NHPF-Authored Articles & Industry Reports

Affordable Housing News, Spring 2018 More Than a Roof: In An Uncertain Climate, One of Affordable Housing’s Key Players Presses On (continued)

and Amazon to provide for its senior residents at The Roundtree Residences and Bolton North Apartments, which include 91 and 209 senior units, respectively. “We are placing Amazon Echo [devices] in the apartments of seniors in two of our buildings, and the results are terrific,” Burns says. “They get reminders for everything from medications to weather. There’s someone to talk to and there’s someone to get information from. It gives them less solitude and less of a feeling of isolation.” Based on the success of this initiative at The Roundtree Residences and Bolton North, Burns anticipates an expansion of the program to senior residents at some of The NHP Foundation’s other properties. “The seniors have responded so well to it, it has been exciting,’’ he says. “We are hoping to really expand the program.” CULTIVATING COMPANY CULTURE Internally, The NHP Foundation has been focusing on creating a positive workplace that enhances company culture. “A couple years ago, we brought in a corporate consultant to do leadership training, which turned out to be very beneficial to our leadership team,” Burns says. “We morphed that into working with the same consultant on our corporate culture, and it has dramatically changed the organization in a lot of areas.” Burns says he hopes this focus on improving the workplace at The NHP Foundation will help foster collaboration and develop a positive work environment. “The culture I want to have is one where people wake up every day and look forward to going to work-not just for the work they’re doing, but also because they like who they work with,” Burns says. Through it all, The NHP Foundation is working to foster innovations to spur the continued effectiveness of the affordable housing sector. Even in the face of uncertainty, Burns says he is optimistic about the future. “There usually is not a vacuum in any business that at some point does not get filled,” he says. ‘’I will predict that there will be some new creative solutions to the problems emerging in 2018 because the critical need for affordable housing seems to be on everybody’s mind.”

“Whenever you do business with not-for-profits or with churches, they have a lot of interests, needs, concerns and fears,” he says. “I think that we have been able to demonstrate our ability to be sensitive to those areas and to work collaboratively with them.” A FOCUS ON WORKFORCE HOUSING The NHP Foundation continues to press on toward its goal of delivering housing and services to people who need it most. A primary focus of the organization is figuring out how to address the problem of creating more workforce housing intended for households who earn between 60 percent and 120 percent of a community’s area median income. “There is a huge amount of institutional capital from investors who are buying these older properties and really moving the rents up in such a way that they are not as affordable to the existing residents as we would like them to be,” Burns says. “I think that if there could be a saving factor, it would be if we could get additional subsidies for workforce housing.” The NHP Foundation offers a wide range of services to the residents who live in its communities, including after-school programs, financial workshops, wellness education and summer camps. All of these programs fall in line with The NHP Foundation’s commitment to provide more than just a roof to its residents. “We give people a roof, but where we really prove our mission is by giving people programs that improve the quality of their lives,” Burns says. “These are programs where people are starting a savings account for the first time in their lives, kids are moving up a grade level in reading and math and people are working on better diets and living healthier lives.”

Burns is especially enthusiastic about a new program through which the organization has partnered with the AARP Foundation


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