New Leonard Media

ROUGH TRANSCRIPT

Ryan Buck (00:26):

Hello, good people, and welcome to the pursuit of podcasts where it’s truly not us. It’s you? I’m Ryan Buck, artist development, New Leonard Media with me as the boss, Mark Wilson, president New Leonard Media. How are you, Brian? How you doing well? Good to see it. If that’s enough of that. So our guest today is Geoff Streit board of directors, president for HomeStretch Non-Profit Housing Corporation.

Geoff Streit (00:48):

How are you? Good. Thank you guys for inviting me on today. I’m excited to be in the studio. Thanks

Ryan Buck (00:53):

You for being here. So, uh, for those who are unaware, what does HomeStretch housing do here in traverse city,

Geoff Streit (01:01):

HomeStretch nonprofit housing corporation, and instead of, you know, the whole verbiage, I’m just going to call it home stretch from, from here on out that’s okay. HomeStretch is a 5 0 1 C3 non-profit housing corporation. So we are a developer of low to moderate income housing. We are a landlord of low to moderate income housing. Um, and we are kind of what I would say, an advocate for affordable housing in the Northwestern region of Michigan. So our main primary focus has historically been grand traverse county. Although we have a pretty strong presence in Leelanau county, uh, we’re in Benzie county as well, Manistee county Antrim county, basically, if there is a housing need that we can fit as long as it makes sense and make sense means a whole lot of things we’re interested. So, uh, HomeStretch has been around roughly 25, 30 years.

Ryan Buck (02:01):

And how long have you been serving?

Geoff Streit (02:03):

I joined the board, I believe about five years ago. The organization had fallen on some tough times. There was a what’s called a low-income housing tax credit project that the organization was involved in that project drained a lot of financial and human resource out of the organization. The executive director at that time was kind of forced to resign by MISHTA, which is Michigan state housing development association, which is a funding and resource partner for us. And the organization home stretch was being operated by grand traverse county at the time, specifically, none other than me mean Jean Derenzy. I don’t know if she wants that nickname, but I love that. I love that woman. She had asked if I was interested to join the board. I said, no, I will go to a and listen. And then I spoke up and then a couple months later I found myself as the president of the board. So, wow.

Ryan Buck (03:06):

Yeah.

Geoff Streit (03:07):

Now just sometimes you just got to shut up, but sometimes you don’t.

Ryan Buck (03:11):

So it’s about what you don’t say sometimes rather than what you do say, correct. Wow. So two key programs, one of which is a home ownership program in order to do that, you receive assistance through special loans and grants. Correct. So that’s part of it. Yes.

Geoff Streit (03:26):

So our home ownership program is really kind of a hand up kind of program. So I mean, it is a helping hand, but the idea is to, we’re kind of pulling somebody up to something they normally wouldn’t be able to afford. Um, so if you think about building a house and let’s pretend this house costs $200,000 to build, but a person who makes, you know, 12 to $15 an hour can really only afford a house for 125,000. Well in grand traverse county, that eliminates probably about 90% of the housing options, other than some really beat ups home

Ryan Buck (04:07):

Number. So

Geoff Streit (04:08):

We have to bridge that gap. So in the home ownership program, HomeStretch looks to find what I like to call the funny money. So it’s not, you know, it’s not necessarily our money. It might be government money from Misha. It might be some money from the county. It might be some money from say rotary charities. There’s a lot of avenues that we’ll learn the resources. We help find the resource on the front end of the entire development and bake that in to the project and say, okay, this home that would normally sell market rate for 200, we’re going to sell it for 125 to people that fit a certain criteria of income. And that those income tables are published by Misha every year. And so then we try to help somebody that is of lesser means step into a home that they would otherwise not be able to afford.

Geoff Streit (04:56):

One of the features that I find pretty interesting about it is we have what’s called a 15 year affordability clause. So, you know, we used to have these 99 year affordability clauses. So if I, whatever happened, the house would always have to stay affordable on the home ownership side for 99 years. Well that’s okay. But if I’m in a house that I really can’t make any money off of, if I sell, because that affordability clause would cap gains, then I’m really just a sexy renter for a long period of time. And so after a couple of years of really looking at it, we don’t necessarily allow the person that owns it to capture all the equity, but after 15 years, if they’ve lived there that entire time, and then they go to sell it, we remove that affordability component and there’s a step down basis. But what it does is that, you know, that single parent with three kids that was really never going to grow wealth in this country, which home ownership has historically been a path to it. You know, they’re now in the program, you know, they’re in, they’re able to, you know, generate some dollars for themselves later on in life, by, you know, some amount of medium term secretaries.

