History & Impact
Home HeadQuarters was founded in 1996 to address the declining owner-occupancy rate and overall disinvestment in all City of Syracuse neighborhoods. Home HeadQuarters initially focused on implementing a Home Improvement Lending Program to combat decreasing investment in City homes and neighborhoods. Through this program, homeowners received financing to make critical repairs and improvements to their homes. Home HeadQuarters also focused on helping to create new City homeowners through the provision of homeownership education and down payment and closing cost assistance.
In 1999, Home HeadQuarters became part of the national NeighborWorks® Network, which allowed it to access additional resources to establish itself as NeighborWorks® HomeOwnership Center, or essentially, a one-stop-shop for all homeownership needs from pre- to post-purchase. Services expanded to include pre-purchase education, down payment and closing cost assistance, access to a network of local lenders who would provide affordable financing to our customers, post-purchase counseling and home improvement lending.
The year 1999 marked an additional turning point for Home HeadQuarters with the advent of the Syracuse Neighborhood Initiative (SNI) program created by Congressman James Walsh. Home HeadQuarters’ lending expertise, combined with its track record of successfully implementing comprehensive homeownership programs and services led to the request for Home HeadQuarters to administer the majority of the SNI programs in more than a dozen individual neighborhoods or target areas in the city of Syracuse. SNI is now in its tenth and final round of funding and has brought more than $55 million in investment in the city’s housing stock and neighborhoods through acquisition and redevelopment strategies combined with loan and grant programs tailored to each neighborhood.
Home HeadQuarters’ experience in real estate development through SNI has allowed it to develop the capacity to sell rehabilitated vacant properties to first-time homebuyers, which adds to the comprehensive set of homeownership programs Home HeadQuarters offers. Additionally, Home HeadQuarters has been able to undertake many significant real estate development projects, including the rehabilitation of the historic “Five Sisters” in the Park Avenue neighborhood and the demolition of the Shady Willows complex, which is a site that is now prime for future green housing development centered around a new school and Onondaga Creek.
In addition to our home buying assistance programs and encouraging participation in planning and community development projects, Home HeadQuarters offers residents an array of services to build personal assets and enhance growth opportunities. To supplement the popular, publicly funded home improvement grants it has administered through the SNI program, Home HeadQuarters created the FlexFund for residents who fall just below bank credit requirements or who lack sufficient equity in their homes. Home Headquarters’ FlexFund Home Improvement Program provides up to $15,000 in loans for general home improvement projects. Since 2005, Home HeadQuarters’ FlexFund Program has provided more than 2,000 homeowners with more than $21.6 million in much-needed financing for home improvements despite having little or no equity in their homes.
In the process of transforming Central and Upstate New York neighborhoods, Home HeadQuarters has encouraged economic opportunities for local residents. Contractors living in the Syracuse area did much of the actual renovation and rehabilitation work on many of the properties. Today, Home HeadQuarters continues to employ local contractors placing an emphasis on creating opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses. To further develop opportunities in the local construction field for underserved communities, in 1998, Home HeadQuarters established its non-profit affiliate, Opportunity HeadQuarters. Today, Opportunity HeadQuarters operates a small construction crew that newly constructs Home HeadQuarters’ EPA and NYSERDA Energy Star compliant homes. And they also provide a Construction Apprentice Program, where low- to moderate-income individuals gain on-the-job training of conventional and green construction skills that will prepare them for employment in the local construction field. The Program encourages minority and women participants. All of our housing production activities positively impact the local economy.
Home HeadQuarters is currently one of the largest housing and neighborhood revitalization organizations in Central New York as well as one of the largest regional providers of affordable home improvement and energy improvement loans and grants. Since 1996, Home HeadQuarters has played a major role in neighborhood revitalization efforts within the City of Syracuse and Central New York.
Our accomplishments as of December 31, 2014 include:
- More than 14,500 individuals have received individual and group counseling services including 6,595 individuals who have graduated from Home HeadQuarters’ certified homebuyer education course;
- 2,325 first-time homebuyers received Down Payment & Closing Cost Assistance totaling more than $6.8 million;
- Directly provided 91 homebuyers with first mortgage financing totaling $5.7 million;
- These activities helped facilitate over 3,067 homebuyers in Central New York;
- Provided foreclosure prevention counseling services to 1,611 clients in danger of losing their home to foreclosure;
- Provided more than 8,020 home improvement loans and grants totaling over $75 million in financing;
- 29 individuals graduated from our construction apprentice program providing them with on-the job trade skills;
- Rehabbed 170 formerly vacant homes for owner-occupants in transitional city neighborhoods;
- Constructed 66 new properties for owner-occupants; and
- Removed 411 derelict structures through selective demolition and deconstruction activities.