This year marks 10 years since the Center launched. When our organization was founded, New York was a different place. As the city reeled from the impacts of the foreclosure crisis, city leaders in government, the nonprofit sector, finance, and philanthropy came together to found the Center. At its launch, it was the largest independent non-profit organization dedicated to preventing foreclosure in the country.
Last week, we gathered key stakeholders, partners, and funders at Gary’s Loft in Midtown Manhattan to celebrate our 10th anniversary and the work we’ve done together. Since our founding, we have grown to support housing counseling and legal services throughout the state, help New Yorkers recover from Hurricane Sandy, and weather the financial shocks of the city’s affordability crisis.
During the celebration, we presented our inaugural Founders Award to Shaun Donovan, who helped to found the Center during his tenure as New York City Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner, before serving in the Obama administration. Shaun’s vision of bringing together government and private support was crucial to helping the Center find its footing in its early years.
“We could invent the best programs in the world, but unless we had organizations like the Center for NYC Neighborhoods knocking on doors, sitting at kitchen tables saying, ‘We can make a difference. We’re gonna figure out how to keep your home.’ Nothing would’ve made a difference,” he told the audience.
We also honored our board chair, Herb Sturz, for his years of advocacy, counsel, and commitment to the Center, without which our sustained growth would never have been possible. As co-founder of the Center and a leading social innovator, Herb has helped found some of the most high-impact non-profit organizations in the country dedicated to criminal justice reform, homelessness prevention, education, and human dignity.
We are incredibly thankful to the sponsors — particularly JPMorgan & Chase Co., Citi Community Development, Ocwen Financial Corporation, and BTQ Financial —who supported our event and helped us raise funds that will go towards helping homeowners.
Over the past decade, we have saved 13,000 homes, and restored financial security to communities across the state. However, we know there is much work to be done. Prices are rising, incomes are stagnant, speculation is on the rise, and working families are being priced out of New York City.
“This exacerbates the racial wealth gap, and threatens to make New York City affordable only to the extremely wealthy,” said Christie Peale, the Center’s CEO/Executive Director, at Thursday’s event.
As we enter our second decade, we are confident that the Center and its partners have the will and the skill to tackle these issues head-on. That means growing to meet new affordability challenges through building out our capacity as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and working to establish the Interboro Community Land Trust. It also means calling on our supporters and partners to help us to get homeowner services funded in the State budget — before a major source of financial support runs out, leaving homeowners across the state with few resources to turn to for help.
Follow along with our work on our website and social media. We think the best might just be yet to come.