Ryan Buck (06:10):

There’s a process. There is a criteria, correct, specifically on the website. So, you know, if you’re in the,

Geoff Streit (06:16):

You would know on the front end, if you’re in the realm and in grand traverse county, and I’m going off of memory, a family of four would be roughly a, an income of under 50,000 or 45,000 somewhere there. So if you think about it, that’s a PA, a single parent with three kids. That’s a, you know, a, a stay-at-home mom with a husband that works kind of tough jobs with two kids. And that’s a lot of people.

Ryan Buck (06:41):

So for somebody who’s maybe not as informed on the surface, you can look at this and look at a movie like the big short and be like, how is this different?

Geoff Streit (06:48):

Sure. So, and I, and I saw the big short number of years ago. And so that has a lot to do with people that could get mortgages that couldn’t afford those mortgages. So that was hype speculation and, uh, an overabundance of what I would consider liquidity chasing assets that aren’t liquid. So a house, I can’t go sell a house tomorrow. Right. I mean, I can, but it’s not like I can go take it and get cash tomorrow, right. Where it’s like, if I sell a stock or a bond or some of these things that have a market for them, I can go get cash. Well, you had all this cash chasing housing and that drove up the prices. And then at the end, like nobody really cared because they were just waiting for housing to keep going up. So it’s like, here’s a loan, here’s a loan.

Geoff Streit (07:33):

What we do is we one make it affordable. We are looking at, you know, we’re looking at your income, we’re looking at your historical, you know, ability to earn, and we’re not letting people get into something they can’t afford because we’re bringing the price down to something. We know your housing cost is going to be limited of 30% of your take-home pay or something. So historically that ratio allow a person to be safe financially from, you know, they’re still going to have hardships because in their, you know, their Carroll breakdown or, you know, a kid gets sick or a water heater blows. But you know, when you’re not spending, you know, 50 and 60, 70% of your money on housing, you get a little more wiggle room. And, you know, people make in a family making a living off of 40,000. Any little bit of stress can put these people over the edge. So the big short, you know, w we’re definitely not approving everyone that that could be like, I want a home. And you’re like, oh, it’s cool. You just, you know,

Ryan Buck (08:31):

Just in case people aren’t are not understanding that there are differences here. So you went to MSU, you studied finance green

Geoff Streit (08:41):

Bill, white

Ryan Buck (08:42):

Baby, and not being from here. I have no a partiality to that point, hooray, Michigan, but, you know, given your academic pursuits in what you do as a, as a day job, because we’re not talking about your day job, this is something that you spend time, uh, your own time with. Is that a pretty good path to being successful on a board? Like this is a financial and economic background.

Geoff Streit (09:05):

It doesn’t hurt me. So the financial and economic background led me to, you know, wanting to like be a wall street employee, you know, work on wall street, work in that business. But life changes kind of threw me curve balls. And I ended up at, in a bank, which was, is great. And you know, now a credit union everything’s gone well professionally. And so a financial background can be helpful on any board. The banking, finance and economics helps because I I’m exposed to a lot of housing and real estate involved in within my career. So that helps translate into a non-profit housing corporation. However, we have board members with a legal background. We have board members that are, you know, I’ve been realtors. We have board members with a history in grant writing. So like, they’ve, their history was just working in the nonprofit sector.

Geoff Streit (09:56):

Right. Um, one of the board members that, you know, what used to be on the board, uh, a woman by the name of Sarah Lucas was it was kind of my housing hero. Like she would be known in the area. There was a, um, networks Northwest would put on these large conferences every year. And she would be kind of the MC, um, that kind of transitioned her into a role in housing north, but she was the board president before I joined. And it just someone who is passionate about helping underserved people. And I had served on other boards and commissions in the past, but kind of meeting the more nonprofit cited people was a very cool thing for me. And an experience where it opened up my kind of, um, vision to say like, oh, you know what, the people that just want to help people are, you know, they’re very valuable board members. We’ve also had some large private employers that the proprietor was on the board because they have a skin in the game of housing in our region. So it doesn’t hurt me,

Mark L. Wilson (10:54):

But also with the board, you know, that it’s meant to be interdisciplinarian correct.

Ryan Buck (11:01):

I think a good board is an eclectic mix of different perspectives. It seems to be the case for you.

