Focus on the Upstate 113 - Homes of Hope - 7/22/18

Focus on the Upstate
Sunday, July 22nd
Don Oglesby, President and CEO, shares how Homes of Hope constructs affordable housing virtually indistinguishable from conventional homes while at the same time providing crucial employment skills for men recovering from addiction.

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Welcome to focus on the upstate a program dedicated to informing you about organizations that serve our community. And how you can get involved with him. Here's your host Chris Evans. Good morning welcome to focus on the upstate my name is Chris Evans today my guest is Don Oglesby the president and CEO of homes of hope. Good morning Donna good morning thank you for being here thank you for having me like it's my pleasure. I'm interested to learn about homes of hope because I had not heard of this organization we are talking before the program. And you'll tell me it's your twentieth anniversary. It is an expert Phil Obama really well we've made that alone I can't be adult. But I'm glad to hear congratulations twenty years we're gonna talk about that the first don't wanna ask you to the question that I normally ask a guest. Run up that is what do you do. And who do you do at fort tells about homes of hope. Thank you I'm glad to do that. So we do two things primarily. By our name obviously we do affordable housing and that's pretty easy to figure out what a lot of people don't know is we also have a workforce. Development program for me in overcoming addiction so. The two things turned around on parallel tracks the menace workforce development program is all about training them for the construction industry but it's also. But Christ center program so when they come out of another Christ centered program that's a shelter. Yeah they're homeless and addicted. And they graduate that program that qualify for our program and we. Take these many end for a whole year we feed them close them or don't charge him anything they live with us well and we work come every day in the construction industry teaching them job skills that are marketable our goal. Is not just to get these guys clean and sober because we found in the past that that's good. But it doesn't always last because if you don't have a good job and you're just working flipping burgers or entry level wages. You're the first got to get laid often times get hard and then sometimes that makes you go back to your old way so. Our program is. Partnered with Greenville tech when we work our guys on the job and when we. Teach him in the classroom. It's endorsed by Greenville tech has a curriculum that's acceptable to them. And so when our guys graduate they've built at least four houses a year will build fifty or sixty year. But four of them are built by the men in our program and when they graduate they've done that. They've graduated all the classes that we in role in men with Kringle tech as well as other classes that we conduct herself. So that our guys when they graduate employers are clamoring the entire army and they literally we have five employers who get mad. We don't call them. When a guy graduates because they are so hungry for our workers are workers are taught to have a good attitude to the good work ethic and certainly have skills. I remember. Years ago and we just our guys had a renovate homes and that's pretty cool right but it's not a real skill you know any running terror at all it and replace it. So when we really well I didn't see you say if I had it down mite activity either really. But when you elevate that to a marketable skill where a guy really has the skills to move up and make your career path yet. I remember Brad was one of the first guys that went through our program after we. Partnered retrieval tech and he knew about our program before that was a graduating guy. Learn how led renovate homes and learn how to be clean and sober and walked that lifestyle well which is all right. But when we elevated that to a skill and all employers will on the type thirteen fourteen dollars an hour to start. Verses 750 or eight dollars an hour. It made all the difference brick came to me and said Don you gave me something I've never had before. And a fully expected him we've graduated 303 guys are hammers to. And yet he he thought he usually I would expect to got to say is gave me a new way to look at life she gave me a new attitude. He said you gave me a skill and nobody can take that away from me is something I've never had before and people are willing to pay me for I never forgot that. Is that made the difference in him really moving up. And injuring the workforce with a career path as something that'll be sustainable and successful. A 100%. Of our men that graduate our programs since which partner would Greenville tech. Are still employed and still clean and sober Villa. There's another fantastic yeah must programs like their cross country if you get a 50% success rate you're doing pretty good it's a rousing success a 100% of organizing care NT to get a job when they graduate our program. Because of the employers or that hunger for our man. And they know that our manner quipped so I wanna say all led to say that the affordable housing pace obviously is prone what weren't. Most known for that I wanna talk about that too. So other than the four houses that are men build we build a 5060. Houses a year over the state were actually the largest single family nonprofit affordable housing developer in the state where old. Columbia we're about to start building there were got some projects in Charleston that Mostar. Building has been in the upstate and we're from Greenville so we love Greeneville and we'd rather be here than anywhere else. But we've built 605 houses so far. We've got about a 120 some odd in the pipeline so we've got a lot going on. The thing that is important to us at affordable housing there's several things are important. The one problem is that we don't build affordable housing in concentrated areas. When I call pockets of poverty or poverty clusters we've all seen them. We know that they're not a good idea yet we've tolerated them for years where Hud will build how arise or. The old mill villages were nobody wants to live there except the lowest income people. This image that we have and our mind when we