May 2016 Newsletter

From the CEO

Eliminating Second-hand Smoke

Steve PonTell, President and CEO
National Community Renaissance

Fulfilling our mission of transforming lives begins with an awareness of how healthy living impacts individuals and entire communities. To that end, National CORE is attacking a leading cause of death in the United States – secondhand smoke. Collaborating with a variety of health agencies, we are transitioning our entire portfolio of workforce, market rate and senior housing in California to smoke-free communities by August 1. This move addresses head-on one of the biggest health challenges we face as a country. According to the Centers for Disease Control, secondhand smoke causes more than 7,300 lung cancer deaths and nearly 34,000 premature deaths from heart disease each year in the U.S. Even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can damage cells and the lining of blood vessels, making you more vulnerable to cancer or heart disease. Although statewide efforts to ban smoking at apartment communities have failed over the years, California law does permit landlords to designate any portion of their property – including the entire complex – as nonsmoking. Late last year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced plans to eliminate smoking in all public-housing projects over the next 18 months to two years. By August 1, we’ll already be there. Thank you to our team, our residents and our partners for making it so.

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A Life Transformed: How a 20-year relationship continues to help student and mentor


Erin Welch follows a simple philosophy when it comes to helping the most vulnerable among us: “Kids need to have joy in their life, especially if they are experiencing difficult times,” says Welch, Director of Asset Management for National CORE. Before joining National CORE a year ago, Welch worked for The Community Builders (TCB), a Boston-based developer of affordable housing, and spent more than 20 years in the social services field. Her mentorship during those years of Annifreed Sinjour, who at age 4 lost both of her parents, is the subject of a touching short film by Life is Good, the New England apparel company known for its promotion of positive thinking.

Sinjour, now 24 and an assistant in TCB’s asset management division, credits Welch for helping to support her during those difficult early years. “I used to have outbursts where (there would be) just anger or sadness, and I’d freak out. And they would just hold me,” she says in the video. “When it comes to Erin, and I know it sounds cliché, but it can’t really be put into words how thankful I am for her being in my life.”

Welch says she had just graduated college and was working three jobs when she met Sinjour. Despite her own hectic life, she felt compelled to spend much of her free time with the young girl whose world was in upheaval. “We can all use help sometimes,” Welch says today. “I’m grateful that people helped me along the way to understand what Annifreed was going through. In Annifreed’s case, you go through something like this with a little kid, and you get attached.”

View the Life is Good video here

Vista del Puente receives $3.3 million in funding for homeless veterans


Vista del Puente, an affordable housing community being developed by Townspeople and National CORE, has been awarded $3.3 million under a state program designed to house and provide intensive services to homeless veterans.

The money is part of $116.1 million awarded to 28 projects across the state by the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet), California Housing Finance Agency (Cal HFA) and Housing and Community Development (HCD). Vista del Puente has designated 26 units – half of the 52-unit total – for homeless veterans with a disability or serious illness with a specific focus on homeless veterans living with HIV/AIDS. “We are thrilled to receive the funding – and recognition – from CalVet for a project that serves a great unfilled need in our region and is so close to our hearts,” said Steve PonTell, President and CEO for National CORE. “Our military veterans have given us so much, and yet the challenges many of them face are so often neglected. We’re honored to partner with Townspeople to give something back.”

Read more on the award »

3 National CORE, Hope through Housing team members receive Bright Lights Awards


Three National CORE and Hope through Housing Foundation team members were honored by the Southern California Association of Nonprofit Housing (SCANPH) for outstanding achievement in the area of affordable housing. The recognition was part of SCANPH’s Bright Lights Awards, presented annually at the organization’s spring celebration. Lesley Edwards, Vice President of Project Development, received the Unsung Hero Award. Lynda Roman, a Services Coordinator for Hope through Housing at several low-income senior communities in Fontana and Riverside, received the Resident Services Award. Courtney Richard, a Relocation Specialist, was a finalist for the Property and Asset Management Award. “Lesley, Lynda and Courtney truly embody the mission of National CORE and Hope through Housing in transforming lives and the communities we serve,” said Steve PonTell, President and CEO.

For more on the award winners, click here

What Home Means to Me


At La Misión Village in Oceanside, Calif., four students-Kiersten Kealaiki, Angelina Plummer, Yvette Ramos and Adam Ramos-participated in a National Association of Housing and Redevelopment essay contest to describe what home means to them. Margery Pierce, City of Oceanside Neighborhood Services Director, and Robert Mikulay, Chairman of the Oceanside Housing Commission, presented each student with an award of participation and a $10 gift card to Subway.

Thank you, Dan Nackerman

We at National CORE and Hope through Housing thank Dan Nackerman for his friendship and support, particularly with regard to the redevelopment of Waterman Gardens. We’ll miss you, Dan!

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Save the Date

Upcoming events for National CORE and Hope through Housing. For more information, please contact Christy Schroeder at or call (909) 204-3423.

Waterman Gardens Groundbreaking
Late June 2016


National CORE Day at the Quakes
August 13, 2016


National Community Renaissance presents
“An Evening of Hope”
November 10, 2016

Affordable Housing in the News

The Mentally Ill Need Supportive Affordable Housing
New York Times

Austin looks at ways to create affordable housing
NBC News

Better planning will lead to healthier Inland communities
San Bernardino Sun

News and Notes

Around National CORE

Mother’s Day celebrations across National CORE & Hope through Housing:

Arbor Villas, Yorba Linda, CA

Little Lake Village, Santa Fe Springs, CA

Plaza at Sierra, Fontana, CA

Encanto Court, Hawthorne, CA: Resident potluck and welcome for new community manager Alana Harper.


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