Podcast

How Affordable Housing Development Meaningfully Impacts Under-Served Communities

3Q20

An Affordable Housing Developer’s path into commercial real estate and insights into correcting the systemic imbalance of opportunity that plagues low-income communities.

Read The Transcript

In this week’s episode of Real Wealth, Real Health, we speak with Monique Lawshe, Executive Vice President of GHC Housing Partners, one of the nation’s premier affordable housing owners and operators. GHC has developed, owned and operated more than 30,000 units in 27 states with a value exceeding $2.5 billion. Ms. Lawshe also serves as a Board Member for Alpha Investing.

Ms. Lawshe takes us through her inspirational journey to becoming an established real estate and non-profit executive and affordable housing developer. She has been able to directly affect change in multiple communities by providing habitation to many people in need. Her successful career has provided her with unparalleled knowledge of the intricacies of subsidized housing in the US.

Beyond providing much-needed affordable housing in Los Angeles Ms. Lawshe’s experience and impact expanded to other areas of the country. Her work in affordable housing directly reveals for us the deeper, systemic imbalances in society, for which she has since launched several initiatives, scholarships, and programs to empower the underprivileged. We hope this poignant tale of professional growth through an empathetic perspective of a professional developer inspires more of us to be motivated to affect change in our community.

Key Insights

  • Understanding the intricacies of workforce & affordable housing
  • The challenges of garnering interest in, and funding for, affordable & subsidized housing from banks and other institutional organizations
  • The direct and indirect ways that affordable housing development can have an impact in improving people’s lives.
  • The challenges facing Subsidized housing in the wake of the current economic turmoil, and what changes to housing budgets could be coming down the line.
  • What we can learn from prior recessions with regard to the behavior of Banks and other institutional equity investors

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Guest Bio

Monique Lawshe is the Executive Vice President of GHC Housing Partners. Established in 1993, GHC Housing Partners is one of the premier affordable housing owners and operators in the country.

Ms. Lawshe joined the company in 2002 and is responsible for providing leadership to the acquisition and development team. She has extensive experience with the use of low-income housing tax credits, multi-layered financing structures and HUD project-based rental programs, as well as conventional financing. While at GHC, Ms. Lawshe has been responsible for the acquisition and financing of approximately 15,000 units exceeding $750 million dollars in value.

Ms. Lawshe has more than 20 years of experience in real estate development and finance. Prior to joining GHC, Ms. Lawshe served as the chief executive officer of A Community of Friends (ACOF), a Los Angeles-based nonprofit development organization. Under her leadership, ACOF produced approximately 800 units in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties, and raised more than $100 million in capital from private and public sources.

Ms. Lawshe obtained an MBA, with a concentration in real estate finance, at the Anderson School at UCLA and a bachelor of science in industrial management/industrial engineering from Purdue University.

Resources:

Real Wealth Real Health

Alpha Investing

[email protected]

GHC Housing Partners

Podcast Transcript

Daniel Cocca:

Welcome to Real Wealth Real Health, the show that empowers you with insight, information and inspiration to achieve your version of financial wellness. Learn how to balance living a full life today with planning for the future. This podcast is brought to you by Alpha Investing, a real estate centric private capital network that provides exclusive investment opportunities to its members. And now here are your hosts, AdaPia d’Errico and Daniel Cocca

AdaPia d’Errico:

Hello, and welcome back to another episode of Real Wealth Real Health. We are speaking with Alpha Investing board member Monique Lawshe. Monique is the Executive Vice President of GHC Housing Partners, one of the nation’s premier affordable housing owners and operators. Prior to GHC, Monique served as the chief executive officer of A Community of Friends, a Los Angeles based nonprofit Development Organization. Monique takes us through her inspirational journey to becoming an established real estate and nonprofit executive and affordable housing developer. Her successful career has provided her with unparalleled knowledge of the intricacies of subsidized housing in the US. We get into the technicalities and details about the way affordable housing works, including tax credits and vouchers in the first part of our conversation.

AdaPia d’Errico:

The latter part of our conversation pivots into the social impact of affordable housing development. Monique’s experience directly reveals for us the deeper systemic imbalances in society, many of which are surfacing today and demanding everyone’s attention. Leaders like Monique and her partners at GHC, strive to make an impact on the lives of those for whom they develop safe housing options beyond the housing itself. Initiatives like scholarships and programs to empower the underprivileged are at the heart of this work. We hope this poignant tale of professional growth through an empathetic perspective of a professional developer inspires more of us to be motivated to affect change in our communities. Hi, Monique, thanks for joining us on the podcast today.

Monique Lawshe:

Hi, AdaPia. Nice to meet you.

AdaPia d’Errico:

Yes, it’s nice to see you. You’re back in your office. Right?

Monique Lawshe:

Well, no, I’m in my home office today. Our office is two days per week per department, so my days are Wednesday and Thursday in the office.

AdaPia d’Errico:

Got it. Got it. got it. Okay, well, your home office looks like a proper office because I thought it was your work office.

Monique Lawshe:

Listen, I just realized I need to stop this ringing because I am.

AdaPia d’Errico:

In the background?

Monique Lawshe:

Yeah, I need to start over.

AdaPia d’Errico:

Cool. Well, hi, Monique, thanks so much for joining us on the podcast today.

Monique Lawshe:

You’re welcome. Nice to see you. Thanks for having me.

AdaPia d’Errico:

Yes, it’s really great to have you on the podcast today. You are an esteemed and valued member of Alpha Investings Ford, and you also have over 20 years of experience in real estate, finance and development with such as deep expertise in affordable housing. So we’re really looking forward to diving into everything that you’ve seen, and everything that you know when it comes to that. But let’s, to start maybe it’s, can you tell us a little bit about how you got connected to Alpha Investing and became a board member?

Monique Lawshe:

Sure. Well, as you might know, I got my MBA at UCLA many, many years ago. And I met Fark Tari at an Anderson event, and I can’t remember what event. I think it was African American alumni event. Four, four years, three or four years ago, and we connected. We were introduced by Dr. Osborn, who’s sadly be and still the only black Professor on the faculty at the business school. And also, sadly, I was glad to meet Falk, but sad to say that he is the second person, black person that’s been at the business school that I’ve met who is also interested in real estate over a 30-year period. Anyway, we connected, and I was happy to meet him and hear about what he was doing.

