Asset Management University
The Importance of Asset Management
After an affordable housing deal has closed, another endeavor begins: ensuring that a property is run optimally, a function known as asset management. Unlike property management, which addresses day-to-day operations of the building, asset management focuses on an owner’s entire portfolio, seeking ways to optimize efficiencies and improve the physical and financial performance, in addition to overseeing construction and lease-up. Proper asset management supports tenant well-being and the housing organization’s financial sustainability, both of which are critical to maintaining affordable rents.
Growing the Capacity to Asset Manage
In 2014, staff from Enterprise’s Neighborhood Impact and Asset Management teams recognized a growing need to strengthen our partners’ asset management structures and build long-term asset management practices into each organization’s operations. While every affordable housing organization engages a property manager, fewer dedicate staff and resources to asset management.
Out of this need came the idea for Asset Management University (AMU), a program that helps organizations better undertake asset management of their housing portfolios. AMU seeks to train not just individuals but an entire organization, establishing institutional knowledge and culture that can outlast changes in staff or leadership. To this end, AMU engages not only asset managers, but executive directors and board leadership. At the end of the program, organizations come away with the tools and resources necessary to asset manage their portfolios for the long term.
Enterprise staff worked with partners internally and externally to develop a training curriculum for asset managers, executive directors and boards, specifically addressing challenges that affordable housing owners in New York City typically face. Enterprise invited organizations to apply, and in 2016, a cohort of 17 non-profit and Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) organizations, which collectively own a total of 14,000 units of affordable housing, kicked off the Asset Management University program. Participants attended monthly trainings on topics like overseeing a property manager, energy efficiency and emergency preparedness, portfolio preservation planning and more.
Putting Learnings into Practice
2017 marks the completion of the training component of AMU. Each participant has finalized or is in the process of finalizing an individual Asset Management Plan, which outlines the organization’s mission and goals for asset management, roles and responsibilities, how it will finance the position and more. In Year Two, the program’s second component, the participants will receive one-on-one consultation to help them put what they’ve learned into practice, which includes establishing performance metrics, creating and implementing asset management tools and targeting specific properties for improvements.
Some groups have already taken large steps forward in institutionalizing what they’ve learned: Acacia Network received approval from its leadership and board to hire additional staff, and is building out a full asset management department; Community League of the Heights (CLOTH) hired an asset manager and AMU helped CLOTH refine the staff member’s roles and responsibilities and prepare for onboarding; and HANAC, Inc. added an asset management position to oversee its housing portfolio.
After a year of trainings, AMU helped the participants think about the importance of asset management and how to most effectively devote resources to it. It provided a valuable platform for asset managers, executive directors and boards to have honest conversations about how their portfolios are overseen and what changes and resources might be necessary going forward. A comprehensive asset management strategy and ongoing dialogue between these parties will have measurable impacts on each organization’s housing portfolio, and, in turn, on the thousands of New Yorkers who rely on New York City’s affordable housing stock.
If you have any questions about AMU, please reach out to Jenny Yang at email@example.com.
Many thanks to Capital One and JPMorgan Chase for their critical support for Asset Management University and to the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development for its guidance.
Asset Management University’s 2016-2017 Cohort
- Acacia Network, Inc.
- Bridge Street Development Corporation
- Community League of the Heights
- Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation
- HANAC, Inc.
- JGV Management
- Lower East Side Coalition Housing Development, Inc.
- Northern Manhattan Collaborative
- Lott Community Development Corporation
- El Barrio's Operation Fight Back
- Hope Community, Inc.
- Youth Action YouthBuild
- MBD Community Housing Corporation
- Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizen's Council
- Settlement Housing Fund, Inc.
- St. Nicks Alliance
- Services for the UnderServed
- The Women's Housing & Economic Development Corporation
Enterprise Community Partners is celebrating 30 years in New York with a renewed commitment to a mission that is more important than ever: to create opportunity for low- and moderate-income people through affordable housing in diverse, thriving communities. The New York branch of the national organization invests capital to create and preserve quality affordable homes for low- and moderate-income people, reinvests revenues to develop programmatic solutions in coordination with public and private partners, and scales these solutions through policy change. Over the past 30 years, Enterprise has helped create over 57,000 homes and invested nearly $3 billion in New York, touching thousands of lives.