NeighborWorks Pueblo Joins Next Step Network

We’re happy to welcome NeighborWorks® of Pueblo into the Next Step Network, expanding our coverage to 51 Network Members putting sustainable homeownership within reach of families nationwide by delivering Manufactured Housing Done Right.

NeighborWorks Pueblo serves various counties in Southern Colorado, and they provide a whole host of services including pre- and post-purchase education, lending, development, and much more.

Their mission is to “revitalize neighborhoods and assist families in homeownership.”

NeighborWorks Pueblo has the core belief that “building sustainable communities starts with building stable homes.” They support financial success for homeowners in the long-term in order to create stronger communities.

To learn more about NeighborWorks Pueblo, go here.

After Hours: Stacey Epperson

In our “After Hours” blog series, we invite Next Step team members to talk about their hobbies or interests outside of work. Up next is Next Step’s President & Founder, Stacey Epperson:

By Stacey Epperson, President & Founder of Next Step

Every time I visit a family in a Next Step Home, my eye goes straight to the kitchen. I love that the kitchen sink always has a nice view outside and we usually have a work island with a good layout. The kitchen is the heart of the home. I know it’s my favorite room in my house.  It’s where you will find me when I am not in the office or on the road. Every Saturday I write and post the menu for the week, make the grocery list, hit the farmers market and then my favorite grocery.

I have my grandmother and parents to thank for my love of food. On our farm we had a garden, livestock, and learned to eat good, wholesome food. Even today my father has a smoke house where he cures hams. We would always have a Sunday sit-down with my grandmother—and those are memories that I want to make for my daughter. I am passing on skills for good health and good memories. My grandmother always had one rule: a green and yellow vegetable in every meal, and a dish of fruit too.

In my early 20s, I made a commitment to know everything about food. I loved watching cooking shows on PBS and became a passionate reader of Gourmet Magazine; I was a foodie before it was trendy. Today I cook breakfast every morning before work, and dinner every night that I am home. Thank goodness that Dave does the dishes.  But now I have more help in the kitchen, Maggie is with me and I am teaching her everything I know. We pay close attention to food–carbs, fat, protein, etc. Maggie was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes when she was two and you can learn more on her JDRF One Walk page here.

img_5462_webMaggie is taking it to a different level. She loves baking and became interested in European methods after we visited our Swedish family—her cousins’ grandmother is a retired chef. This year Chef Shannon Wampler-Collins invited her to  cook with the Lexington Women’s Chef Series and Guest Chef Elizabeth Faulkner. Her dessert was served, KY JD’s buttermilk sorghum panna cotta, with a blackberry coulis and a Swedish cardamom crisp cookie crumble; an ode to her KY roots and Swedish family. Needless to say, I gained 10 pounds this summer tasting the recipe until she got it just right.

Home is more than shelter, it’s where we nurture and find comfort. We replenish our body and our souls. The kitchen is the heart of the home, and it has stolen my heart. It’s where we teach and pass on what sustains us. Bon Appétit, gumbo is on the menu tonight!

Stay tuned, we’ll be back next month with another After Hours spotlights on the Next Step Team!






The Next Step Network 2015 Annual Report Is Out!


The Next Step Network 2015 Annual Report is out!

You can read more about our national impact (like homes ordered and annual utility costs savings), family and member success stories (like Lee and Lucille Allen, and Community Ventures), and view our financials here:


Next Step Network Participating in Give Local Louisville

This year, Next Step® Network is participating in Give Local Louisville, a 24-hour online giving day that supports the local nonprofits doing great work in our community. Last year, through Give Local Louisville, our community raised $3 million for the 362 participating nonprofits.

On September 15, for those 24 hours, the Community Foundation of Louisville and its partners will maximize the community’s generosity with Golden Tickets, prizes and bonus dollars. This provides an incredible opportunity for donors to increase the impact of their gifts to the nonprofits they care about.

Next Step’s mission is to put sustainable homeownership within reach of everyone, while transforming the manufactured housing industry through consumer education, affordability and energy efficiency. By participating in Give Local Louisville, we will raise funds to support new and ongoing programs that put energy efficient homes within reach of more low-income families in Kentucky and nationwide.

Online credit card giving will take place at from 12:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, September 15.

Additionally, if you have a Charitable Checking Fund or Donor Advised Fund at the Community Foundation of Louisville, you may recommend a grant of any amount to Next Step that will be added to the total amount we raise on September 15. You must submit your grant request before September 9th. See MyFund for additional details.

For more information, visit

COAP, Inc. Joins Energy Efficiency Initiative for Manufactured Housing

COAP, Inc. joined the SmartMH℠ KY program, a partnership of the manufactured housing industry, lenders, retailers, utilities, nonprofits and public stakeholders committed to increasing access to ENERGY STAR homes with better loans across the Commonwealth.

As a SmartMH KY Partner, COAP joins a new initiative in Kentucky to stimulate the marketplace for energy-efficient manufactured homes that come with flexible financing to save homeowners money.

COAP in partnership with the SmartMH KY Alliance is expanding the impact of a new ENERGY STAR upgrade program administered by the Systems Building Research Alliance. Supported by incentives from participating utilities and Kentucky Housing Corporation, participating factories will offer the ENERGY STAR upgrade for a small cost or no additional cost to homebuyers in Kentucky.

While manufacturers receive the incentives, the real people that benefit are homebuyers.

Homebuyers that finance their ENERGY STAR manufactured homes with SmartMH loans gain the added value of a quality financing product. ENERGY STAR homes lower utility bills, providing thousands of dollars in savings over the life of a home. They are also more comfortable, quieter, require less maintenance and have a higher resale value.

Manufactured homes are an important source of affordable housing for Kentuckians, accounting for 14% of the state’s overall residential stock. About 2,000 manufactured homes are sold in Kentucky each year with less than 1% certified as ENERGY STAR. Homes not certified as ENERGY STAR are more expensive to own and operate, and as a result place strain on families that could benefit from energy cost savings and lowered monthly housing expenses.

Louisville-based nonprofit, Next Step Network, is sponsoring the SmartMH KY Alliance. Next Step is identifying loan products through lenders that meet the SmartMH mission for customers buying ENERGY STAR manufactured homes in Kentucky from participating factories. SmartMH loans provide benefits like good rates, better terms and assistance with down payment or utility costs. SmartMH loans are currently available through CU Factory Built Lending, Forcht Bank, Kentucky Housing Corporation and Key Mortgage Company.

As a result of SmartMH loan products and the ENERGY STAR upgrade program, it is projected that ENERGY STAR manufactured home shipments in Kentucky will increase from less than 1% to 50% in two years.

This has the potential to deeply impact the approach to energy efficiency within Kentucky’s marketplace, and the resulting benefits will extend to homebuyers and the communities in which they live.

For more information on how homebuyers can participate, visit