AdaPia d’Errico:

Wow. Well, I mean, first of all those statistics, I mean, this now this is such a big topic. But on another note, for somebody who never leaves his house, Falk sure got around back in the day to get Alpha Investing started. So I tried to tell him we need him just show his face a little bit more because as you know, he’s just engages so well and really brings that level of trust, which is as you know, is so important in anything in real estate. So, it’s on my list to try to get him out there more. He’s also a really important role model.

Monique Lawshe:

Oh good. Oh good. Well, I’ll back you up on that. Then after our talk today, we should talk about something else. I have an idea.

AdaPia d’Errico:

I love ideas. Okay. That sounds great. Well, let’s dive in. Let’s take into affordable housing. You’ve been in the sector for a really long time. And I was on your bio, you’ve been doing nonprofit work. I mean, for… Is that your whole career that you’ve been doing nonprofit work?

Monique Lawshe:

Well, here’s the… No, no. In fact, so let me step back again. After I came to UCLA, actually, I specifically chose to apply to business schools who had a real estate tract. And I won’t go into my ancient career history. But just suffice it to say that I didn’t… I was in a tech industry. I was in the computer industry. It was a whole different industry than it is now. But it wasn’t something that I saw myself climbing to the top of the corporation, the major corporation I was at, at the time. And I started thinking about what careers would be satisfying to me, what would be interesting and where could I actually be the boss? And real estate for a couple of different reasons appealed to me, the most significant of which is my…

Monique Lawshe:

I have three architects in my family. My mother’s brother was an architect, and one of the first black architects to have his own firm. He’s in Chicago. He was in Chicago. His daughter, my cousin is an architect and his nephew, my other cousin is also an architect. They’re all in Chicago. And our grandfather was basically a general contractor. They called him a carpenter, but he could build anything. And in fact, the second home, I grew up in, my uncle and my mother designed together and I was walking from framing it, like eight years old.

AdaPia d’Errico:

That’s amazing.

Monique Lawshe:

So, I just kind of was around it. And I guess when I started in my 20s thinking about different career options, real estate appealed to me. So while I was working full time at this corporate job, I got… I started working with a real estate broker, who was selling houses, and I realized pretty quickly that was not the part of real estate that I wanted to do. And I can’t remember how I found out what development was. But when I found out what it was, I was just like, okay, that’s what I want to do. But then I didn’t see a path from kind of a engineering techie background to real estate. In terms of, I didn’t know anybody. I didn’t know any developers, and so I saw business school as a route to make that transition. And so I looked to things. I looked for schools… I was living in the Boston area, I looked for schools in California that had real estate in the MBA curriculum. And so USC did, UCLA Berkeley did, and I applied to all those but UCLA came up with a little money. So, I went there.

Monique Lawshe:

And I graduated into a recession, and no developers were hiring. It was if they were surviving, they certainly were not hiring newly minted MBAs with no experience in that field. So I ended up going to work for a bank, which is the furthest thing from I say, if you have a developer spirit, the banker spirit is like the opposite. But anyway, I needed a job. So, I went to work for first Chicago. First National Bank of Chicago had an LA office, and I was there. I spent all my time there reviewing borrower financial condition and trying to figure out with my cohorts how we could keep the borrowers that we had.

Monique Lawshe:

I think I did one new loan in almost three years that was retail in Las Vegas. So, it was a tough period to be in the real estate department in a bank. I learned a lot. There were a lot of… There’s a lot of scrutiny. This was 1990. So there’s a lot of scrutiny banks, because of what had happened with the savings and loan debacle, bank stocks were in the tank. And it just was not a fun time, but it was a good learning experience. And I also learned who all of the kind of premier Southern California developers that survived, one of which was KB Home then called Kaufman and Broad. And they were one of our borrowers.

Monique Lawshe:

And one of the things that I remember distinctly from that time was that they had money, they had cash on their balance sheet. And I didn’t realize the significance except that they could be financially healthy. I didn’t realize that then until the mid 90s, when they basically bought up Central California in Texas. And they built hundreds and thousands of entry level single family homes, and they made a mint. And that’s when it hit me, it’s like, hmm, he or she who has cashed in the downturn can get a lot done.

Monique Lawshe:

Anyway, so that’s… So I did… So I was in my kind of banking role, which I frankly hated. And I was looking, after a couple of years I was looking for well, what can I do? And I saw this article in the LA times. It was, that there was a real estate section at that time, and on the cover once on Sundays, on the cover was an article called The Unlikely Developer, and there was a black woman on the cover and her name is Jackie DuPont-Walker. So I tracked her down and she was like, “I want to take you to dinner. I don’t understand. What is this thing you’re doing?” And she had… She worked with her church, Ward A.M.E here in LA to build seniors housing over in Adams near USC. It’s about a 130-unit project. It’s really beautiful.

Monique Lawshe:

And so I was inspired, and I was interested. And so she, when she and I started to dialogue, and she tried to get me to come, she said, “Well, I’m going to start another nonprofit. They’re going to… It’s going to bank land in South Central, so that affordable housing developments can get done. And you can be the executive director of that.” I was like, “Whoa.” I was flattered. I was like, “Whoa, that sounds exciting.” But then I thought, I was like, let’s see, I’ve never run anything. I don’t really know anything about development. And oh, the board is seven preachers. Hmm, that sounds… That sounds like maybe it’s not the best thing for me. But as it turns out around that same time, there was an ad in the LA times for a project manager job in a nonprofit called A Community of Friends. And so I called and I went for an interview, and I really liked the executive director. We got along well, and he said, “Well, I…” He offered me a job. And he said, “Well, I can’t match the bank salary, but I just got this grant and I think we can get you closer over time.” I said, “Fine.” I said, “Well, I don’t like being in banking, and I want to learn development.” And I didn’t know any better. I didn’t know what special needs housing was.

Monique Lawshe:

So this nonprofit, A Community of Friends developed permanent housing apartments for adults with mental illness. So you not only had to get the development set, you had to partner with Department of Mental Health and get services for the residents, and it was permanent housing. It wasn’t shelters. It wasn’t temporary housing. So basically, the tenant needed to be able to live on their own with some supportive service help. And it was a newish concept. In fact, Community of Friends was founded in 1988, and I went there in 1992-93. So we were… The organization was still kind of in its infancy.