hear the word affordable housing. My goal is one day that. Affordable housing is not something people think they can see the subtle something people would enjoy an economic benefit in other words. You're in common Mayan come if we write our check to our landlord or mortgage company we will look at that number sack can afford this feels good. So for housing should be for all income groups therefore when we develop we really are developing what we call mixed income housing. We will not put. Our low income families in clustered or it's isolated area and we were really really intentional about building market quality housing so. I don't want our houses to be ended due to be distinguishable from the market when you ride by look at the homes of hope house you should think hey that's a nice market right. House yeah and so when we build our housing right next door to an interspersed with the market. It becomes a neighborhood community then this way more successful. In the past things that we've always thought love when we heard the term affordable housing. Then it's mixed income ministers communities and just neighbors. Living together in the last piece that I will push here and let you ask me question. But is the idea that most of the families that we need to. Are in need of them. What we call social capital. Okay and he think about somebody wants a number one reason people stay in poverty it's not dollars necessarily its social capital it's connections that come with. Living next door to somebody who's a banker or lawyer or a travel agent or whatever and employment you can mention they're living next to people who do have connections in right the world in the marketplace and so. We intentionally have every family we all for the mall won't call financial wellness training. We start with the basics the three d.s budgeting banking and building assets so now they choose can pay. And afford you or rent or your house payment. Well we gonna do let's start saving some money to start working on a budget let's start thinking about going back to school and get the GE. In a rolling on the job training program maybe you have a dream to start a small business all kinds of thanks be a homeowner if you're rancher. Things like that are growing and building assets for families that can move them out of poverty situation. We're all about that we are not going to. Hand somebody a key to a house and say that's the end of our relationship for us it's the beginning. Our relationship and we're friends family Sydor bin win this 56 years. That will still be enrolled in this and they're working at their own pace fewer than three jobs and have three kids. EE donate to be in her and sometimes it you do stay deliveries via and so our communities are all about helping the families beyond the housing. So affordable housing this energy efficient is really cool if you repaid and think about this for a second if you pay and let's say your make and 2000 dollars a month that's considered try to decode the poverty level. To 2000 dollars so far off. A service that says 2000 dollars a month you should be able look forward 600 dollars a month right. And if to all her friends are here to rent mortgage and mortgage payment housing and it you know and pay a 900 because that's all you can try again or you were living in a really really dilapidated house because all you can afford was 600. You know warriors chances for success in those situations so. If you can now afford your rent or your house payment. And you've got this disposable income we say let's talk about doing use an asset as a family and it makes a community better makes a communities stronger. Economically it benefits all of us that's kind of what we're all about we're just not them the nonprofit this just gonna build a house. Over they're all a lot somewhere just because we king and friend. We actually prefer building whole communities. So a project for us might look like ten or twelve houses we've got one right now we're working on this a 123. And when we do that we will build market rate and affordable together so that everybody's living in a diversity of income situation. Well and I and I think it's interesting you mentioned a couple times that you wanted your affordable housing to look like. The regular housing regular market rate housing. What is it that says affordable housing apart. That's a wonderful question I'll tell you so so affordable housing one thing if you say if I say they look the same. Ours might be 12100 square foot and the guy with a market rate house might be eighteen hundred's so thank the look from the outside though is critical that it's the same. Or similar design right architecturally science into what I am. And you know it's hardy Mort constructionist got landscaping a big front porch it it looks good to curb appeal is great right. Did the though in the way we make housing affordable low is in the dollars on Obama are out about a hundred motto is you may hear about forty gum today. OK so one problem is don't build affordable housing with cheap materials are cheap labor build we cheap money the so the difference is if I build Jewish housing market rate. And I Bora certain amount of money from the bank to build it and when you pay me back for a pay the bank back. Then I get a little bit left over for me. In an affordable housing situation I can't do that because I have to pass on the cost to that person a marker right right in my family that I'm trying to house cannot pay market rate. So we have to borrow less from the bank had a we do that. We get equity from donations. From low interest loans from equity investment from a grant from some more a foundation or a a corporate sponsorship all these things are and these are dollars in other words we pay the same amount for the house that the market rate guidance. Or girl right. But we don't have to pay the bank back as much therefore we only pass on that cost. To the customer at a lower level hope that makes sense. It's absolutely well and and you mentioned that it might be a little smaller to having recently bought a home myself and know that square footage. Is basically the the basis for the price of the house mean there are things that'll affect it one way or the other but. Really just that than the size of the footprint is is what makes the biggest difference