I Come to Praise the Value and Power of Housing, Not to Condemn It

I wish to make it clear that I have come to praise the value and power of housing, not to condemn it!  I confess that I am openly critical of the failure of housing at present, on many different levels, when evaluated against its potential to be a resource for good.  It is that potential to be a resource resulting in a better quality of life for others that is exciting.

Forgive me William Shakespeare for taking your marvelous line from Julius Caesar (Act III, Scene II) out of context.  Rather than Mark Antony’s statement: “I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him”.  

I have purposely turned it inside out; I come to praise housing, not to condemn it.

What I am eager to do is have a very open and honest conversation with everyone about how the value of housing is being undermined by the manner it is presently pursued.   I sincerely believe that it is important to recognize what we can do together if we convert the way that housing is delivered into something that genuinely can change the world.

I got involved in providing housing over 20 years ago because I believed in the importance of housing.  Therefore, I studied the way we deliver housing long before I embarked upon doing that myself.  

When I embarked on this powerful pursuit, I chose to deliver housing in an entirely different manner than the conventional path that nearly everyone else has pursued.  I deliberately implemented a model that was focused on building relationships.  

Consequently, I built an organization that embraced as its highest core value that relationships are our highest priority.  That means we encouraged and engaged in relationships that were personal and genuine.  These relationships were with our colleagues, the people that we served, the suppliers that we depended upon, and any guests we encountered.  

My conviction is that if we are very successful in embracing personal and genuine relationships, the money aspect of the housing business would also be enhanced.  After all, relationships lead to commitments.  Commitments lead to enthusiasm.  Enthusiasm leads to a desire to honor that value.  That is the recognition that a value has been received that is greater than just the delivery of four walls, a ceiling, and a floor. 

In my view housing, as it is commonly practiced, has been reduced down to a transaction about providing essentially four walls, a ceiling, and a floor in return for the value of money.  How much greater the value of personal and genuine relationships?  Even better, receiving both the physical structure AND the relationships.

My point of view grows out of being both a provider of housing and a consumer of housing.  Indeed, we are all consumers of housing.  In the course of my life, I have consumed all forms of housing.  I have been to a condominium.  I have been in a variety of single-family homes.  I have been in student housing.  I have been in a number of different apartment complexes as a resident. I know what it feels like to be treated as a resident.  Unfortunately, I have endured having my wife live in continuing care housing.  

I have been a consumer of many different types of housing, and my wife and I

often talked about our experiences.  Those shared experiences 20 years ago is the foundation of what compelled me to change the course of my life and become a committed part of the housing industry.

I am as passionately interested in transforming the delivery of housing today as I was 20 years ago after talking with my Beloved Bride.  I ask you to hear carefully what I am trying to say; I am not condemning any of you that are already in the housing industry.  In fact, I understand what it is that you are doing.  I understand the pressure that you are under.  The need for capital is so intense that you have to be able to figure out a way to honor your commitment to the capital while delivering on the product.

I am also asking you to think about the opportunity that is available to you if you unleash the wonderful power of AND.  You will hear me say this many times in the course of our relationship.  I believe we can have not this OR that, we can have this AND that.  

We can have highly successful, highly functional, highly capital-focused communities driven by a compelling need to enhance the quality of life of the people we serve.  This is not only true for those of us in the multi-family space, I believe it is true for every aspect of the delivery of housing.

Everybody who in any way at all is a provider of housing will enjoy an enhanced result.  Whether they are an investor providing capital to make housing possible, a bank that is providing the leverage of a loan for the housing, a developer producing the housing, an operator making the community function, or, the most undervalued unsung heroes of all in housing, a professional manager.

Owing to my belief in the importance of this last group, I will spend a lot of time focusing on the under-recognized value of professional managers.  This is where the ability to translate the power of AND into meaningful outcomes.

It is my intent to transform the way we deliver housing.  I am driven by my compelling need to change the world, one community at a time, through one relationship at a time.  I believe that if you join me in this effort we will reduce the problems we are seeing around us.  

The world is totally unsettled at the moment.  The difficulties we are seeing is revealed in the lack of commitment and respect we have for one another.  All of that can be resolved at the housing level.

I have seen that occur in the communities that I had the good fortune to be the owner-operator of where I implemented The Primer Ethic(™).  

So follow me please.  Understand that this is a purpose that I wish to share with you.  I trust you enough to be open and honest with you through this journey.  I wish to ask  you to engage with me and provide me with your open and honest feedback.  Ask me questions or express your anxieties.  Indeed, I would welcome your opposition and its reason so that we can collaborate on creating a greater world.

We all know that every single human being requires housing.  Wouldn’t it be best to provide a housing environment that uplifts one another?

I will be spending some time in the future talking about what we all know as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs because it is really important that we see how our efforts in housing are central to that fundamental insight.  That basic psychology is really the fundamental truth of how the manner we deliver housing is disconnected from the needs of the people that we serve through the housing.  
We always need to come back and honor our efforts enough to ask whether those efforts are doing what we intended to do.  If, like me, your basic motivation is to be part of making housing the foundational solution to the world’s troubles, then let’s talk.  We can make that happen.