Yolanda WinsteadAt the start of a new year, I always look forward to reflecting on the past 12 months and looking ahead to what I hope to accomplish in the coming months. This year, I feel privileged to do the same thing for DHIC.

In 2021, our primary goal is to make DHIC a more resilient organization.

The one constant in our world is change. Regardless of the impetus, whether it be an economic downturn, pandemic or natural disaster, we want to position DHIC to be able to respond even more effectively to serve the needs of our residents and fully support our staff doing this work no matter what happens in the future.

Here’s a closer look at how we plan to improve our resiliency this year through four specific strategic initiatives.

Strengthen DHIC’s pipeline development function as we pursue new real estate development opportunities.

As a result of DHIC’s strong track record, we’re often presented with opportunities to partner with both nonprofit and for-profit groups. Streamlining our vetting and review processes will allow us to be able to more efficiently determine which opportunities align best with our future development plans and programming.

Because DHIC has been able to scale up its real estate development activities, we are projected to add more than 900 additional units of affordable housing to our portfolio over the next two to three years. We will need to be able to manage the oversight of placing these units in service simultaneously with pursuing and securing new opportunities.

Fully resource the strategies, staffing and systems needed to ensure the quality and sustainability of DHIC’s growing and aging portfolio and services to our clients.

With roughly half of our current portfolio made up of properties that are more than 15 years old, it is imperative that we ensure that they continue to serve as high-quality housing units for our residents.

We have begun to craft a strategy that will allocate staff and/or outside resources to the varying types of existing properties within DHIC’s portfolio in order to recapitalize and preserve those properties. Our Asset Management and Resident Services teams will continue to work with our outside property management company to take advantage of available technology to implement online systems and electronic communications with residents across our portfolio. In addition, our Resident Services team will continue to expand partnerships to bring more services to our residents.

In order to be able to continue to achieve our mission as we grow, we have to increase our capacity in both our asset management and resident services lines of business in order to meet the challenges of our aging properties and portfolio and resident growth.

Demonstrate DHIC’s commitment to racial equity, diversity and inclusion (REDI) internally and externally.  

In the past, we have utilized a consulting firm to assist with Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE) participation goals during the construction of DHIC developments. One example is our Beacon Ridge project in Southeast Raleigh, where we were able to achieve almost 31% participation by MWBEs.

Our Homeownership Center, which explicitly seeks to reduce racial disparities in assets and wealth, helped 199 clients purchase a home from 2019-2020, 129 (or 65%) of whom were people of color. DHIC’s board and staff have and continue to participate in racial equity, diversity and inclusion trainings.

In September 2020, we formed a REDI Committee comprised of both staff and board members that will help guide DHIC through the process of incorporating REDI best practices across its governance, operations and lines of business.

Our vision here at DHIC is that we will have a community in which all people have equal access to; high-quality and affordable housing and other basic needs; opportunities for the creation and building of wealth and support for a stable, enriching home life and family. To make that vision a reality, we have to be intentional so that our actions align with our words. Addressing racial inequality will improve outcomes for all of our residents in each of our vision areas.

Ensure that DHIC’s human resources, operating policies, productivity tools and other organizational systems work together to create a culture of resilience and sustainability.

We have learned important lessons during COVID as we adapted to working and delivering services remotely that will continue to inform how we work going forward. First and foremost is ensuring that our staff can work safely and have the tools, training and growth opportunities that allow them to flourish. We will also be tackling our wish list of tools to improve our ability to manage projects, and aggregate and analyze data for reporting to funders and stakeholders.

Our ultimate goal is to ensure that DHIC can continue to meet its mission and vision well into the future. Effectively managing our internal operations and organizational capacity has a direct impact on our ability to serve our residents with the highest quality rental housing, homeownership education and services possible.

Our work on these initiatives is already underway and we look forward to developing new ways to serve this community in 2021 and beyond. As always, thank you for your support of our mission.