University Neighborhood Housing Program (UNHP) celebrated our 30th Anniversary in 2013 with multiple events towards our affordable housing mission, including a 30th Anniversary Forum, significant progress in our work to improve distressed multifamily buildings, and two celebrations.
The 30th Anniversary Affordable Housing Forum drew 100 attendees, including representatives from city agencies, banks, neighborhood leaders, and foundations at Fordham University. The forum highlighted the findings of the UNHP report, Nowhere to Go, which detailed the many challenges facing Bronx residents as their rents go up and their incomes decline. In addition to our research work, UNHP made significant progress in our work to identify and improve distressed multifamily buildings in NYC through our Building Indicator Project (BIP) database.
The BIP was shared with over 20 lenders, 25 community groups, public agencies and bank regulators and has improved thousands of homes for low-income people in NYC. UNHP and Enterprise Community Partners, a national housing foundation, successfully organized a meeting with the four bank regulators to discuss the use of the BIP, multifamily lending practices, and the use of the BIP or similar tools to gauge the quality of a banks’ investment in low-income communities.
The 30th Anniversary of UNHP was also a cause for celebration. In October, we commemorated the event with a festive party held at the historic Dollar Savings Bank branch building on the Grand Concourse honoring Dr. Brian J. Byrne as longtime board member and founding force. In November, Executive Director Jim Buckley was awarded the Andrew Heiskell Community Renaissance Award at the Enterprise Gotham City Gala. This award was in acknowledgment of Jim’s leadership, community organizing and affordable housing work for over 30 years in the Northwest Bronx community UNHP serves.
From 1984-89, Jim served as Director of the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition’s Reinvestment Project , which helped to bring public and private investment into Bronx buildings. The resulting strong working relationships established the basis for much of UNHP’s early work. He became the founding director of UNHP in 1989. UNHP’s mission is to create, and preserve affordable housing and bring needed resources to the Northwest Bronx.
2014 is shaping up to be a busy and successful year for UNHP as well. The Northwest Bronx Resource Center will be offering a wide range of financial services; free tax preparations, financial education workshops, financial coaching, help for homeowners and small business assistance. We are looking forward to making successful strides towards our mission to create and preserve affordable housing and bring needed resources to the Northwest Bronx. Learn more about UNHP on their website www.unhp.org.