I’ve been fortunate to meet a few local and nationally known real estate developers by immersing myself in the world of commercial real estate. It’s so inspiring to see your own story in the lives of people who have succeeded. For some time, I wondered why more developers were not addressing the need for affordable housing. The easy answer is there is not enough money to be made for investors or the capital stacks make the deals impractical. I think the real issues are defining affordability and the political will to address the issue.
While there are several national initiatives and local strategies being attempted, there isn’t just one answer. So many social and economic factors impact affordability. Education, employment location, salary/wage disparities, transportation, and mental health, etc. have a direct correlation with housing instability. As previously stated, my journey has led me into the world of advocating and working in the Affordable Housing industry. This industry allows me to utilize my expertise in multifamily investments and increase my legal skill set. I’m learning so much about the federal and local regulations involved as well as how these very much needed programs are created and managed.
In the past six months, while learning the lay of the federal and local regulatory land, I’ve gained another seat at the table but this time it’s as a Board of Director for Quest Community Development Organization (Quest). I’m excited to serve this wonderful organization that has been active on the Westside of Atlanta for over 20 years. The mission of Quest is to develop affordable housing and provide needs-based community services to enhance the quality of life for underserved individuals and families. In addition to affordable housing projects, Quest currently has a capital campaign for the development of the Non-Profit Center for Change , a 41,000 S.F. New Office Lease Space, that will serve the community with retail, a fitness center and office space for community business owners. This volunteer opportunity allows me to lend my commercial real estate knowledge while witnessing how a dynamic community housing development organization operates. It’s funny how things work out, huh?
I’m embracing where I am and excited for what’s to come. It is an honor to help change the narrative regarding affordable housing and exploring strategies to help increase its availability.