NeighborWorks Home Solutions is a federally funded organization, but its mission serves the Council Bluffs community locally in almost every aspect.
In 2015, NeighborWorks purchased the former Walnut Grove Elementary School shut down at the of the 2013-14 school year for $104,000, less than the building’s appraised value at $340,000.
A collaboration among the city of Council Bluffs, Iowa Western Community College, Iowa West Foundation, American National Bank, NP Dodge and other suppliers have contributed to six of the 14 homes completed in the subdivision since 2015.
On May 8, NeighborWorks celebrated this victory with an open house at one of the Walnut Grove subdivision completed houses.
In April, NeighborWorks hired David Hazlewood, former department chair of the Iowa Western Community College Construction Technology Program. He now serves as chief operating officer and still advocates for construction technology post secondary and high school education programs.
His duties are to assist the chief executive officer, Leslie Coleman, in operating NeighborWorks. Currently, they are in the process of “reworking the brand and strategic planning” of the organization. Hazelwood’s primary focus will be to oversee the housing programs and services and maximize production volume.
“We are creating a stronger and more healthy strategic plan that allows us to better service the Council Bluffs community,” Hazlewood said. “That is going to anticipate redeveloping partnerships through lenders or foundations in the community. We are bringing on additional staff to support this mission, and it’s going to drive us further into the 21st century so that we can have a larger impact in our community.”
Hazlewood is welcomed by Coleman, who has held her position for one year, and Jacqueline Minikus, executive administrative assistant and office manager, who has been with NeighborWorks for five years.
In May, Hazlewood announced the partnership between NeighborWorks Home Solutions and the Iowa Western Community College Construction Technology program will not continue.
“It was a unique partnership. We were able to streamline the process to where it was successful. We created so many great partnerships in the community that would have given us anything,” he said. “The amount of grant funds and impact we’ve made in the community, the stories of the past graduates who have taken ownership of their projects … NeighborWorks is open to more intense partnerships. We think it’s vital to support education and a workforce.”
In addition to Coleman and Hazlewood’s positions, the organization will be hiring a housing development director in June of this year.