CHWC (Community Housing of Wyandotte County) is dedicated to revitalizing the urban neighborhoods of Wyandotte County through homeownership and community engagement. Though we serve all of Wyandotte County, our current focus is on seven core neighborhoods east of I-635 and west of the state line. The residents of our core neighborhoods are highly diverse, experience high levels of poverty, low levels of education, and high levels of social disengagement.
CHWC uses a three pronged approach to revitalizing our neighborhoods. These three approaches are all related to helping families build financial stability and wealth through home ownership. We build new homes and renovate historic homes, providing affordable housing to low-income residents. We provide financial coaching and education, as well as small loans, down-payment grants and closing cost assistance to help families achieve long-term, sustainable home ownership. Finally, we engage residents to build community assets such as art studios, parks and community gardens. Engaging residents in building shared community assets creates connected, invested homeowners, who will stay in their homes for many years. Studies show that adults with stable housing are more likely to get and keep a job. Children with stable housing learn better in school and are healthier even into adulthood.
Our approach has been proven to be effective. In 2013, our St. Peter/Waterway neighborhood received the "Sustainable Communities" Award from Greater Kansas City LISC. In this neighborhood, CHWC worked with residents to create a quality of life plan. With the guidance of this plan, over 10 years, CHWC built 75 new homes, renovated a major park, and installed a community garden. The neighborhood is now sustaining private redevelopment, home values have increased, and crime has decreased. While we are still working in the neighborhood, we are moving east into the adjacent Bethany neighborhood to continue our work.
Our work impacts approximately 60,000 living and working in urban Wyandotte County/Kansas City, KS. In addition to the direct benefit of the people who achieve homeownership through CHWC, all residents of the area benefit from higher home values, decreased crime, and new community assets.
What new functionality we are looking for
CHWC has always had only a basic website. A new website would communicate information to two audiences: clients and partners/donors.
For our clients, we want to have a schedule or calendar of classes that clients can instantly sign up and pay for. We would like for them to easily be able to identify which services they need or desire and possibly even book a financial coaching appointment through the site. We would also like to be able to have a gallery of homes available for rent or for sale, and floor plans for custom built homes. Many of our clients are only Spanish speaking, so we need to integrate technology that will translate all pages of our website so that those clients can access services too. Currently, our website only exists in English. We also serve a large and growing Burmese and Bhutanese population, and additional languages will be helpful but not the first priority.
CHWC also owns a small portfolio of rental homes. We receive rent payments and requests for maintenance for those homes on an ongoing basis. A portal that would allow people to pay rent or submit maintenance requests is something we have considered but not yet implemented. This functionality is desired but not required.
We would like for our partners, donors and sponsors to be able to easily understand our mission, read stories about families we have helped, see images of current, past and upcoming projects of all kinds. We would also like to be able to recognize our sponsors and funders in unique ways. This will help us leverage increased financial support and donor engagement.
We would also like to connect all of our online platforms to our website and be able to manage much of this in one place. Mobile optimization is critical as well, as most of our clients are accessing our website through smart phones, not desktops. We have a strong Facebook presence, are developing Twitter, YouTube and Instagram as well. It would also be helpful to have a plan for how to utilize this new functionality as part of a high-level communications plan.
How the new functionality will help
By adding this new functionality and additional languages to our website, we will enable our clients to obtain services more quickly and easily. It will make us more efficient and reduce the time it takes to respond to a client. It will also help us reach new audiences.
Adding easy ways for our partners and donors to find organizational information and to connect with the users of our services will increase our ability to obtain the resources needed to support our work. Communicating the need in our community and how we are fulfilling that need will demonstrate why CHWC is important to our community.
CHWC is incredibly grateful to be considered for this opportunity!
How our organization will use the technology
Who will use the technology
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