2018 HomeSmartNY Statewide Conference

HomeSmartNY and our members, housing counselors, program directors, nonprofit advocates, and industry partners convened on September 12-13, 2018 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Binghamton, NY for the 2018 HomeSmartNY Annual Statewide Conference and the 2nd Annual Homer Awards Dinner. The two-day event included trainings, a membership meeting, reception, and awards dinner on September 12, followed by a full-day conference on September 13.


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

9:00 am Registration Opens & Breakfast

10:00 am – 1:00 pm Free Member Trainings

Session A: SONYMA AHC Grants & Neighborhood Renovation Program Training with Dominic Martello & Elaine Chang, SONYMA

Learn more about implementing these two innovative SONYMA programs. AHC creates homeownership opportunities for low- and moderate-income families by providing grants to governmental, not-for-profit and charitable organizations to help subsidize the cost of newly constructed houses and the renovation of existing housing. The Neighborhood Revitalization Program provides a package of incentives to help owner-occupant home buyers purchase and renovate vacant homes.

Session B: Effective Strategies for Using Facebook to Market Housing Counseling Services by Laura Royer, The Royer Consultancy

With over two billion monthly users, Facebook continues to be the number one social media platform. In fact, the average user gets on Facebook eight times daily, with over a third of them engaging with businesses regularly. Now more than ever, nonprofit organizations need effective social marketing strategies on Facebook to build relationships with their ideal customer and help achieve their outreach goals in homebuyer education or other related services.
This 3-hour training will walk participants through the seven steps for creating and managing a Facebook account, reviewing the platform and best ways to use it. These seven steps include how to easily create, schedule and circulate content, how to build relationships with your ideal customer using the platform, and how to get them to take action with services offered. Additionally, it will cover the basics to advertising on Facebook to reach more of target audience

1:00 pm – 1:50 pm Lunch Sponsored by Fannie Mae

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm HomeSmartNY Board Meeting (2019 Board of Directors only)

2:00 pm – 4:00 pm Housing Counseling Out of the Box – Members’ Planning Session

Think out of the box in this interactive speed “start-up pitch” event. Learn about innovative programs and partnerships for housing counseling and practice pitching to prospective funders.

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm Networking Reception
Sponsored by M&T Bank

6:00 pm – 9:00 pm 1st Annual Homer Awards Dinner
Sponsored by SONYMA

Speakers & Honorees

Welcome – Jennifer Murphy, HomeSmartNY Executive Director

Community Partnership Award – Bruce Dorpalen, Executive Director, National Housing Resource Center
Banking Partnership Award – Sherri Eckles, SVP, Single Family Programs, SONYMA
Government Partnership Award – Sarah Gerecke, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Housing Counseling, US Department of Housing & Urban Development


Thursday, September 13, 2018

8:30 am Registration Opens

8:30 am – 9:30 am First Home Club Informational Breakfast

Sponsored by Federal Home Loan Bank of NY
Paul Heroux, Chief Banking Operations Officer & Community Investment Officer and Cynthia Palladino. VP, Director of Collateral and Affordable Housing Services, Federal Home Loan Bank of NY will lead a discussion on changes to the First Home Club program.

9:30 am – 12:30 pm Morning Sessions

9:30 am – 9:45 am Welcome
Michelle Di Benedetto, Board President, HomeSmartNY
Jennifer Murphy, Executive Director, HomeSmartNY

9:45 am – 11:30 am The Future of Housing Counseling
Discuss ideas and innovations to strengthen and expand housing counseling with our Homer Award Honorees; Bruce Dorpalen, NHRC, Sherri Eckles, SONYMA, and Sarah Gerecke, HUD

11:30 am – 12:30 pm Developing Effective Social Media Campaigns
Laura Royer, President, The Royer Consultancy
Ellie Pepper, HOPP Regional Coordinator, Empire Justice Center

12:30 pm – 1:20 pm Luncheon
Sponsored by Federal Home Loan Bank of NY

1:30 pm – 2:30 pm Concurrent Breakout Discussions

Breakout A: Niche Mortgage Products

Clients don’t come in one size and neither should their mortgage options. Learn about specialty mortgages to help more people navigate their way to affordable homeownership through rehab/purchase mortgages, manufactured housing loans and more.

Discussion leaders
Bill Terwilliger, Renovation & New Construction Loan Officer, M&T Bank
Ryan Wuerthner, Loan Officer, M&T Bank
Joe Weisbord, Director, Credit & Housing Access, Fannie Mae
Sherri Eckles, SVP, Single Family Programs, SONYMA
Paul Heroux, Chief Banking Operations Officer & Community Investment Officer, Federal Home Loan Bank of NY
Cynthia Palladino, VP, Director of Collateral and Affordable Housing Services, Federal Home Loan Bank of NY

Breakout B: Long-Term Sustainability Strategies

This session will feature small discussions with organizations that have found unique ways to increase revenue. Discussion leaders will provide an overview of their program. They will then be available to discuss details and answer your questions. You customize your interest areas at this breakout session. Please see the session agenda for more details.

Discussion leaders
Community Land Trusts – Susan Cotner, Executive Director, AHP & Albany Community Land Trust & Michelle DiBenedetto, Director of Special Programs and Public Outreach, LIHP
Employee Assisted Housing – Carol Yopp, Director of Counseling, LIHP
Specialized Place-Based Financial Capability Programming – Karyn Hausknecht-Yetman, Housing Programs Manager, Belmont Housing Resources of WNY
Senior Financial Stability Initiatives – Roslyn Quarto, Executive Director & Antoinette Smith, Director of Housing Counseling, ESOP
Researching New Sources of Funding – Lucy Raimes, Program Director, Center for NYC Neighborhoods

Breakout C: Opportunities in Manufactured Housing
There are over 2000 manufactured housing parks in New York. In many areas, they are one of our largest sources of affordable homeownership. Learn about opportunities to manage, finance and purchase manufactured housing and housing parks.

Discussion leaders:
Dina Levy, SVP Homeownership and Community Development, New York State Housing and Community Renewal
Cam Hebda, Manufactured Housing Cooperative Program Manager, PathStone Corporation
Meghan Carroll, Manager of Mortgage Loan Operations, Home HeadQuarters, Inc.

2:30 pm – 3:00 pm Closing Plenary

Michelle Di Benedetto, Board President, HomeSmartNY