In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, NeighborWorks® Community Partners (NCP) has partnered with the Westminster Economic Development Initiative (WEDI) to create the Neighborly Fund to offer relief to community members in need. The inaugural distribution of the Neighborly Fund will provide no interest, deferred loans of up to $3,500 to homeowners in Monroe, Erie and Niagara Counties, and $7,500 to small businesses in Buffalo, NY who have been financially impacted by COVID-19 through layoffs, furloughs, or other hardships.
The organizations have set out to collectively raise $500,000 for these no interest, deferred loans, which can be used to pay mortgages or utilities, buying groceries, or keeping their small business afloat. Borrowers will also receive free one-on-one financial counseling to help them put a plan in place to get back on their feet, and repay the loan when (or if) they can. While some folks may not be able to repay their loan in full, many will.
But they won’t be paying it back in the traditional sense – instead, they’ll be “paying it forward.”
Once the coronavirus crisis has passed, NCP Buffalo & WEDI will use any loan repayments that were received to continue providing affordable financing to low-income WNYers who need to address health and safety hazards in older homes, make their homes more energy efficient while reducing their utility bills, or to maintain their small business.
“NeighborWorks Community Partners is committing $100,000 in seed capital for the Neighborly Fund, said Jerome M. Nagy, Chief Executive Officer. We are proud to work with our friends at WEDI, to assist both homeowners and small business owners alike. If you are fortunate enough to be working, even if from home, we encourage you to support your neighbors and donate to the fund today!”
“The Neighborly Fund is a great way for the community to impact on our local economy, said Carolynn Welch, executive director, WEDI. “At WEDI, we’ve been supporting and promoting small businesses for over a decade and could have never imagined that those businesses, and so many in WNY, would face such a detrimental hardship. Now, more than ever, our community needs to come together.”
To learn more about how you can support homeowners through the Neighborly Fund, visit the GoFundMe page by clicking this link: https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/the-neighborly-fund.