Geoff Streit (11:08):

You do not want group think, I mean, I’ve been on boards that everyone is the same cut of the same cloth essentially. And some people have a very tough time dealing with opposing viewpoints. Um, some boards can be, you know, very push or pull, but when you have people of a variety of backgrounds, I mean, it’s just like diversity in the workplace. You know, the more of it, the richer we all are going to be, and knowing that

Ryan Buck (11:35):

You all want the same thing and hopefully personal agendas don’t make their way to that board meeting.

Mark L. Wilson (11:41):

So city to the board, right. When you don’t like somebody’s idea, and later on now they don’t like your idea because you didn’t like,

Geoff Streit (11:49):

Right. I think dialogue is huge trying to find, and it does teach people how to, you know, board service or, you know, community services. Generally it teaches us how to deal with things that aren’t necessarily in our normal wheelhouse. Right.

Ryan Buck (12:02):

So HomeStretch also offers a rental program, correct? Correct. And so how does that work?

Geoff Streit (12:09):

So similar to the home ownership program, we have income qualifications. So we look, you, you have to be, you know, we usually offer housing between 60 and 80% of AMI. AMI is area median income. And so some of the very low end, you know, we have very subsidized housing on the very low end. So people with disabilities that are at 20 and 40% of AMI. So these are people that don’t work and they get the social security check of 1200 a month, well, 14,000 a year. Is that going to go that far? So there are organizations in our region, Goodwill helps work with them. There’s a couple of other ones and they work with what I would call the, the impoverished, where we’re working more with that working poor, or, you know, the term now is the missing middle, right? So it’s like the lower middle class that can see a route, but they just can’t get

Ryan Buck (13:06):

A change in nomenclature. Working poor

Geoff Streit (13:10):

Is not the phrase rock. So now it’s the missing middle. And it’s like, we’re

Ryan Buck (13:15):

Trying to tap dance with words, but

Geoff Streit (13:18):

Correct it. And so we look at a technical number that’s published through HUD to MISHTA. So HUD, the housing, urban development from the federal government goes to these state governments and say, here’s kind of the housing guidelines. And then those housing associations in, in, in, in Michigan it’s MISHTA, they will publish a table that has a ownership AMI table and a rental AMI table. So we’ll focus on that 60 to 80% AMI. We’ve had other ones that go up to a hundred percent AMI because in all honesty, our region, it seems like the table hasn’t caught up. So a family of four in grand traverse county living off of $50,000, it’s just not that feasible. The housing costs, the taxes, the, you know, the accoutrement of just going

Ryan Buck (14:07):

Outside with building owners to help

Geoff Streit (14:10):

Rent buildings we’ve developed. So we are more than happy to work with owners. We don’t property manage for other people. So what we do is we will go into a project looking to make it affordable. And like I said before, there’s funny money to help us do that. There’s, you know, historically Misha had what was called home funds, other charitable organizations that want to tackle housing, they would look to us to be possibly a conduit for that money to help. I mean, to build a house, whether we build it or another, like a for-profit local builder, the materials are going to cost the same. We’re going to pay the same guys doing drywall. We’re going to pay the same guys laying flooring. So the, to build a house is the same, but we want to be able to offer it at a cheaper amount. And we’re willing to take a skinny rate of return.

Geoff Streit (15:00):

You know, we’ve got to protect our investment, but we don’t have to do much more than that. So we don’t need a huge profit, but to even make it affordable, as we have to really buy down that cost in a way to do that is, you know, obviously charitable or grant funds, a huge way to do that is what’s called the Lytec program. Low income housing tax credit in that program essentially gives the developer a giant fee based on these tax credits to incentivize you to build this affordable housing. And you keep it affordable for 15 or 30 years, but this giant fee basically gives you a bunch of profit today. And then the housing cost is bought down because these tax credits are essentially sold to other investors. And that money comes in. And instead of the, how the, the apartment costing, it still costs 3 million. But now we have like a million, five of tax credits. So now we’re really only floating the debt on half of it, which then it’s like, oh, now we can open it up to people that can afford it. And so those tax credits are provided by the federal government

Ryan Buck (16:02):

Cerebral episode. Uh, thus far, I think the liquidity line is going to go down in history. That’s going to be a game changer for us. Oh boy. You know, and not to be lost, who has access to something like that.

