From the CEO
The year we change our way of thinking…
Steve PonTell, President and CEO
National Community Renaissance
The new year was barely a fortnight old when affordable housing began making headlines across the country.
In Nashville, planners introduced a series of financial incentives to encourage developers to build more low- to moderate-income housing. In San Francisco, a charter amendment introduced by a county supervisor would more than double the amount of affordable units that market-rate developers must include in their projects. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio reported that his city has financed more than 40,000 below-market rate apartments since 2014, and with the number rising, is on pace to meet his 10-year goal of 200,000 units.
Will 2016 be the year America takes a bold step forward in ensuring that everyone – regardless of income level – has the opportunity to live, with dignity, in housing they can afford? Will we be able to see the big picture, and appreciate the broader social and economic benefits of thoughtful, workable housing policies?
Or will we continue down the path we’ve been on for far too long, exacerbating a housing crisis that is widening the poverty gap in our country, hastening the erosion of our middle class and pushing jobs elsewhere.
I recently attended an economic summit in Los Angeles, where the nexus between housing and overall economic viability was put into clear view. In Orange County, California, one of the least affordable regions in the United States, employers cannot pay their workers enough to live there. This has sparked a migration of people to outlying areas, creating traffic and air quality issues for the region as a whole and forcing businesses to consider whether they, too, should leave.
Please join us in urging lawmakers – at the state and national level, and at home – to make 2016 a year to remember for the right reasons.
Transforming Lives: Janice Freeman’s life changed, her commitment to helping others has not…
Two and a half years ago, Janice Freeman was living by herself and working to help those less fortunate – many of them single moms – find shelter they could afford. She couldn’t have imagined a time not so far in future when she herself would be raising six children.
But when her twin sister took ill in 2013 and eventually passed away, Janice knew it would be up to her to raise four nieces and nephews. And when her brother and sister-in-law ran into trouble last year, Janice became the unofficial guardians for their two children as well.
It hasn’t been easy. At 6 years of age, the youngest of her sister’s four children has endured four open heart surgeries. Another child has Albinism which comes with health issues as well.
In January, Kohl’s Department Stores and the Colonies Holiday Miracles program provided Janice and her family with $1,000 in store credits to be used to buy clothes and other necessities. It was an emotional reminder that we’re all here to help one another.
“I teach my kids that as long as we have each other, that’s what counts,” she says, holding back a tear. “It’s not about having material items; it’s about family, good morals, togetherness and helping each other. We are blessed”
Helping others has been Janice’s life work. She worked for National CORE from 2005 to 2007, and returned last year.
“I like making a difference,” she says. “It’s why I’ve stayed in this business for so long. I know the situation our residents are in.”
More Holiday Miracles…
Over the past eight years, Colonies Holiday Miracles program in Upland has helped more than 1,700 children in need, many of them residents of National CORE properties. This year’s program was such a success that a major sponsor, Kohl’s Department Stores, provided additional shopping sprees to deserving families.
The family of Michael Medina was one of them. Michael was 17 when he was stabbed to death in Upland while trying to break up a fight.
“The outpouring from the community has been such a blessing, at times I can’t even fathom to feel anything else but tears of happiness,” said Michael’s mother, Rose Campos, told ABC News during the Miracles presentation.
For more on Michael’s story, click here.
CORE Sponsors Job Fair
National CORE is hosting its first job fair, January 23, at our Rancho Cucamonga headquarters, 9421 Haven Avenue. About 15 companies and organizations will be participating, including Amtrak, Kmart, ITT Tech, The County of Los Angeles, Azusa Pacific University, Roadmasters, Walmart, Mathis Brothers, Career Strategies and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. The fair will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
For more information, contact Angela McKnight at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (909) 204-3406.
Doing Our Part to Save Water
National CORE is Doing Our Part to preserve one of California’s most precious resources, water. To date, National CORE has reduced water consumption by 35 percent across its portfolio. We’re now challenging our residents to join us in reducing usage by another 25 percent. Eleven properties will compete for the title of “Most Water Efficient Community.” The winning property will have a community event that includes the In-N-Out Burger Truck and a drawing for prizes, including a big screen television and four Park Hoppers to Disneyland.
The 11 properties are:
Gardens at Sierra
East Rancho Verde
Fountains at Sierra
Plaza at Sierra
Villaggio on Route 66
News and notes…
A Season of Hope…
Thank you to all of our residents, staff and donors who made this holiday season one to remember at National CORE and Hope through Housing.
Our toy drive netted quite a haul for children at many communities:
Christmas at The Cottages, our special needs community
in Little Rock, Ark.
Santa was everywhere, visiting children:
Cookie decorating at San Antonio Vista and
Vista Del Cielo (Montclair)