Developing partnerships with community organizations has been a key ingredient in growing our program. And finding good family partners can be challenging at times. When we first began our program, it was important to gain credibility in certain neighborhoods. Some homeowners are wary of "deals to good to be true." Many families have been taken advantage of by contractors and mortgage/finance companies saying "they want to help." Therefore it was important for us to partner with organizations that were already established in their neighborhoods providing proven services.
The following organizations have provided a good source for finding homeowners who need home maintenance assistance:
Community Action, Home Delivered Meals, local churches (we use bulletin inserts), Municipal Housing/Inspection Departments, Area Agency on Aging, community development corporations, elementary school and county social workers, 211-United Way Calling Centers, senior centers, hospitals and neighborhood clinics, neighborhood newspapers and newsletters as well as other local media outlets. I have highlighted those that we have had the most success with. However, we have had good results reaching out to all the above organizations.
We also drive through targeted neighborhoods to identify possible good exterior projects. We take our list of properties and check online with the county to weed out non-homeowner properties. We then go door to door, talking to homeowners about our services and leaving door hangers for those not home.
These are the main avenues we receive homeowner applicants. However, after years in a neighborhood we receive significant applicants from neighbors of those we have served.