Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"Thank You" to our Spring RPI Interns

TRIP would like to say a big "thank you" to our two spring interns! Oscar White and Kristi Nelson, RPI students, worked with us for the semester as part of their Community Service Internship class. They were great to have and really helped to motivate and speed up several projects.

Thank you to both of you! TRIP's partnership with RPI is incredibly valuable to us, and we hope that you got a lot out of seeing the inside of a local non-profit. Best of luck to you as you continue your studies! Come back and visit when you get a chance!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Calling for a Troy Treasure!

TRIP is seeking nominations for the 2012 Troy Treasure Awardee -- an individual, group, or business committed to improving Troy. We know there are many of you and we would love to see you honored as this year's Troy Treasure.

More information and nomination forms may be found at our website or by calling TRIP at 272-8289.

The deadline for nominations is July 16th, 2012. This year's Troy Treasure Awardee will be recognized at the TRIP & RCHR Homecoming Dinner on October 29th, 2012.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind -- Hide Your Car's Valuables

Police Chief Tedesco reported at May 9th's TNAC (Troy Neighborhoods Action Council) meeting that there have been a number of car break-ins recently. He asked that everyone put all their valuables-- including power cords-- out of sight and make sure to lock their cars. If police see that your valuables are in open view, they may leave you a flyer advising you to remove them from sight.

Mark Your Calendars!

The TRIP & RCHR Annual Homecoming Dinner will be held on October 29th, 2012 at the Franklin Terrace Ballroom. Come support Honorable Ron Canestrari as he receives the 2012 Community Citizenship Award. Also presented will be the 2012 Troy Treasure Award to a soon-to-be-named awardee.

Did You Know...? Independent Foreclosure Review

Has your primary residence been involved in the foreclosure process?

TRIP once again would like to make you aware of the Independent Foreclosure Review. This initiative was created by The Board of Governors for the Federal Reserve System and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. If you are a homeowner or know a friend or neighbor whose primary residence was part of a foreclosure action between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010, and whose home loan was serviced by one of 27 participating mortgage banks, you MAY be eligible for an Independent Foreclosure Review.

The Independent Foreclosure Review will determine whether individual borrowers suffered financial injury and should receive compensation or other remedy because of errors or other problems during their home foreclosure process.

The Independent Foreclosure Review is a free service. Beware of anyone who asks you to pay a fee for any foreclosure review service.

For a list of participating mortgage lenders/servicers, and to request an independent review of your mortgage loan, please visit http://www.independentforeclosurereview.com/, or call 1-888-952-9105. Please note that your Request for Review form must be postmarked or submitted to the independent review administrator by no later than July 31, 2012.

If you have additional questions regarding this initiative, please feel free to call Birgit Wood, TRIP Housing Counselor, at (518) 690-0020 ext. 226. Please make sure to reference the Independent Foreclosure Review when calling.

Homeownership Done Right

Comprehensive Standards Support "Homeownership Done Right TM"

The National Industry Standards for Homeownership Education and Counseling set criteria so consumers around the country can be confident that the housing counseling they receive from agencies that adopt the standards is high quality, comprehensive, and valuable. These Standards hold local nonprofit housing counseling agencies to a high standard of excellence, ensuring that consumers are provided the most consistent and critical information, advice, and guidance.

Here in Troy, the TRIP NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center adopted the Standards for Homeownership Counseling in 2008 and we have elevated our quality of services for our clients. "Homeownership counseling is crucial to successful long-term homeownership," says Bobbi Carter, Director of TRIP's HomeOwnership Center. At TRIP, we have two highly trained pre-purchase housing and foreclosure prevention counselors who work one-on-one with clients to help them determine the best course of action for them, whether they are looking to buy their first home or trying to keep the home they grew up in.

The Standards were developed by the Advisory Council for the National Industry Standards for Homeownership Education and Counseling. The Advisory Council is comprised of leading housing industry representatives including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), working together to provide a way for counseling organizations to demonstrate accountability and commitment-- an approach known as "Homeownership Done Right." Michael Haley of Minnesota Housing and Chairman of the Council noted that the National Industry Standards protect the best interests of the consumer. "The ultimate beneficiaries are the homeowners that receive these services and become better equipped to enjoy successful, sustainable homeownership," Haley says.

For more information about homeownership education and counseling available at TRIP, please contact Bobbi Carter, (518) 690-0020 ext. 222, bobbi@triponline.org, or visit our website, http://www.triponline.org.

To learn more about the National Industry Standards for Homeownership Education and Counseling, visit http://www.homeownershipstandards.org/.

Deeper Shades of Green

Addressing "green" and sustainability issues has been a long standing commitment at TRIP, and we are always trying to keep up with the best practices in our field. We are currently in the process of assessing our internal office practices and determining how to increase efficiency while decreasing waste. Externally, we are constantly searching for new and helpful material and resources to incorporate into our rehab projects, workshop classes, and community events and programs.

Partnering with the SUNY Albany Business School, TRIP is acting as a client for a group of first-year graduate students in the G3 program. G3 stands for "Going Green Globally". The six students, aided by coach Mark Boucher, will act as sustainability consultants for a brief, but intense, twelve day project (May 4th - May 16th). Since this program is part of the Business School, G3's goals are to provide clients with suggestions for greater sustainability in their organization while also increasing financial savings.

