Speaker Series with Priscilla Almodovar, CEO of Enterprise Community Partners

September 29, 2020




Priscilla Almodovar:

One similarity throughout my 30 plus year career has been finance and project finance in particular. I came upon affordable housing and real estate somewhat serendipitously. After being in the private sector, I worked on a gubernatorial campaign not knowing anything about policy and how government impacts housing decisions and other areas of government. And I become hooked very quickly. The work and housing, it's just as sophisticated as any other project finance transaction I had worked on before, so before I was financing airports and toll roads, now I'm financing real estate transactions.


So when cobbling different pieces of capital and the case of affordable housing, very often it's private capital like capital we receive from your banks but it's also government subsidy again to keep the rents affordable. I just became hooked very quickly. And also, it sounds trite but it's also very impactful. And it's resonated with me, I feel like I'm able to make a difference in people's lives and communities, and it's bringing my finance experience to bear just to do my part.


When you look at our country's housing policy, it is inherently systemically racist. When you look back at the real estate deed covenants that go way back, when you look at red lining, when you go back, if you were a veteran, you could not get a mortgage if you were Black.


So I am very comfortable with it and I speak about it because the facts speak for themselves. And that history of our country's housing policy still lingers today. Again, the facts speak for themselves. When you look at the homeless population today, there are about 500,000 people who are homeless today. That number's probably higher now with COVID, but 500,000. Blacks make up about 13% of our population, yet they make up 40% of those who are homeless.


Someone said to me the other day that Enterprise should do what it did to green in advancing racial equity in our industry. So what does that mean? What does it mean in terms of how we behave as an owner or operator? What does that mean in how we engage our residents and the community? How do we share power with them so that in the resident services that we provide and the supports we provide them where we're providing what they need rather than what we think they need. So that's something that right now, we just went through our strategic plan, and we're talking about those issues. What does it mean for us to advance racial equity both as a process, again, how we do our business differently, but also as an outcome as well.

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