Geoff Streit (16:15):

So essentially everybody to be a developer, but not really. So it’s like there are for profit Lytec developers and there’s nonprofit, light-tech developers. We’ve done a couple light tech projects. We do not hold ourselves out as like the only one. And in all honesty, the next ones we would look to do, we would look to partner with a more experienced for-profit developer because you’re filling out government forms. And it sounds easy.

Mark L. Wilson (16:43):

I was gonna, I was going to ask a question about that. So these other organizations with the funding money sure. They look to you to help direct traffic so that they know that it’s going to the,

Geoff Streit (16:53):

They would say, Hey, we want to do something to impact housing. And we would say, Hey, we’re a nonprofit housing developer. So as a developer, we’re the landowner. We’re also the general contractor. So we go in and general contract, the build, we build it, you know, our subs, they build it and then we own and operate it. But that funny money would be to ensure that that housing is affordable.

Mark L. Wilson (17:14):

And so the builder, those working have to have a specific accreditation or certification to do this, or no,

Geoff Streit (17:21):

Not the trade. The trades people

Mark L. Wilson (17:23):

Don’t are they required to pay Davis bacon, prevailing wages? Yes.

Geoff Streit (17:27):

Certain regions. They are in Michigan. So certain Lytec deals have prevailing wages. So a Detroit deal, a Southeast Michigan deal, some of the grand rapids ones, but

Mark L. Wilson (17:38):

Those get fit into the bids. So actually that’s good for like trades workers in the area that when you’re doing this, because you’re going to get paid well to build

Geoff Streit (17:47):

An affordable housing, this,

Mark L. Wilson (17:49):

And then to back up to where you said the missing middle, the people who can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but aren’t quite there. Sure. Confirm if this is the correct analogy. If I make it personal for a moment. So I finished school, I had a, but I had a young child. I had a baby and I was single preached baby. And I, I got a job and, uh, in, in my field and I was working and after my first year I got a raise. Okay. And that raise was just enough to put me over the hump for, uh, daycare assistance. So I got booted off of that. Sure. But the raise wasn’t enough to cover that difference. So like, it actually would have been better for me to ask to stay, essentially. Yeah. But I did find an organization I’ll shout out to Michigan for CS w it was a one-time one-year grant for people in my situation that covered it. And then the following year, when I got a raise, again, that

Geoff Streit (18:47):

That would be a person that might fit the bill because they may be below where we’d even target. That person might be a 40% AMI. So they’re going to have, you know, a specific kind of housing provider and maybe they could be the missing middle. What a lot of it tends to be as people that never were on the assistance that, you know, now they’re stuck in a job that’s paying $32,000 a year, $38,000 a year. And it’s a consistent job. They might enjoy it. They may not have any skills to better themselves or get more money essentially for their labor. And so what we find is you do get a lot of people that have this consistent employment or in a field that just doesn’t pay a lot like journalism, for example, like you might have someone that’s been working at a news station for 10 years.

Geoff Streit (19:39):

They love their job because they’re on TV and it’s a lot of fun, but a regional news person in Trevor city, Michigan is they’re not making huge bank. So they’re not making Ron burgundy cash. And so they’re, you know, probably making maybe 30, some thousand a year. And if they’ve got a kid, the area median income tables really start making sense when you have kids. And there are situations where there’s a single person that might make, you know, $35,000 a year and they fit that bill and they can buy or rent a house, which is great because as they get older, they’ve locked in, but it also doesn’t force them to necessarily have to do a job that they hate. So I don’t know if that answers your missing middle question. Well, yeah,

Mark L. Wilson (20:23):

It helps them so that they’re not called it the golden handcuffs. Right? Correct. Where you’re doing one thing, but you can’t ever explore anything else because you can’t afford the pant

Geoff Streit (20:33):

It’ll take. And into your point is the missing middle is somewhat the people that they make too much to get assistance from the traditional sense, but they don’t make enough to like make a life. And so that’s a huge swath of America. It’s a huge swath of Michigan. And unfortunately it’s growing, that’s not shrinking.

Ryan Buck (20:52):

You are here to help people like that to start to create wealth and owning a home. There’s a point of pride. You mentioned it can be a bummer and your car can break down. Siding could start to fall off. But at the end of the day, you have a home and you’re raising your family or what

Geoff Streit (21:09):

Stays on

Ryan Buck (21:10):

Quality. Oh yeah, that’s right. And that leads me to, I don’t want to be lost on the notion that you are building homes.