Monique Lawshe:

A couple of years after being there, the director that had hired me left. He was from the east coast and his wife was working on her PhD, and they moved to New York. He said, “Well, I told the board that you could run the organization.” And so that was another quite a surprise, but I stepped in, and I had a really great board and supportive staff. And the sort of the concept of special needs housing was getting legs then, so this was mid 90s. There were a lot of resources directed at it. There was HUD had some programs, some project based rental subsidies. A tax credit program, which started in 1986 was just starting to kind of get legs. A lot of… I remember literally calling the Treasury Department at IBM and saying, “Hey, I have a development. Do you want to put tax credits on it.” They’re like, “What?” They clicked.

Monique Lawshe:

So it was kind of an… Looking back, it wasn’t an exciting time, both for me and for the industry. And so, that’s how I got into the nonprofit. It was like totally God’s will. I did not go out seeking to be a do gooder. I was just trying to learn real estate development and I figured, oh, it’s just the twist. If I had really understood what it was, I probably would’ve run screaming but…

AdaPia d’Errico:

Right, as it is for most of us when we don’t really think about something fully but we’re just pulled in that direction. What also strikes me about what you said is that even though you turn down the executive director role in the beginning at that other organization, you still were… You still got that leadership role, so you were meant for it. I think that’s really funny. You were so humble by saying no over here, but then in short order you say you’re in front of something.

Monique Lawshe:

You’re right, it was but it was never something that I would have sought out but it was great experience for me personally. And we got a lot of work done because nobody else in LA was doing it. There were other affordable housing and nonprofit affordable housing developers but no one, obviously sought out the mentally ill people, to go house mentally ill people. I say that to say that I didn’t have a lot of competition for the resources that were out there, and Community of Friends… The other thing, because I of the path that it took me to get there, it was really important to me to get other women and minorities into the development arena. And for us to do the work, to not hire development consultants, to really learn how to put together tax credit application, how to layer the financing, how do we get these buildings built or renovated? So we did the work, and I think… Well, that’s all I’ll say about that for now, except that it was personally important to me to bring some other folks along as that organization grew.

Monique Lawshe:

The other thing that I’ll say, and just to kind of give you some idea of the growth. When I went to Community of Friends, there were two projects operating. They were both in Hollywood. The total about 40 units between the two of them. Because of our focus, we were not relegated to stay in the neighborhood. We were not a community based organization because, who wants to concentrate housing for mentally ill people in any way? It’s needed in every community. So we were able to operate, actually city-wide, county-wide and did some work in Orange County, and actually found a second nonprofit in San Diego. So we were able to work regionally, which was interesting. And it also was a lesson in the politics of development because there was no point, and I learned LA pretty quickly that we have 15 Council districts. The council member rules, it’s, I call it the five-term system, unlike the Chicago area where I came from where the mayor rules.

Monique Lawshe:

So if you’re a developer in LA of affordable housing, you need to know that that council district, the council person supports your project. And I learned pretty quickly who did, who didn’t. We always had to get variances for something or another. I tried to avoid zoning changes because that introduced the community, and that was a whole other issue. So we went from 40 units in say 1990 to about 1000, either completed or underway by the time I left 10 years later. So, I was all about getting deals done.

AdaPia d’Errico:

Wow. That is, huge, huge growth. And also really interesting insights about, it’s always the politics like you said, that the zoning and anybody who’s ever tried to build or even renovate, or probably understand something about variances and zoning. But it is, it’s so complex. I actually have a quick question about this, and then we’d love to dive into GHC and how you moved into affordable housing. My question is around the like you said, like the mental health aspect and these people that were living there because we don’t really talk about mental health. There’s used to be a lot more stigma around it back then than there is today. It’s starting to break up. How are those people… I mean, those are that was permanent housing, so they must have like social services coming to them. Is that program still running? And is that something that’s still like important? Did it gain wider traction?

Monique Lawshe:

Oh, my goodness. Yes. So I’m happy to say Community of Friends, I think is in it’s like 32nd or 33rd year now. The CEO who’s there now, Dora Gallo was my hand-picked successor. So, I stayed until 2002. Dora, who had… Actually I met Dora when she worked for… At the time, Councilman Ridley Thomas as a planning deputy. It’s, I met her there, and I was really impressed with her. And so yes, so the work continues. The social service aspect, so in permanent housing, the each building had a case manager assigned. The case manager typically in the beginning was definitely not our staff. It was a Department of Mental Health employee or a mental health contractor, an agency that contracted with the Department of Mental Health. And they would do everything from help a tenant figure out how to access their disability benefits, or how to get transportation access, how to get Meals on Wheels. There was all… There were all sorts of tasks that the service coordinator or case manager did.

Monique Lawshe:

But it’s from an owner-operator standpoint, these were kind of the poorest of the poor. These folks were typically on SSI, SSDI. Some, their only source was General Relief, which was $200 a month, and I think it’s still 200. I think it’s like $220 a month now in LA. So these are super, super poor people. And one of the things in our… One of the resources that we were able to secure for our buildings was a project based rental subsidy. So no matter what their income was, they paid 30%. If it’s $200 a month, they pay $66. And the rest of the real, the rent needed to operate their property was subsidized. And that was a special HUD program specifically for homeless persons.

Monique Lawshe:

So yeah, it’s in this sort of concept of special needs housing, and it applies to persons with AIDS. There was a big push housing opportunities for persons with AIDS, and they had similar resources. So that sort of the concept of special needs housing absolutely increased. There are many more. I think most of my peers here who are nonprofit developers are involved in some way now, where basically it was only Community of Friends and a couple of other nonprofits focusing on that population. Now, that’s good and bad because it’s kind of a follow the money. The reason there’s so many interested now is because there are a lot more resources. So for a company like A Community of Friends, they’re now having to compete with other nonprofit developers for sites, for money, the whole bit. But the bottom line is more housing is getting built for those special needs populations.

AdaPia d’Errico:

Right. And so the, like you’re saying like the good side of it, it means that money is being allocated from a state level. I’m assuming this is all state county city level.

Monique Lawshe:

Correct. Actually, the… I don’t know if you got… You’re familiar with, the city of LA passed a bond measure, I think two years ago, HHH. If SHH and SSS. And one is, for HHH is actually for the housing, for the sticks and bricks, and the other one is for services. So that was a bond measure that the voters are paying for, that was huge. That was huge to get that pushed. And affordable housing developers like every other sort of group that they had to lobby and kind of market that, but I think there was more of an acceptance from the voting public just looking at the increase in homelessness in the city. Every level of government in California contributes or has programs; the state level, the city, the county and most times A Community of Friends, my deals would have money from all three of those agencies. So it’s very common. It’s not… Now they’re starting to teach it in business school, but it’s definitely not anything I learned in Business School at that time.

