Bigger Than Hood Profits

With all the chatter around how no one should invest in the hood (while everyone seemingly invest in the hood), we as a community have finally started to really understand the value in investing in real estate in our community.

As historically devalued neighborhoods, the ‘hood has always and will always have the biggest opportunity for financial growth. Low property values can only go up and with redlining being replaced with minimum purchase prices for loans, rentals will always be in demand,

High Demand + Limited Supply of Quality Housing = Strong ROI

Bottom line is…9 times out of 10 the numbers make sense when investing long term.

However, the value of investing in the ‘hood is about more than profits and the dollars.  It’s about the power of rebuilding OUR spaces with intention and through the lense of community building.

Let’s get a bit scientific…

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (see image) is a theory by Abraham Maslow that outlines what motivates people to be their best self. He concluded that each person needs things in 5 basic categories to be fully motivated: Physiological, Safety, Love, Esteem, Self-Actualization. Each of those categories are then prioritized in a heirarchy from basic or concrete to more abstract.

Stick with me here…

When I say that investing in the hood is about more than just “Hood Profits” I mean that by investing in neighborhoods historically overlooked that also house our Aunties, Cousins, Grandparents and Siblings, we inadvertently create an environment to change the hood from within. Or at least have the undeniable opportunity to do so.

When Maslow discussing the physiological needs of people, he specifically discusses the need for air, water, food, SHELTER, clothing, etc. Providing housing (and turning vacant shells of properties into homes) directly supports fulfilling part of this basic requirement. Kids walking past boarded up housing every day or not having a home at all can’t really be overly motivated to pay attention in class, listen to adults who can’t/haven’t maintained their community….

Safety becomes the next level in the hierarchy where we move from just having shelter to having a safe home to rest. This means that we’re not in the hood throwing folks inside any 4 walls but taking pride in our property and our role as landlords. AKA not being a slumlord.

Next we have Love & Belonging. I don’t know about y’all but there’s a pride in a tenant’s response when they realize their landlord looks like them. Even moreso when we’re half their age. Moreover, the imagery for a child who now has a new example or frame of reference for how money is or can be earned opens up a slew of potential possibilities.

Which then leads us to Esteem; not just self-esteem but community pride. Although Maslow describes this category as including friendship, family, and interpersonal connection, I would extend this to include having a strong community. When properties are occupied, property owners are active and community associations are engaged, neighborhoods are more likely to have individuals connections as well as stronger connections with city officials. City official connections means funding, resources and access to the needs of community members – something a lack of coordination and investment cannot achieve.

Lastly we have Self-Actualization where someone desires to become the best version of themselves.

Some may think this in a stretch but honestly, building up to providing a space where Self-Actualization is possible is why we started to invest years ago. Fulfilling a basic need as we provide a face to possibility so someone at some point has a new view of what is possible in their own life.

As we collect our “Hood Profits” we should be charged to remember the true value and opportunity of our presence. Yes, the dollars have to make sense. But if you’re getting a check direct deposited each month…what’s the true value?