed foreclosures were isolated cases.
Working In Neighborhoods understood the impact foreclosures had on Cincinnati’s low-income neighborhoods, and we addressed the problem head-on. We gathered the support of other non-profits, solicited help from the City, County and State governments, enlisted the help of our lending partners, and together we continue to tackle the foreclosure crisis. WIN offers counseling services for those facing foreclosure, and to prepare working families for homeownership.
For 35 years, WIN has worked hand-in-hand with community leaders, businesses, and most importantly, the residents. We spot issues and enlist resources to address and make needed improvements. By bringing everyone to the table—the people impacted by the problem as well as the businesses and organizations with the resources to create a positive resolution for the neighborhoods of Greater Cincinnati.
WIN is located at:
1814 Dreman Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45223
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