AdaPia d’Errico:

Right. I don’t… Yeah. I don’t imagine that, that they would. So would it be fair to say that when it comes to affordable housing, the underlying, like a foundation of it is the fact that it is subsidized is, at least in development?

Monique Lawshe:

It’s both. Both capital and operating subsidies are required to serve the poorest area median income households, you just… Especially… And it’s driven by location. So we’re in Los Angeles where the dirt is hugely expensive, and there’s not that much of that. It’s not that much dirt left to just build ground up. Existing buildings are now super expensive, and they’re full. When I was doing… When I joined Community of Friends, there were a lot of vacant brick buildings around LA, and you could pick them up for a song. And we availed ourselves to as many of those as we could. But now, and even with that, even when land and buildings were cheaper, we needed multiple subsidies. And housing was costing, let’s say close to 150,000, $200,000 per unit to develop. That has doubled now, which is, it’s absurd. But it’s like, well, what are you going to do? I mean, the option is not build any, so we have to deal with the real estate environment that we live in.

Monique Lawshe:

And in other parts of our country where the dirt or isn’t so expensive, the properties can get developed on less per unit basis but the rents are also less. So, the sort of average rents. So you still need typically, development and operating subsidies of some type to serve these low income housing. So, one of the resources that is widely used is the low income housing tax credit. Nonprofit developers use it, for-profit developers use it. And I really do think it’s the best public private source that’s available to us. And the way it works simplistically is an investor in a tax credit deal is, you can secure an investor a couple of different ways; there can be a direct investment, or there can be an investment from a syndicator. From a… And this tax credit syndicator is, their role in life is to go out, solicit money from corporations, which are typically banks because the investor needs to be able to project a need for to defer, to decrease their tax liability for 10 years.

Monique Lawshe:

So if I’m Bank of America and I invest $10 million in a tax credit deal, I can write off a million dollars of my tax liability for each of the subsequent 10 years. So it’s, when I think about my syndicator friends and talk to them and ask them, who else besides banks? Because in the years that banks aren’t doing well, like the recession we had in 2007 and 2008, those funds shrank almost in half. I mean, so there was… There were fewer equity providers. So even if I, as a developer got an allocation of credits from the state, I had a hard time. I could not find in that timeframe, an investor who would pay the equity levels that I was accustomed to getting earlier in the 2000s.

Monique Lawshe:

But that said, it’s still, there still hasn’t been kind of a great replacement for the low income housing tax credit program in terms of being able to produce units, especially new units of house. I think.. Well, I think there’s increased interest on the part of companies like Google, like Amazon, who do have huge profits and can project likely profitability. But it’s still, it seems to me like it’s still taking a long time to get more equity investors into the tax credit game.

Daniel Cocca:

And so why do you think that is? Is it a product of just awareness? Is it… A lot of what you’re saying is certain political environments where we are in any given market cycle, what’s happening in the broader economy all impact this. But if I’m here, I’m an investor today that says, hey, I want to make money but I also want to feel good about my investment, and I want to be altruistic in a way that I can. How does that investor insert themselves into this type of project?

Monique Lawshe:

I think for… So for individual investors, it doesn’t really work for the individual. I think there still kind of like a $25,000 maximum, if like you personally wanted to invest. And then you’ve got to… You still have to have a syndicator that aggregates those $25,000 chunks. Let’s set aside individual people for a minute. So other corporations, other sectors of the economy, I think… Well, first of all, to be frank, I think banks initially got so engaged because they were able to get CRA, Community Revitalization Area credits. So it was almost a mandate, they have to get the CRA credits. There’s a number of ways they can get them, but to take part of their money, their corporate money and invested with syndicators or directly into a deal gets them CRA credit. So I can’t say that the bank’s motivation is pure, especially at the beginning.

Monique Lawshe:

I think for other sectors, it’s been… The difficulty has been a combination of not really understanding these types of properties and how they operate, so there’s kind of a perception. It’s been a negative perception of affordable housing, subsidized housing, which are different. I think of subsidized. Subsidized is subsidized. All affordable housing is not subsidized housing. But I think there’s just sort of an ignorance about, what does it mean to invest in a property that houses low income households? And so, I think that’s kept some corporations on the sidelines.

Monique Lawshe:

Then, it just comes down to a matter of yield. So when the economy is doing great, if I have an investment that’s going to yield seven or eight percent, why should I put my money over in this tax credit syndicate, where the yield is going to be maybe five percent or four percent. So the corporation that chooses to do that has to have a mandate of, we want to help. We want to help in society, and we don’t mind if we don’t make the most yield. I think you have to have those two things.

Daniel Cocca:

And I imagine that’s challenging because at the end of the day, from a pure legal perspective, corporations are designed to maximize shareholder wealth, right? And so…

Monique Lawshe:

Right.

Daniel Cocca:

… You put companies in these positions where you want them to do good, but at the same time, that’s not actually what their mandate is. And so it sounds like you need almost a perfect storm of political feeling, and companies like a Facebook or a Google that want to be more altruistic, and then an economy that says, hey, the discount that you’re getting on optimizing yield in this environment isn’t so great that you need to turn away from it. Because it sounds like, I think we could probably all agree, there’s a vast need for more affordable housing across the country. It’s incredibly under supplied. And so what is it in your opinion that gets us there with the understanding that I think it’ll probably be hard to ever get to a point where we feel like, hey, we have enough affordable housing? But what are the conditions that need to be in place to kind of get us on the right track back?

Monique Lawshe:

Well, I mean, there’s some things that can be done kind of sort of tweaks to the infrastructure. So without getting too deep into tax credits, there’s two types. You might hear of the nine percent and the four percent. And insure with nine percent, you get more equity but it’s a competitive process. So, it’s tax credits are allocated to each state based on the population of that state. So obviously, California has 40 million people, we get… And I forget what it is now. Let’s say if it’s two per person, we get… And the state gets 80 million in tax credits to allocate. Every year that I have been in this business, nine percent credits are oversubscribed. In other words, the state gets five applications for everyone that they can allocate credits to.

