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Avenues for Hope housing challenge kicks off

The Avenues for Hope housing challenge kicked off around the state this week.

NeighborWorks Pocatello is one of about 48 non-profit housing groups taking part in the challenge.

Businesses and individuals donate to the challenge and those donations are matched by grants from the Home Partnership Foundation.

The HPF matches a minimum of 25 percent for every dollar donated. So Mark Dahlquist, executive director of NeighborWorks Pocatello, said they can safely say for every dollar donated, that turns into at least $1.25, maybe even more.

For the top non-profit groups who bring in the most donations, there are larger cash prizes available too. The group who raises the most private donations gets an additional $10,000.

Idaho Central Credit Union has already pledged $5,000 to NeighborWorks, helping them get the Benefactor Bonus. That means for a $5,000 donation, HPF automatically matches that donation.

Dahlquist said this campaign is a great way for NeighborWorks to bring in some financial help.

“I think it’s a pretty neat thing because people are pretty motivated to give when there’s a match involved, so really a great way toward the end of the year to stretch those dollars out and make it more meaningful for places like ourselves,” Dahlquist said.

The money raised by NeighborWorks goes toward all of its housing services it offers. Some of its housing services include building and selling homes at affordable prices, especially to help those who may not otherwise be able to afford a house. NeighborWorks also helps with home repairs for those who can’t afford a loan to pay for repairs. It also offers counseling and educational services for homeowners, such as counseling for foreclosure, budget discussions and tips for first-time homeowners.

Another big beneficiary from the campaign is the Spirit of Hope house, which NeighborWorks operates. It’s a transitional house for men coming out of the correctional system.

“I think it’s important to have that transitional home for men that are coming out of the correctional system because Idaho’s got a really high re-incarceration rate yet we have this home here that Avenues for Hope helps support for men that need that extra lift that now, at least for awhile, they’ve got a safe, comfortable, nice, very affordable place to live,” Dahlquist said.

NeighborWorks has placed in the top three spots over the last four years of doing the challenge. Last year, it raised $17,000 in private donations, then turned that into $34,000 by matched donations. Dahlquist said their goal is to beat that number this year.

The challenge goes until midnight Dec. 31.

To donate to NeighborWorks Pocatello, click here and follow the link to donate to the 2017 Avenues for Hope campaign. To see other groups participating and the leader board, go to Avenues for Hope website.

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