Dear Friends of OCCH,
On April 1, I had the honor of stepping into the role of OCCH President following two months of shadowing Hal Keller, who is, as you know, an iconic leader respected nationally for his contributions to affordable housing. Thank you to the board for their confidence and to the OCCH staff for their warm welcome. I can tell you, we haven’t paused and we won’t: there is much to do to make sure we continue our 30 year history of leadership in the development, construction and preservation of housing. In May, we will celebrate our 30th anniversary, and it is no mistake that “Momentum” is the theme.
Here is what we have been up to:
Meetings with investors, developers and partner organizations have dominated my schedule. From Columbus to St. Louis to Raleigh, Chicago, Tampa, Louisville and Cincinnati, I have witnessed our colleagues – chiefly Hal, Jon Welty, Jack Kukura, Tony DiBlasi, Merydith Greene and Jennifer Mullaney – tell the OCCH story and have begun to add my own touch to that. I watched our team work through the OHFA 9% credit application deadline with our developers. Most impressively, I have seen the response of those partners. To a person, they express their admiration for our organization, the way we do our job, and the quality of the relationships and our performance. I’ve been proud to be a part of the team and I assure you that our focus on service and relationship will remain core to OCCH and who we are. The results of this work have been strong: developers and investors remain committed and enthusiastic. Thirteen new projects have closed just in the first quarter of this year and we are on pace for $300 million in investment throughout our footprint. In addition, we have been cultivating relationships with new investors, developers and partners.
More partners have begun to schedule meetings and tours to introduce me to the work they share with OCCH. I’ve participated in ribbon-cuttings and groundbreakings and events, and I’m thrilled to continue that along with our staff in the coming months.
None of this good news is possible without the people of OCCH. We have a strong set of talented, committed professionals across the organization.
I held department roundtables and a CPO leadership meeting to listen to our staff in smaller groups and give them the chance to meet me. The teams have been candid, warm and full of smart ideas. Community Properties of Ohio’s annual staff retreat and an OCCH leadership off-site session, both this month, further unleash our collegial power to continue to innovate to meet the needs of our neighbors for safe, decent affordable housing. In fact, staff-driven improvements to our internal project approval processes launch in May because we are always looking for ways to improve our internal and external client experiences.
We joined with OHFA to present the second annual Race for a Place (to Call Home) on April 6 with more than 400 participants from Ohio, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia and the Starting at Home Conference focused on research, policy and practice in Columbus April 17-18. Richard Rothstein, author of The Color of Law is one of the Starting at Home keynote speakers and registration for lunch and his address is available for only $50 if you aren’t able to attend the full conference. Here are details: eiseverywhere.com/website/1663.
April 9-10, we hosted the Seventh Annual M2CON for more than 300 site managers and maintenance technicians at affordable housing properties. These are the frontline staff in our affordable communities and we are happy to recognize their achievements and foster best practice sharing.
There will be an OCCH reception to introduce me to partners and community leaders in Cleveland on April 22, 4:30-7 pm at the Marriott downtown. Be sure to let us know if you will attend.
The 30th Anniversary Celebrations with Partners and Investors (May 22-23) are shaping up to be very special and we hope to see you there. Happily, Hal will remain with us through the end of this year working on special projects and supporting the transition, which gives us all the chance to continue recognizing OCCH’s achievements so far and the future we are creating together with you.