Monique Lawshe:

So if you’re the lucky competitive, and it’s highly competitive. To compete, you basically have to have enough pre development resources. To have site control, either you own property. You have some long term option that you control it, you have to have all of your zoning planning architecture done. And if you don’t, you don’t get the max points and you don’t compete well and you’re going to lose. So developers, nonprofit, for-profit, it doesn’t matter. They have to spend a lot just to play the game. And so you’ve got… But if I compete well, I get an allocation of nine percent credits, that translates into a significant amount of equity. Maybe a third, up to a third of the total capital I need for a deal.

Monique Lawshe:

On the four percent credits, it’s… Well, traditionally, it has been a non competitive process. So I want to build 100-unit affordable housing property in Fullerton using bonds, using taxes and bonds as the debt. And so if I get a bond inducement, which is not a competitive process, as long as there’s bond capacity, which is an another issue. But if I get a bond inducement, then I automatically get four percent credits. Okay, great. So, I get a little… I get less equity with the four percent credits, but I have to compete for them. So what happens is, the four percent isn’t a real four percent. It’s actually, it’s based on… I forget what the metric is, but it changes monthly, and it’s been riding around 3.3%. So one of the legislative things on the table right now is to “fix the four percent credit” so that you’re actually getting four percent. So that’s a tweak to a system, but it actually would result in resources that could produce more housing.

Monique Lawshe:

We’ve all heard more of late about the term workforce housing, and I think that’s both a marketing and political effort. I mean, everybody… We know that the teachers, policemen, firemen, all those sorts of folks need housing, and that tends to be more palatable to whoever is hearing it. People can relate to that. It’s not oh, those poor people over there. It’s like, oh, well, these are the people that educate our children and help us in the community. And so I feel like there are more… There are both more resources being directed to workforce housing, and more acceptance. It just makes it easier to get it done.

AdaPia d’Errico:

Does workforce housing… Oh, sorry, Daniel… Does workforce housing come with subsidies as well, because you’re saying it’s kind of like this marketing term? So then we start to get into like, all these different terms and all these different levels. And it’s really intricate, so…

Monique Lawshe:

Well, it really comes down to who if I’m a developer doing a tax credit deal, the highest income level that I can house are people at 60% area median income. So if I earn more than that as a household, I can’t live in tax credit housing. Frankly… And so that’s sort of the top level; you can have all 100 units at 60%. And those, a pure tax credit deal is typically not subsidized with the rental subsidy. So those are households, they have to pay real rent over what… If they work at Chick-Fil-A, or Macy’s, or whatever, whatever the combination of income, they’re paying rent. If I’m a developer competing on a nine percent application, I’m rewarded for… I get more points if I house lower income households. So you’ll see development proposals, tax credit deals with of the 100 units, okay 10% are going to be at 30% ami, at 20% are going to be at 50% ami, and the rest are going to be at 70% are going to be 60% ami.

Monique Lawshe:

So you can see, I mean, it gets complex as an operator just to monitor that, and you do have to monitor it. But that’s a way for both a developer to compete, and for a mix of households to get served. However, now I don’t have six… I don’t have 100 units, where every household has at least 60% ami. Now I’ve got some really, really poor households, so how are they going to pay the market rent in Fullerton? They either have to go to the housing authority and get a portable voucher from the Housing Authority, or they… Or the developer has to create some self subsidizing sort of. Has to include another source in their capital stack, which basically looks like a subsidy.

Monique Lawshe:

So tax credit deals that have kind of mixed targeting that I’m describing, they operate on the margin. Frankly, as developer, you hopefully you earn your developer fee. And you have, you’re building your portfolio of 100-unit properties, but they’re not big and they’re not big cash flowing properties. So you have to make some choices, again, based on location, the cost of the land, just the cost to get the development done. It’s absolutely going to need capital subsidies. In Southern California, you just can’t get around it and serve that low of an income.

Monique Lawshe:

The other option that we’ve had, and it’s been around for a long time. You’ve heard of 80… And you’ve heard of 80/20 deals, meaning 80%… A 20% of the units are targeted to lower income households. And there’s a mechanism, so part of the capital stack for that 80/20 deal is some tax exempt debt. And that, in some way keeps costs down. I’m not sure, Dan that I answered your question. I mean, it’s, there’s legislation to increase the resources. That’s, that we need both that, and we need to engage more sectors of the economy in this effort.

Daniel Cocca:

Well, like most social issues, it’s complex and complicated or so it seems. And one thing I’m curious about is, as an affordable housing sponsored developer, if we look at all the asset classes that sponsor and operate in and across the country, what percentage of folks like yourself are in the affordable housing space? What is it that kind of drives you into that world? Is it circumstance, that’s where you ended up? Is it something that you otherwise find gratifying outside of the economics? How do you think about all that?

Monique Lawshe:

I think there are… I know you caught me off guard on numbers. I don’t know how many affordable housing developers there are nationally. There are a lot, both nonprofit and for-profit. And by the way, we kind of jump forward. In terms of GHC, GHC is a for-profit company. We are not… We are definitely not nonprofit. Again, when I… My route was kind of, as I described, I just kind of ended up because I didn’t know about it. When I found out about the industry of affordable housing and realized a, that it can be very lucrative. And b, that during the 70s and 80s, a lot of people, a lot of guys mostly made a whole lot of money off of subsidized housing and HUD programs, and I was pissed. I was like, dang, I missed it.

Monique Lawshe:

But then I realized, I’m like, oh, but wait, all of those buildings that were built in the 70s and 80s, they’re going to need to be renovated, they’re going to turn in ownership. So there’s kind of another bite at the apple, kind of from my mercenary developer kind of mindset. But I think that one of the issues sort of with expanding the community of affordable housing developers is there is a constrained resource of these capital subsidies. So while there’s more interest in sort of more understanding of how to put these complex deals together, they’re still constrained resources at the… You name it, federal state city level, that kind of limit the amount of work that can be done, whether you’re for-profit or nonprofit developer. And really the only difference…

Monique Lawshe:

When I was at Community of friends, the only difference between me and my affordable housing for-profit sister was that I used the developer fees to fund the organization, to pay people salaries, and pay rent and those types of things rather than just spending them on expensive goods. It just didn’t… It didn’t go into… Developer fees didn’t go into my pocket. They went into the pocket of the organization. But I think that there’s enough, there’s so much work to be done. No matter what city we’re in, almost everywhere needs affordable housing. So, it’s just a matter of trying to figure out how to do it most efficiently in the location you’re in.