Geoff Streit (21:16):

We are building homes, we’re building town homes, we’re building apartments. And these are quality builds. For example, in traverse city, something you can see. And well, if you knock on the door, maybe a homeowner will let you in. So by the filling station on Woodmere, there’s a development that has these little homes. And then there’s these town home condominiums they look like. So HomeStretch partnered with habitat. Habitat did all the single family like tiny builds like the other, the regular size home, but that’s a neighborhood and habitat. They have a different business model. I love that little

Ryan Buck (21:51):

Community too. When we’re talking about

Geoff Streit (21:53):

Those newer looking townhomes, HomeStretch built those in two phases. Um, I believe that was 16 units. We did eight and eight. So it took a long time. And that was the first project that I was a part of, because that was the deal that like blew up the organization prior to the board reforming. I love to point that out because it’s a new, and it’s a modern looking piece of property. It’s well-maintained and the quality of construction was sound. Okay.

Ryan Buck (22:18):

Awesome. Wow. So you’ve been in finance since 2005 ish, I think.

Geoff Streit (22:24):

So I think

Ryan Buck (22:25):

About that God

Geoff Streit (22:26):

And old.

Ryan Buck (22:27):

Now, in your current role at forefront credit union, is it accurate to say that you specialize in working with small business owners that have a story to tell always? So what’s a good story to tell right now.

Geoff Streit (22:41):

Oh, that’s tough. I mean, it’s tough because Michigan has had a real tough COVID time death rates. I get all that infections, the challenges, our state, where we live is completely different than where the politicians, the policymakers, and, you know, the majority of wealth in this state is, but we are dealing with the policies of people, four hours away, three and a half hours away, three hours away, whatever way you want to take the freeway. The good stories are that our region from a housing standpoint, and if you’re in real estate as an investor, or, you know, a landlord it’s been wonderful. I mean, people are flocking here. They want to be here and this is a beautiful area to live. So our, our, you know, our downtown retailers, some of them have had some tougher, you know, some better years than this. And some of them are surviving.

Geoff Streit (23:35):

Um, I feel for all the businesses that have shuttered or have had to make real tough sacrifices and changes for every, you know, really sad story right now in Northern Michigan, there’s a really exciting story of somebody who figured out a different way to do something. I look in our area of, you know, um, for example, all the distilleries day, one got into making hand sanitizers, which was cool. And they were all giving it away to start. And they figured out a way to make some money, but it was like, Hey, we’re not making any money from tasting rooms. We’ve got to figure this out and, you know, shame on the government for them sending them a bill, which I know is kind of been worked through, but right. So you’ve got some really exciting stories like that. You’ve seen, you know, one of my favorites and I’ll give him a shout out.

Geoff Streit (24:24):

Um, common, good bakery on 14th street. You know, it’s a bakery, it’s excellent baked goods, but what would they do in COVID people can still purchase, but when stores weren’t allowed to open, they switched to curbside only. And so what they did is they moved all their product to the front, which already had windows and employed an online ordering app. And you put your car collar and you pull up, they come right out. So there was no handling of money. Everything was online. And then they also started selling, well, you don’t remember the, the toilet paper scare of 2020. So a lot of which was probably

Ryan Buck (24:58):

Still with pallets of

Geoff Streit (24:59):

It. So they were selling, you know, their orders from what, whether it was Cisco or GFS or their big supplier. So you could get on their online ordering, you know, you could order a croissant, a breakfast sandwich and a 96 roll case of toilet paper. Or you could buy one roll of toilet paper at a time. And he was never running out because he had the commercial line coming through. You could buy a case, um, a flat of eggs where normally like, you know, you’d go to the store for those couple of weeks or, you know, get online. There’s no eggs, there’s no cheese, there’s no butter. He was selling staples. And so he innovated and found a really great way to stay open and be actually have a pretty successful

Mark L. Wilson (25:38):

Year. All legit,

Geoff Streit (25:39):

Correct. The toilet paper wipes. My butt is as good as any toilet paper. No, no, it’s all legit. Yeah. Yeah. There’s

Mark L. Wilson (25:45):

Nothing that precludes him from selling that based on

Geoff Streit (25:48):

Being a bakery. Correct. He talked to his supplier and he just, he innovated in a way that was at that time was opportune and the people are already coming there. So it’s like, well, why don’t I pick up a roll of toilet paper for a dollar, which is like, okay, yeah, that might be expensive for

Mark L. Wilson (26:04):

Is like pre COVID a free roll of toilet paper with something that you’re eating

Geoff Streit (26:09):

Would be hilarious would be like

Ryan Buck (26:12):

Under just normal circumstances. I guess it doesn’t say much about what they think’s going to happen after you eat it. But, you know, yeah.

