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  • CD WiRe (April 14-20)

    Posted on April 20th, 2011 lauren No comments

    1.  New Study Finds Solar Panels Are “Contagious”
    Are you more likely to install solar panels if your neighbor has them? A new study (PDF) out of Stanford says that you are. More specifically, it finds that for every 1 percent increase in the number of installations in a particular zip code, the time until the next adoption of solar decreases by 1 percent. Or, as Vote Solar’s Adam Browning put it: Solar is contagious! So just how quickly can solar power spread as this snowball effect gets rolling?
    Click here to read more…

    2.  The Human Footprint:  Measuring our impact on Earth
    Humanity’s impact has spread unevenly but everywhere as we have transformed land and sea to meet the demands of a population that has doubled to 7 billion in 40 years.  This map of the human footprint on land shows the combined impact of population density, land transformation, accessibility, and electric-power infrastructure, using nine data sets that researchers scored in terms of estimated contribution to human influence. The corresponding map of the oceans shows the effects of 17 different human activities, such as commercial fishing and pollution from cargo shipping.
    Click here to read more…

    3.  Panasonic will move North American headquarters from Secaucus to Newark
    Global electronics giant Panasonic will be moving to Newark, Mayor Cory Booker said today, marking one of the biggest development coups of his administration.  “It’s historic. We’ve been seeing so much progress in the last four years,” Booker said this morning. “This is heralding to the globe that Newark is one of the most significant players on the Eastern seaboard.”
    Click here to read more…

    4.  Allies Inc. set to purchase Mercer Mobile Homes park
    The nonprofit Allies Inc., which provides housing, employment and recreational opportunities for persons with special needs, has signed a contract to purchase the 140-unit Mercer Mobile Homes park in the township, Mayor Dave Fried announced yesterday.  The transaction in Robbinsville is expected to close within 90 days and will pave the way for the units to be included in the township’s affordable housing inventory.  The move will also ensure long-term rent stability for park residents, including many seniors, and allow Allies to bring much-needed infrastructure improvements to the community, according to the township.
    Click here to read more…

    5.  N.J. solar energy boom’s frantic pace could slow
    The state is unquestionably a leader in solar energy — two more projects are planned that would beat the record set in Edison — but the industry’s period of exponential growth is bound to slow, industry insiders say.  New Jersey has seen a swift solar expansion in large part because of state rules that force power companies to either produce solar power or buy it on a market where companies like Avidan sell “SRECs,” credits representing energy.
    Click here to read more…

    6.  Cleaner, Healthier Air in Times Square after Creation of Pedestrian Plaza
    Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley, Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and the Mayor’s Sustainability Director David Bragdon today released the results of the most recent Health Department air quality study which shows the impact of traffic on neighborhood air pollution across New York City.  The report documents an immediate and substantial air quality improvement in Times Square after the creation of a pedestrian plaza.
    Click here to read more…

    7.  Disadvantaged Children Win as D.C. Voucher Program Reauthorized
    After an aggressive, multi-year battle to save school choice in the nation’s capital, children in low-income D.C. families won a landmark victory as national lawmakers officially reauthorized and expanded the highly successful D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program.  The passage of a historic budget deal restores and extends the school voucher program and provides – over five years – $300 million for education in the District of Columbia. The agreement preserves the federal three-sector approach to education reform in the nation’s capital that has seen significant improvements in student attainment.  The revival of the program—which grants low-income children scholarships to attend the private schools of their parents’ choice—was a key legislative priority of Speaker John Boehner and comes two years after Congress and the Obama Administration revoked 216 scholarships and prevented new students from joining the program.
    Click here to read more…

    8.  Newark school woes transcend money
    Six months after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg appeared on Oprah to give $100 million to improve Newark’s strapped and struggling schools, $99 million is still sitting in the bank.  Newark Mayor Cory Booker quickly raised $43 million in matching donations. But what’s followed has been less rosy:
    Click here to read more…

