Fostering self-reliant families and healthy, sustainable communities.
October 2019

Dear Friend,

Housing and homeownership is a big, important topic for any community. Access to safe, quality housing along with homeownership can help stabilize neighborhoods and often generate long-term financial assets for families.

Where you live also matters. A person’s ZIP code is now a stronger predictor of overall health than other factors, including race and genetics. And it’s not just life expectancy – access to care, access to health information, and quality of life are all affected by where one lives. The life expectancy for a child born in New Orleans can vary as much as 25 years between neighborhoods just a few miles apart. And the same is true in Mercer County – there’s a 14 year gap between the life expectancy of those living in Trenton versus Princeton.

That’s why we take our work around homeownership and healthy housing so seriously. In a city like Trenton, housing presents multiple concerns, including housing quality, lead paint, neighborhood safety and the financial return on a home purchase. Fortunately, because of the array of services Isles has to offer – homeownership, financial capability, environmental health, community gardening, youth education -- we are able to help residents navigate these issues by making connections across our services to ensure they are aware of all the resources available to them. Read the story below to see how our silo-bridging approach plays out on a daily basis.

Peter Rose
Managing Director, Community Enterprises
Jesse Allen: First-Time Homebuyer
Purchasing a first home is a difficult and often confusing undertaking. So, when Jesse was ready to buy his family’s first home, he knew he needed assistance to understand all aspects of the mortgage and purchase process. Jesse met with Elena Hung-Shum, Isles’ HUD housing counselor, to receive coaching on the home purchase process and to enroll in our First-Time Homebuyer course. The training includes information on the home purchase process, from finding a realtor, to the importance of a home inspection, to understanding a mortgage loan. Jesse also got post-purchase information on home upkeep, ownership tips, and foreclosure prevention. By completing this training and getting his certification, Jesse was able to get a First-Time Homebuyer Grant from the City of Trenton. The grant provides closing cost assistance and a matching down payment to qualified first-time homebuyers who purchase in the City.

Elena also tells all homeownership customers about Isles’ free lead and healthy homes assessment service. Since two of Jesse's children are ages 2 and 5, ages at high risk for poisoning, he took advantage of the assessment prior to moving in. It was good that he did, as the assessment showed the home had lead paint in most of the windows and other surfaces that can cause lead dust and eventually lead poisoning. Thanks to a team effort and 16 new windows later, Jesse's family is now living in their own lead safe home. 
Lead Policy & the Law
Register now for the upcoming Lead Policy & the Law event on Wednesday, November 6 from
9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at  Seton Hall University School of Law. Isles and other participants will meet to discuss New Jersey's current lead policy and steps for improving practices across the state.
IYI Spoken Word
Join IYI and members of the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen on October 29 for an evening of music, art and spoken word at The Passage Theater! Watch as our IYI students take the stage and showcase their talents to the community. Reception starts at 6 p.m. with showtime at 7 p.m. See the event website page for more information.