Daniel Cocca:

One thing that is somewhat timely is that we’re currently working on this affordable housing deal in Chicago, and I know you’ve kind of taken a look at it. And that is a deal run by a for-profit sponsor, and 70% of the rental revenues is voucher based. And I think a lot of our investors as we look at that deal, just have questions around not just the political environment, but all of these potential budget deficits that are maybe a result of COVID. Is it market specific in terms of how important is the affordable housing chunk of that budget? And should we expect it to increase or decrease? Or is it something happening at the federal level? What are expectations from you about how COVID, and local state budgets are going to impact the way groups like this can operate, specifically in the voucher space?

Monique Lawshe:

Well, that’s a great question. So every year, HUD’s budget is put together with the federal budget, and which comes out beginning of October. And because of my focus over the last several years, I’ve been more focused on the project-based line item in the HUD budget, which has stayed flat for the most part over a long… Over an 18-year period, it hasn’t increased much, it hasn’t decreased significantly. But what I saw happening on the tenant voucher, so tenant voucher has their own line item in the HUD budget. And so what happens is HUD allocates funding that tenant voucher funding goes to local housing authorities to distribute. And what I was seeing happening is the tenant line item was getting cut. Not huge cuts, but it was kind of being whittled away the amount of money that would go to the local housing authorities.

Monique Lawshe:

I don’t know the formula, like how much each housing authority gets but I’m pretty sure it’s based on the population of a given city. But it’s never enough, and that’s why you hear about waiting lists at the house. If people in LA, I think LA had like a three-year waiting list at one point, where you go apply for a voucher, and it could be three years before they call and say, “Hey, we’ve got one for you.” So the effect of COVID is… I don’t know. It’s a scary thing because I’m almost more concerned at our state level, the city level for LA, we have the bond measure. And frankly, I think a lot of that money has been committed to deal. So once that’s done, there’s the nothing new.

Monique Lawshe:

Then what happens to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund that the city had, it has for years been trying to really get to a meaningful level. It’s probably not going to happen now, and that was filling some gaps, or other programs at the state certainly will be affected. So it’s, so I see affordable housing advocates kind of gearing up for a fight, frankly, to hold on to the resources. Then all of that is overlaid by the fact that we’re going to have an administration change. And frankly, I relaxed about five years into my career in terms of, it doesn’t matter if there’s a Democrat or a Republican at whatever level. I can honestly say, I haven’t seen it. Where it makes a difference is if you get a politician who really doesn’t care about affordable housing. I mean, who was it that raided the… I forget which of our governors raided the CRA, the Community Reinvestment. Not community, the Community Redevelopment Agencies in California, were set up to do affordable housing.

Monique Lawshe:

Well, many of them didn’t, because the communities didn’t want it. So there were millions of dollars sitting in the coffers of various, usually small towns throughout California. And the governor came and took those funds. It’s probably about… I don’t know, 10 years ago, and they got disseminated for other uses, many of which weren’t housing. So I think the deal that we’re looking at in Chicago, the tenants, as I understand it are getting Housing Choice vouchers, which is just another name for tenant-based vouchers. My feeling is that there’ll be every effort to kind of maintain rather than cut what is there. The difficulty is going to be, is there any increase in that line item? And that’s where we need political will. And frankly, right now we have a HUD Secretary who doesn’t know what he’s doing. He’s been virtually silent on this very issue, like this would be the time for him to speak up.

Monique Lawshe:

But I can say on the… Just generally speaking on, in the terms of the level of poverty in this country, there hasn’t been the political will to cut the project base, because what are you going to do? You have seniors’ housing and family housing. So can you imagine the political outcry if you cut for seniors, for poor seniors? You basically could throw a grandma on the street. That’s how we talk about it in our industry. That’s not going to happen. It hasn’t happened, not likely to happen. The vouchers have been a little easier to cut because there’s not that kind of direct link. So I think that’s an issue that we just have to watch in our industry, and frankly, that we’ve got to keep some level of political pressure collectively to make sure that the HUD budget is not slashed in those areas.

AdaPia d’Errico:

Wow, Monique, it’s so complex. I mean, there’s so many things that go into. It’s not just affordable housing. I mean, it’s the fabric of society. It’s our seniors, it’s people with mental health issues, it’s people who can’t buy food. I kind of get emotional about it, because it’s just, it’s so much. And for you, I mean, we didn’t really talk about how you got into GHC. But you guys are for-profit developers, and you’ve been doing this for a long time. How do you kind of feel, or is there like an emotional like personal connection for you with what you’re doing, and with for what developers are doing in terms of contributing to a level of decent housing and living for people?

Monique Lawshe:

Well, let’s just real quick. The way that I got to GHC is one of my contractors, general contractors who I had worked with over the years at Community of Friends, and we were pretty good friends told me there was a guy looking for somebody that could run numbers. And I was like, well, okay, let me meet him and see what he’s looking for and keep him away from my staff. Because I’ve been there about eight years, I had groomed a lot of young men and women in project management. And not not only me, but my peers, my peer CEO and directors, and the banks and the tax credits syndicators would come and steal away the staff with higher salaries.

Monique Lawshe:

Anyway, so my thought was, let me see, meet this guy, see what he wants, and maybe I can refer him to somebody. And I met Greg Perlman, and two things he said to me. One, he said that he wanted to be the biggest owner of subsidized housing in the country. And I was like, wow, this guy has a vision. Then he said he had a $25 million line of credit, which is, we laugh about this. I think he was a little overselling. But I’m like, he because while I enjoyed what I was doing, I was… I knew I was making a difference in the city of LA. I had great staff, but it was just hard. It’s like constantly on the wheel for the new, the new deal, the new development deal. The fight with the council office. I mean, there’s always something.

Monique Lawshe:

And so when I understood what Greg wanted to do and that he had some resources, I’m like, “Sure, I know somebody that can help you.” And that he was going to operate on the national platform. So I’m like, wow, I get to take my affordable housing experience, I get to apply it nationally. And I think so that appealed to me, and I still get to be doing something good. So that appealed to me. And in the beginning, I had… I think Community of Friends had developed at least… I don’t know, six or seven buildings ground up while I was there. So I like that, I like seeing a piece of dirt go from that to a building. And Greg said, “Oh, yeah, we can. Yeah, I mean, we can do some development.

