Hello, my name is Jen Freeze and I have been on my second co-op at Yellow Springs Home, Inc. for the Winter 2023 term. My position for this co-op is being the Affordable Housing Collaborator under the Miller Fellowship Program. In this position, I have been able to see firsthand how Home, Inc. is having a positive impact on the community by providing sustainable and affordable housing as well as financial education and repair grants, among other services.
I have learned that there are so many moving parts there are to keeping a nonprofit organization operating, especially one such as Home, Inc. A saying that I have heard since starting my co-op here is that 90% of the work happens before they put the shovel in the ground. I can see the importance of the work and the dedication of the staff towards the organization’s mission: “The mission of Yellow Springs Home, Inc. is to strengthen community and diversity in Yellow Springs and Miami Township by providing permanently affordable and sustainable housing through our Community Land Trust (CLT).” (Home, Inc).
My work schedule consists of a 9 to 5, Monday through Thursday work week. It starts when I arrive at the office, check my emails, and check my work plan to see my daily tasks, as well as other tasks that need to be completed. Some of my daily tasks consist of me cleaning up around the office and going to the post office a few times a week to check the PO Box. I also check any of the local drop boxes, if needed. I have other projects that may take a few days or a longer period of time to complete.
Some of the first projects I worked on involved the archives of Home, Inc. Since the organization is celebrating its 25th
anniversary this year in 2023, I went through all of the old newsletters and annual reports to find the best stories to be reprinted. Some will have updates published this year. I also went through a bunch of the newspapers that have been kept over the years and found the articles relating to Home, Inc. I scanned them for digital preservation, and put them aside so they could be included in a scrapbook.
I have also been compiling tax information for properties, getting certain information to formal entities, and creating packets to send out to homeowners. I attend different meetings as well, whether it’s just me and my co-workers or meetings with the Board of Directors or different committees.
One thing I have learned from working in an office environment is that there is lots and lots of paperwork that is involved, especially when it comes to a place like Home, Inc. since there’s all kinds of homeowner and rental forms. I have been digitalizing a lot of the paperwork so that it can be organized in a better way and saved for any future purpose. I will also be working on a research project pertaining to Home, Inc. properties, and organizing all of the folders for future use.
This job is definitely different from my previous work in Media Services. It has opened my eyes to a new working environment and has helped me develop and build new skills. I have been challenged to step a little out of my comfort zone and to do things that I didn’t have much experience in. Since I came into this job with very little knowledge of how the whole process of housing works, I have been able to learn so much in a short amount of time from all my co-workers. They have taught me about their roles in the organization, teaching me how to complete certain projects, and being there, overall, for support. This co-op has shown me the importance of having nonprofit organizations like Home, Inc. exist and how valuable their mission is to bettering the lives of others.