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Planting the Seed in Affordable Housing

Looking out of my office window and anticipating the snow’s disappearance, I am anxiously awaiting the emergence of my flowering bulbs.  I was reminded of how my three little boys and I planted the seeds and bulbs last year.  Even more important was the memory of how much fun it was when we all worked together.  The boys were very excited and couldn’t wait to see the results of their labor.  And how does this relate to affordable housing?  Planting the seed often has far-reaching and better results than we originally may have anticipated.

Part of your Management Occupancy Review (MOR) is the aesthetics of your property.  HUD wants to know if their assets are well-maintained and marketable?  There are two ways to approach this: 1) can this requirement of the MOR be satisfied  2) can we get our tenant community involved in making our quality of life better?  In getting our tenants involved in the process, we can educate our tenants about our ecological environment and also be a part of beautifying their community.  The gap between the O/A and tenant relationship can be bridged to a great degree by gaining the respect of your tenants, which in the end makes the job that much easier.  Gaining your tenants’ respect takes leadership skills, which can be accomplished by motivation and empowerment.  This concept started my thinking process.  Why not lead your tenants through a beautification project, getting them involved and eventually causing your property to stand out above the rest.  Maybe I watch too much HGTV, but it seems to me that building planter boxes is not very difficult.  They are very inexpensive, look great under windows or in existing planting beds and are easy to maintain.  There may even be some HUD Grant opportunities available to fund the project through HUD’s Green Initiative.

Enhancing the physical environment and quality of life through beautification projects and community events evokes pride in oneself.  Pride in oneself causes a natural progression to pride in one’s home.  Why not take this leadership role to the next level and make the community brighter with the gift of self-empowerment and an improved quality of life?

Here are some suggestions to get the ball rolling.  Get a sign-up sheet; post it on your website; include the posting in your newsletter.  Lead your tenants to a beautification initiative which will promote and increase self-esteem and a knowledge of their ecological environment.

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