Why Work in Affordable Housing?

Every year, the entire BRIDGE staff from San Diego to Seattle gathers for a one-day retreat. It’s a big time commitment and a lot of work to pull off, but I believe that it is imperative to bring all members of our team together face to face, to inspire one another, share experiences and see how each person works to fulfill our mission.

Back by popular demand, we enjoyed a keynote presentation by David Smith, the charismatic Chairman of Recap Real Estate Advisors. David took us through a rapid evolution of affordable housing in America, then delved into BRIDGE’s strengths and opportunities before asking: “Why should you keep working in the affordable housing business?”

That question made me think about what brings people into the field in the first place. Back in the day, I was an urban studies and political science major working as an intern at a metropolitan regional agency. The university was going to raze a multifamily development near campus, and a group of us planning students decided to save the housing. We formed a nonprofit and turned the property into affordable student housing. Eventually, I became the GM of the nonprofit, and we ended up rehabbing those units and adding more to the portfolio. I was hooked.

As David noted, the affordable housing business is dynamic and has an expanding definition that includes real estate development, compliance, property and asset management, resident and supportive services, and beyond. It’s a great field to get into, and I’d like to share a few of his ideas about why we get up and come to work at BRIDGE every day:

  • We turn ideas into homes.
  • Housing is the place where lives improve.
  • Affordable housing solves social problems communities want solved.
  • Housing isn’t the end of BRIDGE’s work, it’s the beginning.
  • The affordable industry offers a lot of job options and mobility to its employees.

What a great day! I am grateful to everyone on our staff who works every day to improve people’s lives and their communities.

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