DIGITAL ORIGINAL: Lancaster nonprofits combatting affordable housing challenges merge

Lancaster

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — Tabor Community Services and the Lancaster Housing Opportunity Partnership (LHOP) have finished legal processes to merge into one organization combatting affordable housing challenges in Lancaster County and surrounding areas.

Tabor’s mission was to “spark the power and opportunity in people to realize their rights of housing and financial security,” says Mike McKenna. McKenna was the president of Tabor Community Services, and he will be the CEO of the combined organization, which is temporarily called Tabor/LHOP.

LHOP originally worked to “create partnerships to further the creation [of] and access to affordable housing,” says Shelby Nauman, former interim CEO and COO of LHOP and now chief impact officer of Tabor/LHOP.

McKenna says the nonprofit organizations’ work and missions complemented each other. LHOP was familiar with policy and advocacy, working on the “supply side” and assisting with things like loans. Meanwhile, Tabor focused more on the “client journey” and helping people get into stable housing.

Rather than merging out of necessity, Tabor and LHOP decided to combine forces “for the benefit of the community,” says Nauman.

The organizations began planning the official merger in 2019, though they had been working together as partners before then, says McKenna.

The nonprofits grew even closer helping to prevent evictions since COVID-19 hit. LHOP and Tabor led an eviction prevention initiative, working with about a dozen other partners and expanding previous work they had been doing in the area.

“The eviction prevention work that we’re doing I think is really indicative of kind of the depth and breadth of what the combined organization is able to do,” says McKenna.

The combined organization will also be able to fill gaps in services that the individual nonprofits weren’t able to, says McKenna. For example, they’re launching a pilot program to help people who aren’t necessarily unhoused or at risk of eviction, but who are seeking “a different/better/safe/higher-quality housing environment,” McKenna explains.

Additionally, by merging into one nonprofit organization, Nauman says Tabor/LHOP can become a “one-stop-shop” for those seeking assistance. Not only do they offer their own expertise and services, but they also have a large network of other housing partners to whom they can refer clients, says Nauman.

Tabor/LHOP officially completed the legal processes for the merger last week. Now, they’re working on rebranding and combining their boards and staff. In the meantime, their services are still available to the community.

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