and so cutting back on that a little bit and still making a little area can make a huge difference. Yes here and and as sour in the clear on that we're not a tiny house bill we're all know that but you know 12150 square foot house three bedroom two bath. That's plenty of room for family yes but it's not exorbitant you'll find more more counter tops are jacuzzi tubs and our houses or either. So there are our waist as do that as well we just one amateurish quality. I got chip I was also interest in in what you were saying a bounce employment your hero workforce development programs and support lousy and it adds we can tell you how many guests have had in the studio over the years. Talking about different aspects of that in the number of times that we talked about how all of this is interconnected especially regarding addiction you know with when you're addicted. To any kind of substance whether the alcohol or drugs or you know things like that. If it's if it's keeping me down it it makes it hard to hold a job which makes it hard to stay in your house and and that's frequently how people wind up homeless. And it seems like you're kind of tackling all of those aspects it wants. How deep how do you do that. Yeah it's it's a missing link I think from programs similar to that in the past and that again I go back to the skill. The marketable skills that yeah we're actually willing to pay for our member guy named John that was in our program to he had twelve felonies. Now most I'm when you have one felony you can't get employed DNA you gotta check the box on your application in twelve lump we used to joke within the said John you were in a very good criminal you got called hot it is so to it today John not only graduated or program. But because of our track record with the employers they said we'll take him. And they hired him he moved himself up he graduated into the here. Career track he actually gotten to promotions. And then. He actually got so good it is what he did he started his own small business so he's a small business owners today. With twelve felonies sensationalize Judea hired. Yeah yes you are free self apprised him but but he was new and file the other employ short so he was on a career path they are too. Said I think that's the key for us CC is make ensure that we've we were teaching them beyond skills were teaching them how to. What happens when your boss hollers that you write what you do when in the soft skills that a lot of gas. In the past have never been talk. Don't track mud in your boss's office and what do you do when your. When you call in sick how do you do that. We're talking to about almost courtesy really a lot of that there but a lot of times people don't know if it's never been taught we are we have a saying we say. You don't know what you don't know him and so families that live our homes are the same way you think of everybody knows how to work on a budget. We'll do they now. Because have you ever been taught to work on a budget if you never have maybe you don't know it's super. Five ready issues in the country. And it is surprising listening to something like that are talking to some really Q how many people don't know how to do this simple things right right and that doesn't make them stupid must make sure ignorant of the training or the knowledge but it does not make them. Unable to learn it they're just never had anybody shows on like what you're talking about skills to being able to teach skills I've I've noticed this in my own life that. They're having having the ability to turn stuff and things is like you said it is is not something that somebody can take away from me you're always going to be able to do that. And people are always gonna need things yes and that's definitely a good way to stay employed I wanted to ask you about again sort of this aspect of of your employment workforce and an affordable housing and you guys been around twenty years and and you've probably seen economy you know rise and fall over that time. Right now as I understand and unemployment is kind of dropping and house housing prices are going up how does economic changes had an effect on what you do. A news there is there's a couple of things that I think about when NASA questioned Warren. That doesn't already going way down is is good for everybody obviously sure. The construction industry though it is still in crisis mode for good workers okay they cannot found them a lot of had to do with the immigration situation right. And so we find our employers I had one builder who said we need to build a wall to keep a man. You know because we did he didn't have enough workers right and so our guys are in high demand so that's one thing that's really. We seen the real noticeable was it did. Employers are willing to take a chance even though I don't feel like if some big chance when our guys they're still willing to shore that from the housing perspective. There ardent. Multiple waste affordable housing and named some album like grants and donations but but. Business being good is another way so. Let's think for example of the fifty unit. Subdivision that we build and 25 Omar market rate 25 or what we call affordable those 25 market rate homes. Come with a profit there were not for Procter profit we don't operate to put a profit in our pocket but we are allowed to make one. And then we take those profits and push them over. On the other homes to make them affordable so. This is being good market being strong physically giving yourself a drink it right kind of exactly we're self subsidizing our own houses. How personal was always been about being creative that way we're sort of a leader in the state with thinking of things outside those boxes and normally people play at because dollars are going down and traditionally. People always just depended on hole lead for grants for a while housing that's the old way. No we wanna do with the new way were we can take advantage of what we have in front of us in the market is one problem. Earlier you mentioned. And correct me if I get these numbers on it he said 605 houses you've built it over twenty years yes and you've got another 120 in the pipeline yes. It sounds like your kind of ramping up here is that this brings yes it back that's funny you say that because of my staff come makes fun Amish