TRIP's G3 Team
Sustainability at TRIP is about lessening our overall environmental influence and finding ways to maximize economic impact and/or savings for our clients and communities. With fewer resources being wasted, more money can be saved and used to improve existing services and create new program opportunities.

If you have any questions about what TRIP does or doesn't do please contact us. Also, if there is a sustainability issue that you think TRIP should be more aware of, we want to hear from you! Help us provide the resources you and your community need!

Success Story, TRIP NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center

Former TRIP NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center (HOC) customer, Cheryl P., recently contacted us to say "thank you" for helping put her on an improved financial path. Cheryl worked closely with HOC Director Bobbi Carter and (former) housing counselor Ryan Hoagland on issues pertaining to her high interest rate mortgage. Cheryl said that she has been making payments on time for the past year and her credit rating is steadily improving. In fact, she is almost at a place where she is eligible for refinancing at a much lower interest rate. According to Cheryl, "I received so much help and support from the TRIP HomeOwnership Center. It's a good place that I want everyone to know about. I love you guys."

Thanks so much Cheryl! It was great to hear from you!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Troy Neighborhoods Action Council Meeting May 9th, 7pm

The purpose of the Troy Neighborhoods Action Action Council (TNAC) is to develop and maintain healthy, vibrant neighborhoods in the city of Troy, New York. It is comprised of residents and businesspeople who believe that the strength of our community lies in its rich history, diverse people, cultures, and economic opportunities, who are working together to make our neighborhoods safe, viable places for people to live, work, and visit.

The next TNAC meeting is on Wednesday, May 9th from 7–8:30pm at The Sanctuary for Independent Media at 3361 6th Avenue (near intersection of 5th & 6th Avenues by 101st St.).   It will be preceded by the Vacant Properties Workgroup which will meet from 6 – 7pm at The Sanctuary. All are welcome to both meetings.

Here is a very full TNAC agenda that you won’t want to miss! 

  • Introductions & Neighborhood News – All

  • Community Response Team -- Mayor Rosamilia and Chief Tedesco

  • Vacant Properties Workgroup update 

  • Troy Library Outreach Committee – Fredda Merzon

  • Community Wildlife Habitat Certification – Kathleen Cassidy

  • Neighborhood Police Report Data – Nina Nichols

  • Hudson River Fish Eating, What You Need to Know -- Regina Keenan, NYS Health Dept.

  • Seeking Troy Treasure Award nominations – Hilary Lamishaw, TRIP

  • Announcements

  • Networking from 8 – 8:30 PM

We hope you can join us.
Find us on Facebook!

Electronic Recycling Day May 5, 2012 9-3pm

In the spirit of Earth Week, the Delta Phi fraternity is hosting an Electronic Waste Amnesty Day! Anyone from Troy or surrounding towns is invited to participate and recycle their electronic waste for free. All broken, used or unwanted electronics will be properly recycled so that hazardous material doesn't end up in a landfill or the environment. 

Please click here for a flyer and more information on the accepted items.

What: Electronic Waste Amnesty Day
When: Saturday, May 5th, 2012 9am-3pm
Where: The Alamo in South Troy, East Industrial Parkway and Main St.

View Larger Map

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Thanks To Your Help, Key Housing Programs Receive Funding in NYS' Budget

Thanks to the efforts of you -- community members, elected officials, partners, and customers -- in support of critical housing programs that were proposed for elimination in the state budget, the NYS Legislature recently responded by restoring funding to the Neighborhood and Rural Preservation Programs and the Foreclosure Prevention Program. Consequently, we at TRIP and RCHR are grateful that we can continue to provide the array of housing and community services that we do through these programs. 

The NYS Foreclosure Prevention Program would have shut down on March 31st, stopping funding for more than a hundred housing counselors and legal services attorneys around the state focused specifically on helping homeowners facing foreclosure. Recent data indicates that the number of foreclosures in NYS will continue to rise, leading NYS legislators to vow their commitment to continuing the program despite the state budget deficit. We are glad to report that an agreement was made between the legislature, Attorney General Schneidermann, and the governor to target $9M from the Attorneys General Foreclosure Settlement Agreement funding to continue the current program for six months, after which time the NYS Attorney General will administer a foreclosure prevention program.

Similarly, the NYS Legislature was very committed to continuing the Neighborhood and Rural Preservation Programs which the governor eliminated in his executive budget. For decades these programs have provided operating support to community-based housing organizations around the state, including TRIP and our sister organization, RCHR, to provide an array of housing programs. Thanks to the community and our state legislators, the legislature restored $14.2M to the Neighborhood and Rural Preservation Programs. As a result, the hundreds of NPCs and RPCs in the state (not-for-profit community-based organizations like TRIP and RCHR) will receive slight increases from last year’s contracts of approximately $55, 000 each so that we can continue providing our services.  We would specifically like to thank the Rensselaer County Legislature and the Troy City Council for writing letters of support on behalf of TRIP and RCHR.

We appreciate your phone calls, letters, and emails to the governor and legislators in support of these  housing programs. We also thank our legislators for doing the right thing by funding the Foreclosure Prevention Program and the Neighborhood and Rural Housing Programs.  If you happen to see our state legislators out and about now that budget season is over, please take the time to thank them on behalf of all of us.