Geoff Streit (26:19):

So there was a lot of fun stories and there’s a lot of success of, of, and I love people’s stories,

Ryan Buck (26:24):

Innovation and agility and

Geoff Streit (26:27):

Resilience. That’s a we’re and we’re Michiganders Michiganian is, I don’t know what the word is. I know it’s the last governor you call this, the Michiganders. I know that people in general are resilient and they will do their best to get through times. And there’s going to keep trying. And it’s, it’s tough because I, you know, I’m not a, I guess in some of the legislation, you know, people in banks are considered credit union are considered frontline workers. I don’t see myself as that because I’m, you know, I’m not saving lives, but I look at people and I’m like, man, I wish, you know, our politicians could see the people suffering in the way they do and watching decades of their life sort of,

Mark L. Wilson (27:06):

If it’s okay to point out, like you said, you work for a credit union already. And I happen to know that you’ve been getting up very early because of the passing of the next stimulus and what the PP

Geoff Streit (27:20):

Key round two. Yeah.

Mark L. Wilson (27:21):

And in some ways people would say that that is saving lives. So you’re really helping

Ryan Buck (27:26):

Providing shelter, which is a basic human necessity.

Geoff Streit (27:31):

So when the shutdowns happen and the government rolled out these loan programs last time around the kids were at home for, you know, the, that was when they were doing like 20 minutes a day of online school every other day, when the schools kind of didn’t have a plan. And so they’re at home and dad sat at the kitchen table for 13 to 16 hours a day for awhile. And I’m just like, guys, here’s the story. We don’t know what’s going to happen. We’re doing our best to help as many people as we can. We’re not going to help everybody, but this is a sacrifice we’re making. Like we don’t get to hang out and have fun and go out. Like, I know a lot of people that they had a lot of time to personally grow. I just clicked buttons all day and took phone calls and texts and emails, and it was stressful.

Geoff Streit (28:12):

And I look back and I’m like, it was the right thing to do. And I hope it helped a couple people. And, you know, if it’s just like, when we volunteered to help kids, right, as long as we make a good, you know, change one kid’s life and you kind of give yourself a pat on the back, so we’re trying to do our best and you know, we can help. So we’re going to try, is it effective? Is it the right way to help? I mean, that’s a whole philosophical conversation, but with the resources we have, we’re doing our best,

Ryan Buck (28:41):

You know, affordable housing is such an issue here. And I think has been for a long time. So in your estimation, is this an issue that can be progressively helped or is it just kind of fingers in an endlessly crack dam that hopefully will hold well

Geoff Streit (29:00):

From a long-term perspective and I’m talking 20 to 50 years, my belief is inherently that the market itself will help solve some of these things. Now, does that sound good? If I’m a waitress working two jobs or even not working right now, but if I was working normally two jobs just to make ends meet for my, my couple of kids and you know, no, I don’t want to hear that. Like the market will solve things over a long period of time. I mean, you know, societies have come and gone, but human civilization has kept going. So I have a belief that housing will continue to be more accessible for people and there will be more options. But the reality is, is in the short run and the knee, you know, in the medium term, we have to make intentional steps in. And in this sense, you know, relying on some government assistance, relying on, you know, the, the charitable donations of others or programs out there, um, will it get better in traverse city in the short term? I sincerely hope so, but the math and the reality would say it probably won’t right.

Mark L. Wilson (30:06):

I got to ask a quick question. Does HomeStretch build, stick built or is there prefabbed homes

Geoff Streit (30:17):

Build stick-built historically. Okay. We have looked at some prefab options. We’ve we’ve not done any panelized construction at this point or, um, modular or mobile homes. Okay. So our builds are stick-built. So we’re building one on eighth street right now, which is, uh, deck Dr. [inaudible] office parking lot. So that, that kind of two-story L-shaped apartment, if you’ve driven by there, by the cemetery. So we’re building that right now. Stick-built all right.

