Since the establishment of the Neighborhood Preservation Program (NPP) in 1977 and the Rural Preservation Program (RPP) in 1980, Neighborhood and Rural Preservation Companies have been transforming communities throughout New York State. The Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR), which is authorized to administer both of these programs by Articles XVI and XVII of the Private Housing Finance Law, provides administrative funding to both Neighborhood Preservation Companies (NPCs) and Rural Preservation Companies (RPCs) through one year renewable contracts for the performance of housing and community preservation activities.
From Buffalo to the North Country and down to Long Island, NPCs and RPCs are on the frontlines of the battle to increase affordable housing opportunities for low and middle-income families and persons with special needs. Whether its assisting first-time homebuyers obtain low-interest mortgages, organizing tenant associations, or rehabilitating apartments in an old building, these community organizations are making a direct impact on the quality of life of New Yorkers in the inner cities, small towns and the more remote rural communities of our State. What has caused them to be so effective has been their ability to form partnerships with entities of federal, state and local governments, lending institutions and the private for-profit sector. Using grants and loans from various governmental programs to leverage private investment in thousands of projects of varying sizes, NPCs and RPCs are building new housing units, preserving old ones, and in so doing, creating an economic environment conducive to growth and the expansion of opportunity.
The impact of this extensive not-for-profit network and the partnerships they have forged throughout New York State is difficult to measure since the groups that comprise it are as diverse as the communities they serve. Their activities run the gamut from housing development to social services and economic development. Because a majority of their boards of directors are community residents, NPCs/RPCs are accurate barometers of community need. Some NPCs have identified a need to address the high crime rates in their communities and have collaborated with local police and other civic groups to form community and neighborhood watch programs. Others have concluded that high unemployment rates in their communities effect the affordability of housing and have joined with private enterprise to develop job training programs. RPCs have developed other strategies to deal with their communities' unique needs. Recognizing the lack of housing for low-income rural elderly and families, many have created public/private partnerships to produce housing units with federal funding and rent subsidies from DHCR's Rural Rental Assistance Program. To complement such housing, some RPCs have built medical care facilities in close proximity or adjacent to the housing complex as well as other ancillary services to the residents, such as transportation or recreational programs.
RPCs and NPCs are improving the quality of life for many New Yorkers. Get to know your local Preservation Company and support their work. With you as a partner, they will continue to enrich the social fabric of the Empire State for years to come.