Monique Lawshe:

Well, after several years in, that wasn’t happening and I’m like, “Well, Greg, what about development?” He’s like, “Monique, we buy buildings. They’re full of people, the rent is paid now.” He’s like, “I’m not really into the market risk.” So I kind of drank the Kool Aid, but I’m like, well, at least, we actually are preserving. We’re taking these buildings that were built in the 70s, and the 80s, and 80s and we’re preserving. That not only just preserving them, but updating them. I think in the early 2000s, we were one of the first affordable housing developers to put movie screening rooms in our developments. We’d have fitness rooms, we’d have movie screening, we’d have small offices where there could be wellness visits.

Monique Lawshe:

Even though we did not have a special needs population, we allied with a management company that had a Social Service Group. And there were case managers, because they had… There were a lot of seniors. We initially bought two portfolios that included a lot of senior housing, and we left the management company that the seller had in place, and we had a service program. And so I was able to kind of continue that work of not only offering an affordable place to live but also some support services. Maybe 10 years in to GHC, we got to a level of… We think we were up to 10,000 units, and then it made sense for us to self manage.

Monique Lawshe:

And as it worked out, that guy whose management company we were using elected to sell his affordable portfolio in total. And we took on the management team that had been working with us anyway, so they stayed. They were in Cleveland, so they stayed in Cleveland and they continued to support us. And it was a pretty smooth transition, so that so… So, I enjoy being associated with the company. And having close contact now with our management team, which also offers services.

Monique Lawshe:

The other thing that we did, maybe 12 years in, Greg created a foundation. So he was at dinner, he was in LA. He took some low income kids. And we have a couple of properties in LA, not many. And he took some kids; they were all young black men. Boys were in their teams. Took them to dinner, and he heard their stories and he was touched by their stories. And he’s like, “Wow, these kids really need help.” And so, he created a foundation. And the first year, we offered scholarships. We had, I don’t know, like maybe 10 or 12,000 units across the country. We offered scholarships to any graduating senior who had gotten themselves into any two or four-year institution. You know how many applicants we got out of 12,000 units? And I don’t know how many people. They were nine, we got nine applications. Then the next year, we’re like, okay, maybe the word didn’t get spread. Let’s try again with the managers, and we got a few more but not, still not a lot.

Monique Lawshe:

Then he opened it up to kids that lived… With kids that lived in communities where we were operating, and we partnered with local nonprofits that focus on education. We’re like, okay, you identify the kids. We don’t care where they’re coming from, but they got to be poor. They got to be poor, and they’ve got to have gotten themselves through high school and into college. And it was through high school and into college was the help of the local like minds matter, is one that we work with in LA.

Monique Lawshe:

Now flash forward to 2020, where we would be if everything else weren’t going on, we would be having our five-day session. We did it for five years at UCLA, and then we did one at Loyola Marymount, where the kids come for a week to UCLA. They just get kind of an experience of being on campus, and taking everything from rope climbing classes to… We’ve had different speakers come in and talk to the kids. I come in with the guys, with my partners who are all white, and talk about making it in a white man’s world. That’s the topic of my speech. So we have now 500 kids who are… I think we had our first cohort graduate from college two years ago. So now we have 500 kids, we continue to support. Not full scholarship. They have to… They get other scholarship money, but we support them. We mentor them. Now I’m talking, I remember I haven’t called my mentee in a while, but just trying to keep them… So it’s gone beyond the housing, and we’re trying to get to the more systemic issues.

Monique Lawshe:

And the other thing, the other motivation that came out of this, we own probably the last subsidized housing on the beach in California. So in Venice there are 250 units of subsidized housing in our Brisas Del Mar property, and they’re… That it’s not one big building. They’re I think, eight different locations scattered site. But when I first joined Greg, he was trying to refinance that. It had this HUD held debt that could not be prepaid. And I mean, the mortgage was down to like almost nothing. And it was a whole fight with the… HUD had this… I mean, it was just this HUD’s stupid rule that you couldn’t prepay this debt. You had to ride it out for the 40 years, and you couldn’t… There was some other aspects to that, let’s just say that were unappealing. And so we wanted out of that debt, and we wanted to put new debt on.

Monique Lawshe:

Well, we went to meet with HUD, and the tenants got word of it and they came. The tenants, they hated Greg and they hated his partner because they were convinced that he was going to kick them out. He’s going to tear it down. He’s going to build condos, or whatever. It was in Venice, so no matter what he said, they weren’t convinced. But that really was his intent, was to extend the subsidy contract. And so finally we were able to work with HUD to pay off that debt, to get the subsidy extended. But in going through that process, I met with the residents, and they were they really upset. They’re like, well, we’ve lived here. This woman, she’s like, “Well, I’ve been here 30 years. My mother was here and I’m here.” I’m like, wait a minute, this was not supposed to be multi-generational. How?

Monique Lawshe:

I mean, it was not supposed intended to house next generation and next generation. It was intended to help one generation get on its feet, and get out and open up the space for another. And it just, it just hit me. It’s like, well, they don’t know. There’s nowhere else to go, and they haven’t been trained. They obviously don’t have the education level that’s allowed them to move out of this poverty situation, so part of our always up effort is to kind of end the cycle. How do we end the cycle and get people out of thinking they really did have ownership of their subsidized housing unit, but the whole idea of hey, I’m supposed to move on, had been lost years ago? And that’s a problem.

AdaPia d’Errico:

Wow. And you touched on so many, like you said, they’re systemic issues. I mean, the fact that you only had nine applications from thousands of people doesn’t speak… It just speaks to the fact that they don’t think they can, which is something that’s just becoming so evident right now and what everyone… Not everyone, but I think a lot more people than ever before really fighting to fix.

Monique Lawshe:

And it’s, and it became… So, I’m a reader of the applications. And as we got more over the years and we started partnering with these other community-based organs whose mission is education driven, I could tell. When I got an application from one of our resident kids who hadn’t been supported through one of those programs versus a poor kid in East LA, who had been supported, it was just, it was a more well written application, the vision was greater. I mean, there’s just so much work to do. So we’re doing what we can and just to kind of trying to move folks along, move society along.

AdaPia d’Errico:

Yeah, that’s amazing. It’s just amazing work that you’re doing with the developing. And I know for us at Alpha, there’s, we all have a very strong social component to us. And in terms of giving back, and a lot of the people that are looking at this, this property that we’re offering, or it’s a portfolio. But it speaks to people on a different level. I mean, yes, there’s returns. You were in, and its for-profit. You got into development. I mean, you can do both. And I feel like in affordable housing, and then on top of it a company like yours is doing these programs, you can really do so much when you are in a position to want to do it. And I just think that’s… I think that’s beautiful, and it’s almost… I’ll say it’s almost our responsibility to do that because we can. It’s just great. It’s just so great to hear.

