taken a seminar or had a mentor to educate you about what you didn’t know. Independent investor housing providers, as a collective, have a critical role in helping others learn what they don’t know. You also have the opportunity to be an advocate for your renters. The impact may be counterintuitive; it will shift the dialogue so you, the housing provider, are not

the villain. The real problem is the system of regulations and requirements with which housing providers need to comply, complicating the availability of assistance and keeping those they’re intended to help trapped in their circumstance. The real villain is the system at-large. It bullies renters with income-limit programs that prevent self-betterment. It bullies housing providers by passing laws that empower unelected appointees to force unfair rules and policies that add red tape and jeopardize financial freedom. The momentum of over-regulation is gaining strength in the absence of an organized collective response by independent investors. The need is now greater than ever to join the national conversation and reframe public opinion. Your story is necessary to change that momentum with new solutions to systemic problems. Individual investors hold a substantial amount of unrealized influence in the marketplace nationwide. You control the majority of low-cost rental housing, nearly 17 million properties with a total-unit count of 22.7 million across the United States. And each of you have your own stories of helping renters. Those stories deserve their own forum. Without them, inertia will predictably continue to gain strength through public opinion, creating a wedge between housing providers and renters. As someone who’s worn many hats — housing provider, renter, and impoverished taxpayer — I’ve experienced hardship and struggle wearing each. I’ve advocated to elevate the industry at the state and local level. Our stories can withstand scrutiny and offer unique insights for new solutions on housing and poverty. Systemic change needs national support. That begins with small steps toward a big vision to capture the HARNESSING THE POWER OF INDIVIDUAL INVESTORS

low-cost housing because the free market is incapable has been a long-time held belief that is patently false. Some quick stats on government Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Projects (LIHTC) housing:

• Per-unit costs ranged between $126,000 to $326,000.

• 50,000 low-income units were added annually between 2011-2015 (GAO-02-76). • 70+ percent of units to low-income households also require additional subsidy from the Housing Choice Voucher program to be affordable. • 95 percent of the tax credits go to corporations and not individual investors.

The Cliff Notes version: Two taxpayer-funded subsidies combined are necessary to provide one unit of low-income housing at more than double market rate cost.


As majority and primary suppliers for low-cost housing, independent investors can elevate the industry and add much-needed supply for low-cost affordable housing. The strength of your collective voice will serve as a catalyst to transform systemic causes of poverty and housing-cost burdens. Advocating for self, for renters, and for common sense supply-side policy for small-unit properties will propel change that is needed to improve the marketplace and provide added supply of low-cost rental units. The key to effective advocacy involves education and action. When you first became a property investor, you undoubtedly did a lot of research and learning. You scrutinized the marketplace to make sure you were competitive with other offerings. You may have even

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