The home-buying process can be challenging to navigate in the best of times. In recent months, the pandemic has made the process even more difficult. New Economics for Women (NEW) has been helping families in the Los Angeles area reach their goal of homeownership throughout these challenging times.
In addition to homeownership programs, the nonprofit works to build economic mobility, particularly for Latina women and their families, through housing, education, entrepreneurship, and civic engagement.
Boston Private has worked with NEW for many years to finance the construction of affordable homes on formerly vacant and blighted properties, some of which dated back to the recent foreclosure crisis. We recently caught up with Alicia Matricardi, General Counsel and Director of Real Estate Development for NEW.
How are you helping your clients in these challenging times?
NEW has had to dramatically change how we work, but we have continued to serve families with services and housing designed to stabilize our most vulnerable families. Throughout the pandemic, our doors have remained open as an essential services provider. NEW has served thousands of families with these services this year alone, which has been quite a challenge given the social distancing rules and the low access of online services presented by our client population.
How can others in the Boston Private Community help you right now?
Donations aimed towards some of our safety-net programs would be an effective way to support our work. We have had donors set up private funds to pay for families who need to pay rent, or for weeklong stays at motels to ensure that families do not have to become homeless or live in their cars. The flexibility of these donations is irreplaceable for us. These donations have also covered the cost of our PPE and other equipment, site safety improvements, plus overtime and meals for staff that we had otherwise not budgeted for this past year. Anyone interested in donating can do so on our site, neweconomicsforwomen.org
What's one lesson you've learned throughout this crisis?
We have learned that the ability to pivot — to remain responsive is one of the most important skills we can have. How quickly can we get staff back into the field? How can we interact when we can’t “interact” in the way we used to? Our willingness to change is a key factor in our survivability. Just look at what our client families go through each day of this pandemic. We must rise to the occasion because our families must also do so, and they have no choice in the matter. To remain responsive to them, we must pivot, and keep doing so in order to get through this together.