A Message from Our President and Board Chair

Dear Next Step Partners & Supporters,

It’s with immense pride and excitement that we share a significant accomplishment toward our goal to provide sustainable, affordable homeownership solutions for hardworking individuals and families across the country. This year, Next Step and EquityPlus unveiled our Kilpatrick Woods development in Hagerstown, Maryland. The hard work that our staff and partners accomplished in 2023 culminated in this milestone.

The Kilpatrick Woods Open House, generously sponsored by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, was a momentous occasion, attended by housing officials, partners, and community leaders. This innovative community stands as a beacon of what can be achieved when we come together to address the pressing need for quality, affordable housing. We are deeply grateful to EquityPlus, Eagle River Homes, Triad, our preferred lenders, Compass, Navicore, Freddie Mac, and the Inclusive Capital Partners Foundation for their invaluable partnership and support in making Kilpatrick Woods a reality.

We would also like to recognize ABCD & Company and ManufacturedHomes.com for playing vital roles in making our open house a success.

Here’s how Next Step helped make this new community of Kilpatrick Woods a reality:

  • Helped facilitate the delivery and quality assurance of the first eight homes in Kilpatrick Woods, including the model featured prominently at the Kilpatrick Woods Open House. One of these homes is already under contract and expected to close by the end of June 2024!
  • Established partnerships with seven local, regional, and national mortgage lenders experienced in financing manufactured homes as real property. Each lender provides its own unique offers customized for Next Step homeowners.
  • Built a housing counseling and homebuyer education and referral network, with the support of our national partner Navicore. Prospective homebuyers who need a little extra help to quality for financing can come back prepared and educated to be a part of this this neighborhood.
  • Secured capital investment from the Inclusive Capital Partners Foundation. As a part of the Foundation’s investment, at least 20 of the homes that are part of Kilpatrick Woods will be certified to the DOE’s Zero Energy-Ready Standard for Manufactured Homes.

Kilpatrick Woods is not just another housing development; it’s a transformative community designed to enhance the lives of its residents. Homes in Kilpatrick Woods, built by Eagle River Homes to meet Next Step’s specifications, are constructed on a permanent foundation and qualify for mortgage financing options available from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Every home in Kilpatrick Woods boasts, at minimum, ENERGY STAR™ certifications and features that promote energy efficiency and lower utility bills.

Our work on Kilpatrick Woods is a direct reflection of the incredible support and dedication of our supporters, partners, and advocates. Your belief in our mission has enabled us to push boundaries and explore innovative solutions to the housing crisis. This community is the first of many steps towards redefining affordable housing and ensuring that families have access to homes that are not only affordable but also beautiful and sustainable.

Looking ahead, we’re more motivated than ever to continue expanding affordable housing opportunities across the nation. We’re committed to leveraging Kilpatrick Woods’ success as a model for future developments, ensuring that more families can benefit from safe, sustainable, and affordable housing.

Thank you once again for being an integral part of the Next Step team.


Clemente Mohica
Board Chair
Next Step Network

Stacey Epperson

Stacey Epperson
President & Founder
Next Step Network


Empowered Homebuyers

  • Next Step and Navicore Solutions developed the process that will guide potential Next Step Homebuyers through the pre-purchase phase. In this phase, either Next Step or our realtor partners identify homebuyers who could benefit from housing counseling or additional educational opportunities, and connect them with Navicore at no cost to the buyer.
  • Next Step has partnered with seven lenders committed to providing mortgage financing to Next Step homebuyers in Hagerstown and for housing and community development projects. Each lender offers financing products that give our buyers the opportunity to compare and choose the best option for them. This ensures that our buyers can work with lenders who have experience in financing today’s manufactured homes. View our preferred lenders here.

Policy Change

  • One of the most significant challenges facing the expansion and adoption of manufactured homes as a missing middle housing solution is restrictive zoning. While the design, construction, and safety of manufactured homes are governed by a superseding federal building code, zoning codes remain an inherently local issue.
  • The Kilpatrick Woods neighborhood represents how effective zoning policy can create more affordable homeownership opportunities. In Maryland, where this community resides, the Housing Expansion and Affordability Act of 2024 was signed into law, permitting the use of both manufactured and modular homes in areas zoned for single-family housing. By educating municipal leaders and zoning officials – providing best practices and case studies – we can demonstrate how manufactured homes present a better housing solution for their communities.

