2007 Good Neighbor Award Recipient, Linda Hebert

Linda Hebert of Hebert Realty in Great Barrington and Monterey has been named Berkshire Good Neighbor Award winner for her outstanding community service dedication.

According to Cara Davis, Executive Director of Construct Inc., Linda is a volunteer jewel for the organization. Construct is a south county housing and homeless services agency committed to providing comprehensive housing support and educational services to persons of low to moderate income or who are homeless.

Linda uses her real estate expertise, enthusiasm, personal and professional contacts and knowledge to assist in many projects of the organization. She serves as a volunteer real estate consultant to the Executive Director and on the Real Estate Project Development Committee, serves as a member of the Board of Directors and is a tireless volunteer and fundraiser for Construct. Linda helps identify potential affordable housing developments, acts as an advisor on site locations, property rehabilitation, reuse and viability.

Linda also volunteers and devotes time, talent, money and connections to fundraising projects. She has been active in Construct since 2000, and has served on their Board of Directors since 2005.

Construct has a large impact on South County families, annually serving 561 households, comprised of 223 needing housing counseling and case management, 192 for housing search assistance, 139 for financial assistance, 27 adult learners, 58 single homeless adults and 6 homeless families in transitional shelter.

Linda’s name and nomination papers have been submitted to the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS for consideration of the Mass Good Neighbor Award, which would result in a $1,500 donation to the charitable organization and a plaque. Winners of the state award then are submitted for consideration of the National Good Neighbor award.

Linda’s Fundraising Activities for Construct, Inc.

Unpaid hours the nominee personally contributed to this organization from January 2006 to present (approx. 16 months):

  • 275+ hours

Volunteer hours the nominee personally recruited from others to work for this organization from January 2006 to present (approx. 16 months):

  • 200 + (low estimate) Linda recruits volunteers for the fundraising projects held, such as the Walk for the Homeless and she gets many, many people involved in the annual gala. She recruits members to be considered by the Board of Directors Nominating Committee and has gotten fellow REALTORS involved. Linda also tries to recruit 2nd homeowners to volunteer and contribute through awareness and closing gift donations.

Dollars, materials or resources other than time the nominee personally contributed to this organization from January 2006 to present (approx. 16 months):

  • Linda has encouraged other REALTORS to give donation gifts in lieu of closing gifts to affluent buyers, which many have done. She personally contributes materials for the auction, often helps underwrite costs as well bidding on auction items and buying seats for her office at the gala event. She has run open houses to rent affordable units, including the creation of advertising, planning, flyers and marketing materials.

Dollars the nominee personally raised for this organization from January 2006 to present:

  • $331,000

As a member of the Fundraising and Development Subcommittee, Linda is very involved in all aspects of raising money for this worthy cause.

Construct’s MayFest is an annual Spring Fundraiser in support of Construct services to prevent homelessness and promote affordable housing. The event features food, wine, and beer tasting by 20 local chefs and businesses, as well as a silent auction.

Linda is significantly involved in this event, handling much of the planning, coordination, volunteer recruitment, making arrangements for restaurants to donate food, soliciting business sponsors, collecting and donating auction items.

On the day of the event, Linda can be found handling the set-up and serves with other volunteers to make this a special event. Linda also often helps underwrite the costs associated with this event, and donates her own funds as well as bids on items at the silent auction and pays for her office to attend.

Constructs Annual Walk for the Homeless is a fundraising event where individuals volunteer to walk to prevent homelessness – and friends and families sponsorconstruct_walk their time for the benefit of Construct.

Linda volunteers at this event in several ways, starting with the planning process and seeing to many details needed to pull together a community event of this magnitude. She also works the event, and recruits both sponsors and walkers. Linda is an impassioned champion of Construct and markets this events to the Realtors and community members.

Valuable financial donations and volunteer service is a critical underpinning of Construct’s success.

Linda gives, and has encouraged other REALTORS to give Construct Donations in lieu of closing gifts to affluent buyers. Along with her own donation gifts to new buyers, Linda also provides a Construct brochure and speaks to the new homeowners about the value of volunteer service with the organization and encourages both commitment of time and money as a way of supporting their community.
Volunteer Activities for Construct, Inc.

As a member of the Board of Directors and the Real Estate Project Development Subcommittee, Linda uses her real estate expertise to assist in matters of the creation of affordable housing and the stabilizing currently homeless or at-risk Berkshirites.

construct_trans_shelterThe Real Estate Development subcommittee is always looking at sites, doing feasibility studies to create, rehab or bring affordable housing projects to the high-end second home market of southern Berkshire.

Linda works extensively identifying properties, assisting on site visits and advising on the potential project sites. As a volunteer consultant, Linda scouts locations and helps the Board of Directors understand and analyze a property for value and possibilities.

Transition Shelters – There are currently three transitional shelters; Young Adult Men’s Independent Living (YAIL) offers 5 rooms to single men for 3 to 6 months, Transition Housing for Families (THF) with three apartments available for up to 12 months for families with children and The Women In Transition House (WITH), completed in 2004, added 5 rooms for 4-5 single women. They create a safe, caring and nonjudgmental environment to enable a successful transition into permanent, affordable housing.

Linda was very, very involved in the expansion of the shelter expansion of the men’s shelter to include the newly completed WITH (Women’s) shelter. This entire project was community based and supported. A group of prominent business women, Linda included, raised $75,000.

Then, Linda was involved with finding volunteers to donate time and talents for its completion. Linda was a strong volunteer that worked to make this happen, and service contractors were persuaded to donate their work as well, including concrete pouring, plumbing, electrical, interior design and construction, just to name a few. This group ended up spending a mere $73,000 for a $250,000 building. Truly amazing.

Affordable Housing: Before Linda joined the Board, Construct purchased land and began developing Pine Woods, a new 30-unit mixed income housing development in Stockbridge. This sorely-needed affordable housing project is a wonderful addition to the community. Construct believes that homelessness cannot be prevented without an adequate supply of safe, decent and affordable permanent housing.

The “if you build it they will come” philosophy didn’t exactly pan out for this development, and Construct had difficulty getting the units leased fast enough for their financial burden.construct_pinewoods

Linda stepped in and offered open houses, handling all of the promotion, ‘selling the idea’ throughout the community and advised on a marketing campaign for Construct. According to Cara Davis, as soon as Linda became involved, they filled up the units pretty quickly!

Marketing and Real Estate – Linda is always there with information on Construct activities for the Board of Realtors, and keeps us up-to-date and alert when help is needed. She gets the South Council REALTORS involved and helps bridge the gap between our board and theirs.