AdaPia d’Errico:

And just really quickly before we wrap up, even the for-profit developer that we’re working with, I mean, they create community and they create, I think it’s like a coupon program to support local businesses. And so to try to create a sense of not ownership in terms of what you were saying, like I own this subsidized property, but just pride of living in a beautiful place that hopefully helps them get to that next level. So, all of this is just so amazing. To wrap up, we always kind of ask all of our guests, what does wealth mean to you? I mean, we’ve talked about so many things, affordable housing related but you’ve got into the developing that you wanted to get into. But just in general, how do you think about wealth and building wealth?

Monique Lawshe:

I had to look at my notes and put my glasses on. Well, first of all, I just want to say that I feel so blessed that I don’t know many people wake up and say they like their jobs. And I’ve been able to say that for 30 years. I mean, that’s incredible. And it never, and I never get tired of real estate. Even though this is a niche of real estate, I just never get tired of it. I just think it’s always interesting. In terms of building wealth, I’ve been very fortunate my entire life. I’m not… I didn’t… Well, it’s funny. When my dad, when I was literally a little girl, he had a gas station and he used to come home with pockets full of cash. So I thought we were rich, and I’m an only child. And my mom… Both parents worked, and so I always had… I never lacked for anything. And my parents for whatever reason, they like to travel, and they would take me. So I’ve been Mexico, Canada, Caribbean. And by the time I was 10, I’ve been a lot of places.

Monique Lawshe:

So I think when I saw that question… But I’m looking at my written response… I think building wealth is critical in this society that we’re living in. Maybe if we, like literally could… Wouldn’t have to sell the shores, I could just be by the seashore and collect seashells and eat, and life would be happy. But in this society, especially the Southern California society, we need money, we need resources. And the less that we have, the more limiting life can be. And so, what do I think is important about building wealth? I think wealth determines where you can live, where you can go. Meaning like, go visit. I can’t vacation, I can’t go see different people in different places if I don’t have any money. And that exposing one to other cultures is, I think the easiest way to see that people really aren’t that different. If you stay in your bubble in South Central or who knows where corner of Montana, you don’t see that there are a lot of ways people are the same.

Monique Lawshe:

The other thing about wealth is it determines the level of education from public school versus private school. I mean, I don’t have any children, but if I did, there’s no way if I could avoid sending them to public school in LA, I would, which is sad. I went to public school from kindergarten through eighth grade, and it was great. And I was in a good school system. And of course, my mother worked in that school system. So, I mean, that helped. But then, then because she worked in that school system, she insisted that I go into a Catholic High School in another town, which I didn’t want to do, but it was the best thing because I got a good solid education that prepared me for Purdue, which was wild, which is…

Monique Lawshe:

So I think if you don’t have access to resources, you’re not going to get the best education. And that frames who you associate with, the ivy League’s versus the state school. I mean, it really… I mean, there’s just so many levels that that your level of wealth or not impacts your health. Obviously, what we’re seeing with COVID. I get upset with my dad, who’s 95, and unfortunately he’s in Virginia in Hampton Virginia, so Southern Virginia. He’s still driving and so, and he has my credit card, so I can see where he goes. I can still. So I can… I don’t need the thing that you track teens. I got Visa, I can see where he goes. And he lives kind of in just a calm little neighborhood, very basic. And so he’s… I see these charges to Food Lion and Save-a-Lot and my reaction is oh, my God, you’re going to the places when people that had bad insurance or no insurance in the first place are going? Would you please… But it’s convenient, and so for him and it’s close.

Monique Lawshe:

But yeah, I mean, wealth or not informs so many things in our society from the level of education, to level of medical care you get, to just being able to do and buy fun stuff. So I think it’s not the, be all and end all. I mean, health is way more important than wealth. But in some way, you got to have some wealth to get the health. I mean, this society has just gotten so out of balance, and it really does… I hear it have an impact on potential safety for everybody. So it’s hard to see everything that we’re going through right now in the society, but it’s so necessary because I think the course we were on is, it’s going to be so detrimental for everybody. It’s like the super wealthy… Forget the one percent… The point one percent, they can wall themselves off if they want to. But if the whole society crumbles, that’s not going to help them. Anyway, that’s my two cents on wealth.

AdaPia d’Errico:

That was profound to say the least. It’s so important to frame it that way. Like you said, it’s not the, be all and end all, but it is a vehicle for achieving a lot of things. First and foremost, education, and health, and safety and opportunities. So yeah, it’s, it definitely aligns with the way that I think about it. So, it was really beautifully said.

Monique Lawshe:

Well, thank you.

AdaPia d’Errico:

Yeah. Yeah. Well, Monique, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us today. And just so much information for everybody, who I’m sure has learned a lot. And I think one of the things that came through the strongest for me was just how much meaning and heart is in you, and also in your company. And it just makes me feel so good that there are developers out there that have that. And it’s not necessarily the way everyone thinks of developers. But I think you’ve really shown a different kind of light on what it means to work in affordable housing, and how much of a difference people can make. So, thank you so much.

Monique Lawshe:

Well, you’re welcome. My pleasure. And I so enjoyed the short time that I’ve been on the board, and been able to work with Falk. And you guys, and so I want nothing but the best for Alpha.

AdaPia d’Errico:

Aww, thank you. Yeah. Yeah. Well, we’re going strong. So, yeah. So thank you again, so much, and I will talk to you really soon.

Daniel Cocca:

Yeah, thanks Monique, great episode!

Monique Lawshe:

All right. You’re welcome. All right. You guys both know where I can find it.

AdaPia d’Errico:

Okay.

Monique Lawshe:

All right. All right. Take care.

AdaPia d’Errico:

Thanks for tuning in to Real Wealth Real health. We hope that you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, and found it both informative and insightful. We welcome all your questions and your feedback about today’s episode. And especially, we welcome your questions about specific topics that you would like us to cover. So shoot us an email at [email protected] And if you have a moment, we’d really appreciate ratings and reviews as it helps us grow our online community and our interactions with you. And we’ll also be linking to a number of relevant articles on topics that we might have touched on during our conversations. Some of them are broad, some of them are technical, but we’re always aiming to provide information that helps you better understand the mechanics of building this healthy financial foundation, especially if you’re looking to do this with real estate.