Project Neighbors Blog & News

Why We Love Solar

Why We Love Solar

You may have noticed that we’re trying to incorporate solar into our new building projects. We’re also going to be putting solar on Neighbors Place, which is great not only because it will offset our energy costs and make for a cleaner NWI environment, but it reminds everyone who walks, rolls, or drives by that this future of renewable energy can happen now. We asked our friend and volunteer, Gilles Charriere, to share more about the benefits and challenges of solar in Indiana. Thanks, Gilles, for all your advocacy, education, support, and solar installation skills!

read more
Housing for All

Housing for All

The house on Indiana Ave. was over 100 years old and needed much work. We made an agreement with the owner to demolish it and build a duplex at the site. The owner would occupy one unit and the additional unit would be below-market rental for the community.

read more
Moving and Shaking Since 1969

Moving and Shaking Since 1969

We have been busy! And we like busy. It means we’re doing what we set out to do – build community. Since our 2021 newsletter, we’ve accomplished a lot with your volunteer and financial support.

read more
Different Worlds:  Porter County and Valparaiso Distribute ARPA Funds

Different Worlds: Porter County and Valparaiso Distribute ARPA Funds

Anyone who watched the spectacles surrounding the determination of how to spend the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money in both Porter County and the City of Valparaiso was treated to an education on the different workings of two governments tackling the same problem. Without making a judgment as to the exact degree of exclusiveness or inclusiveness of the processes used by the aforementioned governments, one could at least array the two government’s approaches on a scale from most inclusive to least inclusive. Certainly both systems started out at the same place, but because of a variety of circumstances, the County made some abrupt adjustments and moved to a much more systematic, transparent, and inclusive process. While the City of Valparaiso was encouraged to adopt a more inclusive approach, they did not move that far up the inclusiveness scale relative to the County.

read more
How to Get and Keep Volunteers

How to Get and Keep Volunteers

Frankly, this is the easiest and most rewarding part of the job. Because we are an affluent culture with roots in Christian notions of responsibility, many people have the discretionary time and motivation to volunteer. But in the beginning, one must target the...

read more
How Project Neighbors Does It

How Project Neighbors Does It

Project Neighbors builds “affordable housing,” a term I dislike because its definition changes with the person using the term. I use it to mean housing made available for rent or purchase at about 60% of existing market rates. It still may not be affordable to some families, but then other efforts are put into play. This blog is about HOW we produce the housing.

read more
Where Have All the Students Gone?

Where Have All the Students Gone?

The world has become increasingly more and more complex – even on matters as mundane as student transfers — while at the same time we are presented information and encouraged to think about these matters in terms of simplistic soundbites. This is of course a recipe for mass confusion and misunderstanding.

read more
From Malignant to Normal

From Malignant to Normal

At a recent Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) meeting, a board member commented on the consequences of having “affordable” apartment units in the community. According to him, persons who live in this type of housing would be “transients” and unlikely to adequately care for the property which would have a negative impact on property values. In addition, people living in that type of housing would most likely have more than the expected number of persons living there and would also have more cars than allowed. We know this, the board member continued, because in our neighborhood this is exactly what happens.

read more
Needed – A Cultural Revolution

Needed – A Cultural Revolution

The cultural revolution necessary to get people to think differently about housing must tap issues that exist at a very deep level of the American psyche and are tied into a person’s identity and status.

read more
Concrete

Concrete

Panic! If you want excitement, drama, high emotion, adventure in your life, pour concrete.

read more
The Plight of Renters in Valparaiso

The Plight of Renters in Valparaiso

According to the most recent census,  renters have much lower household incomes  ($35,4234) than the general population ($56,027) and particularly the homeowner cohort ($84,639).  With less income, housing options become fewer and affordability becomes an increasing problem.

read more
The Right Tools for the Job

The Right Tools for the Job

Over the years Project Neighbors has accumulate a lot of tools. However, we were about to begin a large roofing job, almost 40 square -4000 square feet – of shingling. We could do it the old-fashioned way, with hammer and nails, but an air powered roofing gun would certainly speed things up and be easier on the fingers.

read more
A Victory

A Victory

Contemporary American cities and towns have laws governing development: what you can build and how you can build it. In Valpo that set of laws is called the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO). The UDO is a long, complex document informing the builder on a diverse array of specifications: how far the building must be from the front sidewalk, how many bushes must be planted, how many off-street parking spaces must be provided, how many people can live on a certain sized and certain zoned property, the design of the trash dumpster enclosure, and on and on.

read more
How to Create Affordable Housing

How to Create Affordable Housing

All housing, regardless of cost, is affordable to someone. The CEO making $1.5 million a year has many choices. We’ll not worry about the CEO. Likewise, the two-income, families with a combined $100,000 to $150,000 income per year will find something they can afford. But let’s focus on those families earning the median household income in Indiana. Most recent data says that figure is about $56,500. And that means half the families in Indiana earned that amount or less.

read more
“Hey Paul, my door is making noise.” 

“Hey Paul, my door is making noise.” 

Some organizations, whether businesses or not-for-profits, would have written up a work order, sent it over to the hired handyman, and hoped for the best. Certainly the Executive Director would not be required to respond.
But Project Neighbors is not that kind of organization. First off, we don’t have a handyman on payroll, but more importantly, the central theme of our mission and activity is being in relationship with our…I want to say tenants, but that I not accurate. They are our neighbors, our partners in community.

read more
Beating a Seemingly Dead Horse

Beating a Seemingly Dead Horse

The seemingly dead horse is housing size. In contemporary America, there is broad consensus that a house should be a certain size…say 2000 – 2500 square feet. In fact, according to the U.S. Census, in 2020 the median size of a newly built house was 2,333 square feet and the median selling price was $336,900 (the average price was $391,900).

So, is this reality “settled law?” Is the idea of smaller housing a “dead horse?”

read more
The Plight of Affordability

The Plight of Affordability

Five years ago, Project Neighbors could purchase a small, old house in poor condition for $80,000, or an empty buildable lot for $30,000.  Today that same house will cost $150,000 or more and that same lot could cost $100,000.

read more

Dare to Furnish the Light

Fifty-three years ago this month, Valparaiso University was holding its popular WEEK OF CHALLENGE. The inspiring speaker on that particular morning was a well known Black clergyman/activist from the West coast. I was briefly among the standing room only audience,...

read more
I’m About to Run Out of Firewood

I’m About to Run Out of Firewood

I am about to run out of firewood, and it is only mid-January. Not good. So, you might be asking, what does that have to do with anything? Thanks for asking. Back in ’74, when Jane and I had one child, another on the way, I decided to build a house. I borrowed some...

read more

About Project Neighbors

Project Neighbors is a project of Neighbors Corp., an Indiana not-for-profit corporation, which is recognized as a tax exempt public charity pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations to public charities are tax deductible to the extent provided for in law.

Newsletter

Donate Today!

Donate Today!

$
Select Payment Method
Personal Info

Donation Total: $100 One Time