Rocket Community Fund Launches Neighbor to Neighbor in Atlanta Alongside Partnership for Southern Equity and Atlanta BeltLine Partnership to Ensure Stable Housing
· Door-to-door campaign conducted by Atlanta-based nonprofit and CDC partners to visit 20,000 households, connect homeowners and renters to critical resources
· New $750,000 investment by the Rocket Community Fund is organization’s third major philanthropic investment in Atlanta within the last three months
ATLANTA, February 15, 2023 – The Rocket Community Fund, Partnership for Southern Equity and Atlanta BeltLine Partnership today announced the launch of “Neighbor to Neighbor,” the Rocket Community Fund’s flagship philanthropic program, which will connect Atlanta residents to neighborhood and city-wide resources aimed to prevent displacement and increase livability.
These services, administered by various Atlanta nonprofits, include property tax assistance, down payment and/or closing cost assistance, legal representation to prevent displacement and home repairs for homeowners. Renter resources include Housing Choice vouchers, supportive housing arrangements, free civil legal services, economic mobility programming, utility assistance and rental assistance.
“Access to stable, healthy housing is the foundation for success in every element of our lives,” said Laura Grannemann, Executive Director of the Rocket Community Fund. “The Neighbor to Neighbor model builds awareness of critical housing resources by meeting people where they are and fostering conversations with trusted community partners. We are proud to work with Atlanta BeltLine Partnership and the Partnership for Southern Equity to invest in Atlantans and their futures together.”
Neighbor to Neighbor will utilize canvassers hired by the Partnership for Southern Equity, Atlanta BeltLine Partnership, and various Atlanta Community Development Corporations (CDCs). Canvassers are expected to reach 20,000 households across 20 Atlanta neighborhoods over the next four months. Canvassing will prioritize CDC partners’ neighborhoods as well as Equity Priority Communities around the Atlanta BeltLine, where residents are at greater risk of property tax foreclosure and other types of displacement.
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, who is committed to moving Atlanta forward in part through empowering neighborhoods and investing in housing, welcomed today’s announcement at an event held at the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs.
“Our vision of ‘one city with one bright future’ can only be achieved through collaborative partnerships that prioritize our most critical needs, like stable and secure housing,” said Mayor Dickens. “Neighbor to Neighbor will invest in communities across Atlanta, and I am grateful to the Rocket Community Fund, Atlanta BeltLine Partnership and Partnership for Southern Equity for their commitment to fostering the equity and economic inclusion of Atlantans.”
How Neighbor to Neighbor Works
At its core, Neighbor to Neighbor is a door-to-door canvassing effort that helps deepen connections between community-based organizations and their neighbors – the residents they serve. Additional CDC partners for Neighbor to Neighbor Atlanta include Summech Community Development Corporation, Historic District Development Corporation and Grove Park Foundation. Canvassers will educate homeowners and renters on existing programs they may be eligible for, as well as ask questions to understand the gaps that exist due to a lack of resources or programming that doesn’t adequately address their needs.
Based on these conversations, the Rocket Community Fund, Atlanta BeltLine Partnership and Partnership for Southern Equity will co-develop lasting, sustainable programs alongside residents and Neighbor to Neighbor partners that provide long-term solutions to intractable issues.
Neighbor to Neighbor will enable Partnership for Southern Equity to further advance its economic inclusion agenda that promotes and increases equity in the distribution of income, wealth building, employment and entrepreneurship among vulnerable populations.
“A home represents the single-greatest investment most people make in their lifetimes, as well as the single-largest asset they can use to grow economic mobility and achieve intergenerational wealth,” said Nathaniel Smith, Founder and Chief Equity Officer for Partnership for Southern Equity. “Through Neighbor to Neighbor, we can ensure homeowners and renters have access to the resources they need, placing them firmly on the path to prosperity and reaching their full potential.”
Through Neighbor to Neighbor, the Rocket Community Fund will invest $750,000 directly into the Partnership for Southern Equity and Atlanta BeltLine Partnership for the program’s administration.
Today’s announcement further deepens the ongoing collaboration between the Rocket Community Fund and Atlanta BeltLine Partnership, the organization that supports the BeltLine vision to make Atlanta a global beacon for equitable, inclusive, and sustainable city life.
“We are committed to helping our Beltline neighbors live, work, and thrive in their communities through programs that foster economic mobility and preserve generational wealth,” said Atlanta BeltLine Partnership Executive Director Rob Brawner. “Neighbor to Neighbor amplifies our efforts by bridging the gap between existing services and the Atlantans who need them.”
Rocket Community Fund’s Commitment to Atlanta
In December 2022, the Rocket Community Fund invested $500,000, as part of a larger $750,000 philanthropic commitment, into the Legacy Resident Retention Program (LRRP). The LRRP is a resource to help longtime homeowners living in the Atlanta BeltLine equity priority subareas in westside and southside neighborhoods stay in their homes by covering the costs of increases in property taxes through the 2030 tax year. The remaining $250,000 was allocated towards helping the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership realize its vision for racial equity and its campaign to create and preserve 2,000 units of affordable housing by 2025.
Later that month, the Rocket Community Fund launched the Rocket Wealth Accelerator in four pilot cities, including Atlanta. The Rocket Wealth Accelerator provides clients with coaches who will work with them to improve their ability to meet emergency needs, build credit and grow generational wealth. In addition to coaching, the program also provides matching dollars for participants’ savings plans, with up to $500 for people with large-dollar goals such as purchasing a home or vehicle, and up to $300 for those with short-term or emergency savings goals.
Overall, the Rocket Community Fund, the philanthropic partner of Rocket Companies (NYSE: RKT), has invested nearly $2 million into Atlanta-based initiatives – all over the past three months. Additionally, Rocket Mortgage, which is a part of Rocket Companies, introduced Purchase Plus, a special purpose credit program intended to increase accessibility to homeownership in underserved communities. The new initiative, also launched in December, offers up to $7,500 in credits for first-time homebuyers to use toward their mortgage costs.
Please visit RocketCommunityFund.org/N2N-Atlanta for additional information.
About the Rocket Community Fund
The Rocket Community Fund aims to simplify complex and inequitable systems to ensure that every American has access to stable, healthy housing. It also invests in people and practices that provide meaningful opportunities for education and employment. Through its For-More-Than-Profit model, the Rocket Community Fund recognizes that business and community are inextricably linked, and it purposefully harnesses team member talent, technology, policy advocacy and philanthropic resources to invest in comprehensive community development in Detroit and across the country. Alongside financial investments, the Rocket Community Fund has organized Rocket Companies, Bedrock and other affiliated team members to provide more than 865,000 volunteer hours nationwide, including 430,000 in Detroit. For more information, visit RocketCommunityFund.org.
About the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership
The Atlanta BeltLine Partnership is a nonprofit organization that helps keep the Atlanta BeltLine vision on track by enabling the construction of more parks and trails; engaging the public through tours, health and fitness programs, and special events; and empowering Atlanta BeltLine residents to connect with affordable housing, sustainable economic development, urban revitalization, and a healthy lifestyle.
About The Partnership for Southern Equity
Based in Atlanta, PSE is a nonprofit organization that advances policies and institutional actions that promote racial equity and shared prosperity for all in the growth of metropolitan Atlanta and the American South. Through forums, research, and organizing efforts, PSE brings together the regional community to lift up and encourage just, sustainable, and civic practices for balanced growth and opportunity. For more information, visit www.psequity.org.