COVID-19 Crisis – Multifamily Update
Multifamily Management is Essential
To survive, humans have basic needs that must be met: air, food, water, shelter and sleep.
As we move into our next phase of social distancing amid the Coronavirus COVID-19 crisis and more cities and counties an states restrict non-essential business issuing “Stay at Home Orders,” we must give thought to continuing to provide for these basic human needs. Shelter is on this list and that means us, the multifamily industry. Amid chaos and crisis, people need housing and well-managed accessible apartments will be sought.
The safety of our apartment residents, staff, owners, investors, vendors and their families is the most important thing to us during this difficult time.”
– Terri Clifton, President of Better World Properties LLC
We have signed a surprisingly large number of apartment leases this past week. We attribute this to three factors, 1) people have time on their hands to shop, 2) families no longer feel as bound by school obligations, and 3) some of our competitors are closed or unavailable. Word is getting out that we care. We are offering on line video tours, online applications and we are visible and accessible at all of our apartment properties.
We sampled our available employment data, categorized by industry, then made assumptions about the ability of each of these to continue employing, or at least paying, workers beyond a two-week layoff. In a worst-case scenario, we believe as many as 30% of our residents could be challenged to pay rent if a state of affairs similar to, or more restrictive than that which exists today, persists beyond March 31st. We are currently using this data to forecast potential shortfalls and develop creative solutions before the next cycle begins in April. To get a better fix on this, we have challenged ourselves to call every resident personally this week and reach out with a personal message to see how they are doing.
This week we are focused on positive messages, planning ahead and helping people make it a better world. This includes:
- Sharing positive, helpful and educational resources
- Providing assistance and learning resources for families and kids
- Promoting the donation of blood
- Keeping tabs on our most vulnerable residents
- Cleaning and maintenance projects around our apartment properties
- Encouraging people to get outdoors while respecting social distancing
Keys Goals Now
Our goal this week is to speak to every resident live by phone or video chat to understand how they are doing, provide reassurance, explore needs, and help us better prepare.
- How are you doing? How are you really doing?
- Are you staying in?
- Is there anything you need?
- A/C Filter?
- Are smoke detectors beeping?
- Major maintenance issues?
- Do you have access to groceries?
- Verify that we have current Emergency Contact Information.
- How is work going?
- Get updated employment information
- Is your company busy, steady or shut down?
- If they are shut down, are they taking care of you?
- If their employer is busy, are they hiring?
- Residents will have questions. We refer to our Resident Letters which have clear guidelines.
- We do not:
- Guess, speculate or give medical advice
- Repeat unverified or unofficial information
- Ask about a person’s health or medical condition
- Discuss what is going on with other individuals
- Promise that any particular thing will happen beyond what we have officially shared
What We Are Doing Collectively
- We are encouraging people to remain calm and help others – find opportunities to be positive, assist the elderly and educate a child. Our hope is the medical consequences of COVID-19 will not be as severe if we all do our part.
- As a community, we can help preserve resources for those that may get very sick from this virus by staying in and not being around others any more than necessary. This slows down the spread of the virus so that everyone does not sick at once and overwhelm medical facilities.
- Click here if searching for COVID-19 testing in Harris County Texas, or Click here for additional information.
- Click here for a 5-minute video on how COVID-19 may work in the body. Video content by Science Insider.
- Some great tips can be found here from Angela Blanchard, a globally recognized expert practitioner in community development and disaster recovery on how to navigate through disaster.
- Please resist hoarding. We do not have a food shortage. It is disturbing to see security personnel in toilet paper aisles. Food and necessities are being replenished quickly. Act as if there is plenty.
- Get news from factual sources – See below for some news resources. Facebook, Instagram, or other social media platforms are great for fun memes and positive stories. They may not be the best resources for factual news. Take a break from social media. Studies show social media use can increase stress, anxiety and depression.
Real News costs money to gather, verify and distribute. There are two types of real news – public news and commercial news. Public news is paid for by governments and donors. Commercial news is funded by advertisers and subscribers. Beware of biased information and consider where news is coming from and if there is a financial incentive behind the information.
Below are news resources that we check daily. Most have a free app you can download as well. We have no political affiliation regarding news. We check them all. This is not a time for polarized politics. It is a time for all of us to come together and support each other during this crisis. Together, we will be stronger.
National News Resources
- NPR – National Public Radio
- PBS – Public Broadcasting Service
- USA Today
- Wall Street Journal
Greater Houston Area
- The Houston Chronicle – Key content unlocked with free access.
- Houston Public Media (KUHT, KUHF, PBS, NPR)
- KPRC – Click 2 Houston
- KTRK – Channel 13
- KHOU – Channel 11
- Community Impact Newspapers (available by neighborhood)
- NextDoor App – First-hand reports from real people and authorities in your immediate residential area
- Beware of online click bait –headlines designed to be so intriguing you can’t stand not to look. These never lead to anything truly good or useful. If you do not know the source, be hesitant to click. Beware of online claims for “cures.”
We are leading by staying calm and positive and remaining at the forefront of news while actively managing our properties. Please feel free to reach out with questions or to gather information. We are here for the long term and to be of service for the multifamily industry. Together, we remain strong.
Better World Properties LLC provides jobs for 100+ families and is responsible for the apartment homes for over 3,000 more families. Senior leadership at Better World Properties LLC combines over 100+ years of apartment management, multifamily financing solutions and apartment operational experience with decades of disaster and crises relief experience offering unique insight in managing multifamily properties during uncertain times. Not long ago, the company expertly and successfully navigated through the unprecedented devastation of Hurricane Harvey.