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The mission of University Neighborhood Housing Program (UNHP) is to create, preserve, and improve affordable housing and bring needed resources to the Northwest Bronx. UNHP achieves its mission in three primary ways; as a community-based affordable housing developer, a Bronx-focused researcher, and through the Northwest Bronx Resource Center as a direct-service provider. The majority of our work benefits the Bronx and the northwest Bronx, a series of neighborhoods that are home to primarily Black, Hispanic, and immigrant low-income families and individuals. Our research work and the NYC multifamily building database we created, known as the Building Indicator Project (BIP) has a citywide impact. UNHP is unique in its approach to its mission as each component of our work influences the other. Our work to build financial stability and housing security with Bronx residents informs our research as does our role as an affordable housing developer. Our involvement with Bronx tenants and residents as well as our research efforts guide our work to bring resources to our community.
University Neighborhood Housing Program (UNHP) was originally created by Fordham University in 1983 to assist in community based preservation activities. Around the same time, the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition (NWBCCC) Reinvestment Project sought to expand funding opportunities for locally controlled buildings. The Project joined forces with the University in 1988 to reinvent UNHP. Jim Buckley, the head of the Reinvestment Project, became the Executive Director of UNHP.
Based on the track record of both Fordham University and the NWBCCC, UNHP quickly succeeded in obtaining lines of credit from banks and institutions to support affordable housing redevelopment. UNHP’s first work was to lend funds and package loans in order to purchase dilapidated privately owned buildings, renovate them and create community controlled affordable housing. The UNHP loan funds that were created in 1988 continue today.
While UNHP continues to create and preserve affordable housing as a lender and developer, our most recent impact has been our collaborative work with banks, community groups and public agencies to identify and improve distressed multifamily buildings. We are working to combat the growing use of predatory financial services through assisting the many homeowners at risk of foreclosure since 1999, and more recently by providing financial education and free tax preparation. Encouraging appropriate reinvestment and addressing the long-term effects of redlining has shaped UNHP’s work since its inception.
“The Bronx is in a very unique and precarious situation. You have different groups of people making decisions that have and will affect its’ residents for decades to come. The next generation of Bronxites deserves a chance to live in the neighborhoods that the previous generation fought to preserve. ”
— John Garcia, UNHP Board member, Executive Director of Fordham Bedford Community Services and life-long Bronx resident.