    9.  A better charter school debate: We need to figure out how to expand the best models
    Charter schools are a hot topic in many states this spring. But as New York City knows well, the debate quickly falls into a predictable rut, with partisans wrangling over the virtues and vices of charters themselves.  Here’s a much more promising focus: How can we dramatically expand students’ access to the nation’s best charter schools? While many charters do no better than district-run public schools, a subset of charters – perhaps 10% – produces extremely high levels of learning and college-going by disadvantaged children who enter school years behind.  Many of these charter schools, including Harlem Village Academies, KIPP, Success Academies and Williamsburg Collegiate (part of Uncommon Schools), among others, operate in the five boroughs.
    Click here to read more…

    10.  ‘Priority’ waiting list to provide housing for thousands with developmental disabilities
    In 2005, amid much pride and anticipation, the state created the Special Needs Housing Trust Fund, signed into law by Sen. Richard Codey when he was acting governor. It was expected to provide 10,000 new affordable housing opportunities for people with developmental disabilities and mental illness by dedicating $200 million to create new homes.  But six years later, $168 million has been spent to provide housing to 1,500 people with special needs, according to state officials. That’s 84 percent of the money to achieve 15 percent of the goal. The state Department of Community Affairs expects only another 500 units to be created with the remaining money.
    Click here to read more…

  • Who says there is no sense of humor in real estate?

    Posted on September 15th, 2010 Build with Purpose No comments

    Who says there is no sense of humor in real estate?

    Originally uploaded by READS USA

    At READS, we’re always out in the field with a chance to see what’s going on in our communities. Here we see the “local humor” on the way to working with residents at the Sand Hill Manufactured Home Community in Georgetown, DE. We are helping residents to buy their community and preserve this affordable housing stock.

  • Wonderful Workshops

    Posted on September 9th, 2010 Build with Purpose No comments

    READS recently hosted a series of workshops in New Jersey and Delaware focusing on creative facility options for nonprofits. Many of you helped us to spread the word, and with over 110 organizations attending one of these workshops, your help was clearly invaluable. Thank you so much for the help.

    During these sessions we covered topics such as the benefits of owning versus renting, renegotiating leases, sharing space with other nonprofits and qualifying for financing and subsidies to buy a building or expand existing facilities. These workshops drew large audiences who welcomed the chance to network with fellow professionals and learn about the many resources available to them.

    Along with partners like New Jersey Community Capital and NCALL, we are looking forward to continue this successful endeavor with additional workshops in the future. While we will keep you posted of developments on an ongoing basis, we wanted to ask your help in the following ways:

    • Spreading the Workshop Word: We would be happy to bring this workshop to other gatherings of nonprofits. Please let us know when such opportunities may arise.
    • Helping Us Find Nonprofit Real Estate Examples: During the workshops, we heard time and again how nonprofits want to hear examples of other creative facility projects and how these real estate projects came to fruition. Let us know about some of the success stories that you think would resonate for other organizations.
    • Connecting Us to Other Groups: READS along with New Jersey Community Capital and NCALL are resources for groups considering a facility or real estate project. Please help us to get the word out about the support and services that our organizations provide.

    Here’s a sampling of comments we received…

    These workshops are a chance to “network with similar organizations with like needs plus the possibility to develop relationships with diverse companies.”
    “The networking and workgroups were helpful and useful in discussing common needs and issues among the various nonprofits present.”

    The best part was “learning there is an entity out there like READS that has so much knowledge in the real estate acquisition process.”

    “I would like to see more focused segments on negotiating and renegotiating leases, how to decide between leasing v. owning and due diligence for space sharing.”
    “Well done and much needed for nonprofits.”

    The best part was “seeing the interest in community-based facilities that is so strong.”
    “It is almost too much to absorb in three hours. More time would be beneficial.”
    “Would have appreciated more depth. This was a good overview, but for practitioners with experience, we need more detail.”

    “The presentation has opened our eyes as to the viability and importance of searching out working and cooperative relationships. We look forward to using this information and services to strengthen our company standing in the community. Thank you!”

    “Would love to see a website with database and discussion board to bring nonprofits together and further our discussion.”

  • Proposal to Allow On-Site Completion of Factory-Built Homes

    Posted on June 25th, 2010 Build with Purpose No comments

    The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced that it is proposing new regulations that would permit builders of manufactured housing (mobile homes) to complete construction at the home’s installation site, rather than in the factory. This will allow for the ability for needed changes to occur quicker during the on-site installation, rather then the strict rules that are in place currently.

    Read More at LoanSafe.org