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NCALL rebrands, changes name to NeighborGood Partners

After 46 years, one Kent County-based nonprofit has a new name.

The National Council on Agricultural Life and Labor Research Fund, Inc. or NCALL is now NeighborGood Partners.

The organization's executive director Karen Speakman says the change is meant to offer a more forward-facing, descriptive name of what they do.

“We are good neighbors. We work a lot to strengthen communities, to build them through affordable housing, lending and financial education," said Speakman "And we just thought we needed a new name and a new look (to reflect that), but same mission kind of a thing…you know.”

Randy Kunkle is the board chair for NeighborGood Partners; he says they decided to seek the new brand to better communicate the community and neighborhood-centric mission and values.

“The NeighborGood Partners' brand represents an intentional turn outward and towards the future. The name embodies the organization’s spirit of working closely with customers, funders and community partners to build thriving neighborhoods through affordable housing, community development lending and financial education,” said Kunkle.

Speakman says finding affordable housing for Delawareans in need is a big part of the agency’s focus.

She adds their mission remains unchanged - including their focus on finding that affordable housing for people.

“Many, many people are spending more than 50% of their income on housing costs. And if you can imagine…if you’re spending that much on housing, how do you have enough money for food, clothing that you need for your children and medical expenses; it goes on and on. So it’s a difficult time right now," Speakman said.

She says recent numbers show the median rent in Delaware is $12 - to $1,300 per month - lower than the national median rent of just over $1,800 - but still out of reach for many.

Speakman notes NeighborGood Partners is working with Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity and to date - they’ve built 42 homes in downtown Dover to help address the issue.

Speakman hopes the State will do more to help. She says in recent budgets, Gov. Carney and lawmakers allocated $8 million toward developing rental housing and rental assistance.

But Speakman believes that money and the roughly $235 million from Real Estate Transfer taxes are not enough and additional support is needed for affordable housing development.

Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.