New Sales Ecosystem

  • The first homes of Kilpatrick Woods homes were placed in the emerging neighborhood at the end of 2023, marking a significant milestone for Next Step, EquityPlus, and all those committed to making manufactured homes a viable homeownership option. Once finished, the Kilpatrick Woods community will include over 230 Next Step Homes. You can view the available homes here.
  • In addition to our work with EquityPlus and other nonprofit developers, Next Step and Clayton kicked off their Developer Support Services program, combining their extensive expertise in factory-built housing to increase affordable homeownership opportunities. Together, we’re equipping mission-driven housing developers with the knowledge and resources needed to leverage energy-efficient manufactured homes in their communities. The program secured two commitments from developers in 2023.

Zero Energy Ready Homes

  • Next Step is committed to placing homes that are energy-efficient and climate-resilient, creating new housing that is better for individual households, communities, and our planet. As residential energy use accounts for roughly 20% of greenhouse gas emissions in the US, we’ve updated our home specifications to be all-electric.
  • Next Step and EquityPlus have committed to building 20 Department of Energy Zero Energy Ready Manufactured Homes in the Kilpatrick Woods community. For all future projects, Next Step homes will be built to the ENERGY STAR® v3 standard (at minimum) and the DOE’s Zero Energy Ready standard.

The Impact

Throughout 2023, much of Next Step’s work focused on preparing for a major milestone in manufactured housing – the opening of Kilpatrick Woods. This project serves as a tangible example of how the efficiency and affordability of factory building, combined with progressive zoning, can be an effective tool for responding to our country’s housing crisis.

Photos courtesy of © Freddie Mac 2024.

Next Step worked with myriad partners to organize a kickoff event for this first-of-its-kind community. The Kilpatrick Woods Open House, sponsored by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, included tours of completed homes and remarks from guest speakers, including FHFA Director Sandra Thompson and FHA Commissioner Julia Gordon.

“Kilpatrick Woods is an example of what’s possible. It’s an example of what’s possible when homebuilders, developers, lenders, advocates, and the government embrace a common solution and work collaboratively to implement that solution.”

Stacey Epperson, President & Founder of Next Step

Board of Directors

  • Clemente Mojica, Chairperson
  • Hale Shaw, Vice-Chairperson
  • Jay Arneja, Secretary
  • Barry Noffsinger, Treasurer
  • Adonis Logan
  • Bob Bender
  • Deborah Campbell
  • Doug Ryan
  • Dr. Arica Young
  • Lanalle Smith
  • Lauren Williams
  • Lowell Ungar
  • Michael Bauer
  • Sarah Kackar
  • Smith Rodes

Next Step Staff

  • Stacey Epperson, President & CEO
  • Amy Barnard, Vice President of Next Step Homes
  • Grant Beck, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships
  • Kelly Fleck, Vice President of Homeownership
  • Kathryn Gwatkin Goulding, Chief Impact Officer
  • Destinie Hammond, Communications Manager
  • Billie Wells, Controller
  • Cindy George, Board Secretary and Accountant

Individual Supporters

  • Andres Saavedra
  • Billimarie Robinson
  • Brady Peeks
  • Clemente Mojica
  • David Dangler
  • Frank Olson
  • Jay Arneja
  • Jeff Stern
  • John Gillespie
  • Kathryn Gwatkin Goulding
  • Kelly Fleck
  • Robin Roy
  • Sheila M. Rice
  • Smith Rodes
  • Stacey Epperson
  • Tootie Larios McCarthy
  • Travis Spradlin

Funders & Supporters

  • Cardinal Finance
  • Clayton Homes Foundation
  • Freddie Mac
  • Inclusive Capital Partners
  • Neighborhood Partnership Housing Services, Inc. (NPHS)
  • NeighborWorks America
  • PNC Bank