Affording affordable housing: diversifying a portfolio with affordable housing can improve the bottom line

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Affording affordable housing: diversifying a portfolio with affordable housing can improve the bottom line, but managers must pay attention to strict rules and regulations

Rogal, Brian
Journal of Property Management
November 1, 2006

When Stephanie Townsend, the primary site manager at an affordable housing community in Columbus, Ohio, started her job about four years ago, she was nervous about the stereotypes surrounding such properties–including the perception crime rates are higher and rent doesn’t get paid.

She soon found stereotypes are just stereotypes and good management can resolve common problems regardless of property type. Townsend, who works for Wallick Properties Midwest LLC, manages Emerald Glen–a130-unit collection of town homes built 10 years ago with federal tax credits. Despite her nearly 15 years of experience managing conventional properties, Townsend said she was unprepared for what affordable housing had in store for her career.

“I had all these years of experience in property management, [but] when I transferred to Emerald Glen I was lost,” she said. “I was a little scared when I came here, but I figured out how to make it work.”

She figured out how to make it work because she knew there was a demand for affordable housing managers–especially for managers who could go beyond managing a property to handling all the government regulations and social programs attached to the properties. That demand still exists, and Townsend said the need for good managers will expanding the future.

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