Mark L. Wilson (30:48):

Yeah. Yeah. Well, I’m just trying to look at like the longevity of these. Cause sometimes I feel like that’s part of the housing problem too, is the

Geoff Streit (30:59):

Trap of a

Mark L. Wilson (31:00):

Poorly built home. Some of these papier-mache houses that I grew up in, in the eighties are like throw away houses today. So

Geoff Streit (31:07):

One of my first jobs in banking had to do with like really odd collections work. And a guy made a bunch of money bringing beat up mobile homes all across the country to hurricane Katrina victims in these are homes that like they would blow down in a, like a normal gust. You always have people willing to help solve a problem. You know, snake oil, salesmen, charlatans, if they will, but we are building quality built homes. You know, we are looking at more what I would call zero environmental impact build one of our board members, Sarna Salzman, executive director at seeds, a local nonprofit who is passionate about this, brings that to the table where we’re trying to say, yes, we’re going to build quality built, you know, zero emission, or are these things that are very important to people. And I really liked that. We’re looking at that. So quality is key. So

Ryan Buck (32:00):

You touched on this earlier. It’s very clear local news, real estate market, and Trevor’s cities exploding, another billion dollar, you know, another billion dollar plus year, right? December, 2020 was the best in history. It was the best year, since 2016, all that. How heavily are you tied to the current state of real estate or are you kind of insulated from that

Geoff Streit (32:22):

On all angles? I’m pretty heavily involved. So I finance a lot of real estate at the credit union. So we do a lot of real estate financing, whether it’s investment property or commercial property. And then, you know, obviously people doing mortgages where we’re seeing the housing business, I work with a lot of realtors and then on home stretch, we see that effect. So now, but more is

Ryan Buck (32:42):

HomeStretch effected

Geoff Streit (32:43):

As much as it is because it drives the cost of land up. Right? And so if we’re going to develop, we’re going to buy a piece of property that somebody else owns. Essentially we have to buy the land from a current owner. And so if their option is well, I could be charitable and sell it to HomeStretch at a reasonable cost, or I’m going to look at a 20, 20 speculative cost. I want that money smells real good. It feels real nice in your hands. So we are affected. And so it does create, you know, a little bit more pencil sharpening and negotiating and our executive director. And forgive me for waiting this long to say his name, John Stimpson is an amazing executive director of the organization. His ability to make partnerships and bridge gaps and bring other people to the table has been phenomenal with the way we’re looking at trying to keep this organization going. So some of that is really required and people understand it’s a need. Yeah. The challenge is, is, you know, we can have so many people clamoring that it’s a need and only so few people will do something about it. Sure.

Ryan Buck (33:45):

You mentioned the project on eighth street. Any other projects you can talk about that are

Geoff Streit (33:49):

And our upcoming. So we’ve got a project here close to the studio. So the one on eighth street, Oakwood townhomes, it’s a six unit multifamily and we’ve got an eight unit going up in honor that we’re working with the township on Fern street. Again, that a lot of these are in that Travis Heights neighborhood, where land was cheap when we bought it or were able to get in on the deal. We’re looking at a duplex. However, with recent zoning changes in the works, we may be able to put more units on it. So we’re still bound by local governmental ordinances. Um, so Carver, we’re looking at a 10 unit property. We’ve got a 10 unit, we’re looking at it in Leelanau county. And if you looked at the ticker recently, the Trevor city businesses, ticker, we’re actually working with Laura max stern, the developer of the former Kmart enact me.

Geoff Streit (34:40):

So we’re looking to put a 30 unit out of the story. You’re a part of that affordable housing piece in it. And so that’s us, you know, I think originally like John and I had both read an article about [inaudible] taken over the Kmart and I had emailed one of the people there to set up a meeting and he had emailed another person there to set up the meeting. And then it’s like, we’re coming at them from every way, trying to be like, Hey, you know, they talked about affordable housing in, uh, when they bought it. So like, oh, Hey, we’re putting our hand up. We want to jump in. We want to figure out how to partner and you know how to do it in UK. We know how to do it. And there’s a lot of other organizations in town doing a lot of great work. Goodwill has done a lot of good work with housing, Trevor city, housing commission and Tony lenti over there. He’s done a phenomenal job working with other, uh, for-profit and nonprofit organizations to, to move the needle. And it’s going to take, you know, like it’s like raising a child, it takes a village. And to, we’re not going to solve this, I understand that like, you know, people use the word crisis, unfortunately its repercussions of just the nature of the world that we live in. And so we’ve got to figure it out. Right,

Ryan Buck (35:48):

Right. Well, um, there are ways to contribute there’s there are ways to donate. There are in very unique ways, correct?

Geoff Streit (35:56):

We have a couple. So I mean, financially, we always will take some money from, can you go

Ryan Buck (36:00):

To the website for that?

