I heard Bill Clinton at the National Apartment Association convention in Denver last month. He’s certainly one of the most charming, well-spoken, articulate ex-presidents since, well, Ronald Reagan.
I was, however, distracted by the audience. The constituency of rental owners and managers, large and small, in the auditorium that day was compelling. The power of the room, overwhelming.
These are the men and women who truly shape the American landscape. They operate assets in excess of $2.7 trillion. They manage the gateway for each and every one of the 34 million Americans who rent, as well as the 100 percent who have rented at sometime in their lives. They house a spectrum of people as wide and diverse as our entire population: our poor, those opting for a more flexible lifestyle, those who wish to make investments other than a home, those in transition such as a job change or divorce, our young, our old, our university students and everyone in between. What an important part they play in shaping our country.
But it doesn’t stop at door of their rentals. As you’ll see from this issue, multihousing is at the forefront of social issues like fair housing, crime abatement, mental illness, poverty, terrorism and today, even illegal immigration.
While the home ownership society gets all the press, rental owner/operators are doing what they’ve done for years: providing homes and dealing with every social issue and condition that walks through its door.
Multihousing professionals are the brightest, most driven, entrepreneurial individuals you’ll ever meet. After all, they’ve chosen, not to lay their chips on well-packaged stocks and mutual funds, or go into a career that’s placid or predictable. They’ve chosen to jump into the fray of the American tapestry as rental owners and managers, no matter how complicated, socially stigmatized or fraught with life issues. Many even believe this is a place where they can make a difference in the world. What kind of fool is that?