sometimes. Because that's the world exact word amuse or were rampant up on the men's development side. We're gonna increase that program and on the housing salary increase and those numbers so our goal is 8200 a year instead of fifty or sixty okay all over the state again we're reaching these new markets the needed strong. And what we found is in South Carolina the capacity. A non profits to do what we do is low so people are asking us to come to their city and do this. And so we are rampant up we're building our capacity. Matter of fact for men's program we just bought them a 101000 square foot building for them to have is their training center. Where they're gonna have. A more space to have classrooms and actual on the job training. What we do is like if the weather's bad and they can't build a house that day we actually practiced build in the shop. Hillsides so they actually are going to build a house in frame it up inside the building. So that whenever the weather's better there in between bills they'll be out their framing or maybe they'll hang indoor or some windows are siding or. Route that house and in the take it down and practice again another day. Really really don't know ramp up our program. And I think army and his numbers are gonna go even higher because the knee just certainly there there's a park a lot of guys waiting to get in our program so what's in store for the next twenty years. That's a great question you know I don't know what's in store because I didn't know twenty years ago what was in store that he'd be here yeah I'm proud of the year have been near the whole time. But I I think just more of the same just discontinued try to find in a way innovative ways to do what we do and continue to partner with. The community especially corporations that need. Our product that they need their workers to have affordable homes near where they work because they're transportation. Options are limited sometimes and they need good workers in the construction field I think discuss limits for us to continue to grow. But for us Chris it's never going to be numbers. Will never defined the heart of our mission it's always going to be about the people in the homes so we will not build as many as we could probably. Because we want to make sure quality. Investing in families lives who live in our homes and in the man. So we can do thirty guys in our program but we're not we do none right now we're open to grow to twelve cent and we can build 200 houses a year were capable of doing it. But we wanna make sure there were intentional about quality lasted just quantity even though the numbers are big trend that's the way we wanted to do it. I got a you talking about how important donations RT organization in terms of keeping affordable housing affordable. I talk a little bit about the donation opportunities that that exists and also if people wanna get involved. Not necessarily good any in their money than donating their time how how they volunteer for your organization that pledge assets so. We are what we call an entrepreneurial nonprofit so most nonprofits asks the community for all of the dollars that they need to do their mission. Who we produce 70% of our budget needs ourself with housing income. We've done so much housing over the years we have a sustainable income. That covers 70% so every dollar somebody gives us. Goes directly to programs and on overhead that's important for us yet so 30% that what's what's the 30% had a we do that where we have a fund raiser every year dinner and auction. We have a golf term in October I think it's October 15 this year. We have opportunities for folks to volunteer working alongside our men and building houses. We have sponsorships of houses worth your company may wanna sponsor house there's an opportunity there we have volunteer opportunities. Dole wore where folks can just become a part of what we're doing. And they always we knew we recognize that when somebody volunteers are really sees. What we're doing the catch is a vision they've become donors. We always have opportunities for don't we have a or call solid rock club which is. Mostly donors folks and write checks anywhere from fifteen dollars a month to a thousand dollars a month and just help support a satellite so. A web sites homes of pro dot org homes offer hope dot ORG. And go on there there's a lot of options there that she can she's in and we have subsite column nickel tour. So every third every last thirsty of every month at 130 I give a tour of the neighborhoods that we for developed in Greenville went literally only takes about thirty minutes. For meter graduate there's some of the neighborhoods and you can see over a hundred of our houses soft and so silent for that it and that world social media FaceBook Twitter all the other stuff. So there's lots of opportunities there and I'd love to have some people that are interest in. So people can find view as you mentioned social media whose homes of hope dot org is the website best place to get started I guess yes if they want to make a donation if they want to. A volunteer as you said even if they wanna sign up for the annual golf classic Kia coming up on October 15 I think there's a registration button there. That people who get started a little bit early and make sure that they become out and raise money for homes of hope in their Greenville east mention you serve the upstate seventy started in Greenville what do what sort of the area in the upstate a year. You cover and grateful obviously during the whole little county we also have a good bit of work going on Lawrence county specifically the city of Clinton Democrat or a sore thumb in Clinton I have to say Clinton. And then Spartanburg got a lot of work on mayor Anderson we've got a lot of homes there and then all the way up to York county we've got homes in rock kill in York as well. So lots of opportunities for people to get involved again homes of hope dot org is the website. Donna Oglesby the president and CEO of pounds of hope has been my guess they think you very much for being here Don thanks for having as been my pleasure. I'm Chris Evans and this has been focus on the upstate. You've been listening to focus on the yet state with Chris Evans if you would like more information on today's topic. Email Chris at C Evans at intercom. Dot com the.