Geoff Streit (36:02):

If you can’t, we will. I think maybe we can put out contact information, but I believe at the website we have contact information. So you

Ryan Buck (36:09):

Can HomeStretch housing.org, HomeStretch

Geoff Streit (36:13):

Housing.org. And so because we do have contact information, you can get on there and reach out to us to provide a donation, which we would very much appreciate. And we are a nonprofit. So it is tax deductible. If you are a landowner or a property owner, there are some interesting ways that you could donate or partially donate your property. Um, there are also some certain tax advantages that you could take advantage of. You know, if you were to gift us use of the land and let’s say you had a big piece of property and you had, you were going to do something on one portion and you wanted to gift us the other portion. There’s some huge benefits there. And then another big way people can help is to be an advocate. So when you see whether it’s a HomeStretch or a Trevor city housing commission or a Goodwill or another organization, a housing north, that’s looking to work on affordable housing, speak up because the old mantra of these section eight towers, I mean people think Cabrini-Green when they think affordable housing, they think Cabrini-Green in Chicago.

Geoff Streit (37:15):

It’s a giant tower where it’s run from. I remember it’s in there. Those buildings aren’t even there anymore. I remember it was a few years ago, they got very gentrified neighborhood. They got torn down. And so people have this misnomer that affordable housing is the ghetto. You know what I mean, air quotes right here, or it’s a blight or there’s crime and poverty went into fact is these are people you see every single day. These are the people at the grocery store. These are the people that are serving your food at your favorite restaurants. These are the people that you know, are driving your kids to school on buses. These are people that are the fabric of our community and we can’t forget about them. So be an advocate if you can’t do anything else,

Mark L. Wilson (37:54):

You know, with the aforementioned, uh, housing project in a much larger city and a much older project, I mean, one could say that it was actually like a failed project through trial and error through like our own social experiment as well.

Ryan Buck (38:11):

Stretch is invested. You’re not just building it and forgetting it. You’re hearing the community. It’s hard to not see those people at the grocery store.

Geoff Streit (38:20):

These are in, I always had a, you know, a soft spot for, for single moms. Hey, everyone gets a laugh out of that. But the reality is, is I’ve been a single parent and I get the struggle in when I’m fortunate and I can help people. I do. And when I, I’m not, I understand the plight. And from a personal perspective, I’m a complete, you know, I’m, I’m pretty much an anarchist. I want no government involved in the lives of people because I truly believe the, the longterm economic incentive for people is to be kind honest, truthful, and good business people like we’re all going to do the right thing because in the longterm that’s going to make us me better off because you’re not going to come out to try to get revenge. Right. So other than that, though, I know that if I want my community to be better, I got to take part in it. Like I can’t just sit back and point fingers and blame and do nothing.

Ryan Buck (39:13):

I think that’s why we live in a smaller community is the fact that we, we can, it’s a great place to be. And you don’t have distance as an excuse. You don’t have time as an excuse necessarily. I think that’s amazing. The website is HomeStretch, housing.org, great website, all the information. If you want to apply, are you taking currently

Geoff Streit (39:32):

Always taking current applications? So that’s like the, the tailor the head, right? So people are always reaching out to us to have housing and we may not have any available at that time. But as we build our lists and have demand one, if there’s an opening, we’ll, we’re going through applicants too, because it’s a somewhat arduous screening process and people who feel like they might fit, they may not. So it’s like the more people we have, but it also helps us push us and say, oh shoot, we’ve got 45 people that want housing. That all qualify that are already in our purview. We gotta find something to do. So that’s motivation. It’s motivation. And we are very motivated right now.

Ryan Buck (40:12):

That’s incredible. And again, opportunities to donate. You can find on the website. If you have a home, if you have land, please reach out home stretch housing.org. Geoff, thank you so much for your pursuits. Thank you to all of those who pursue along with you. Helping people find a home with dignity, giving them a place to live, maybe work, maybe raise a family. This is amazing. Thank you so much. And everybody thank you all for listening and for pursuing the possible.

Mark L. Wilson (40:46):

Hey, thanks again for joining us on the pursuit of podcasts. One more time. That’s home stretch, housing.org. Stop in show your support, spread the love, advocate. And also we want to give a shout out to our supporters, Herb N Meds in traverse city, Michigan that’s at HNMwellnessstore.com and also to tin lid hat company, that’s tinlidco.com. Use promo code: thepursuitof for both websites, special discounts to our listeners. We’ll see you next week.