“Think outside of the box to increase affordable housing”, With Jason Hartman & Anna Mirtha Jaime

Think outside of the box to increase affordable housing. Be creative with your ideas when it comes to new ways to create well designed quality housing. One idea: build housing using shipping containers! Anna Mirtha Jaime, COO of Continental Development Holding (CDH), has over 30 years of experience in providing asset management leadership. She joined […]

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Think outside of the box to increase affordable housing. Be creative with your ideas when it comes to new ways to create well designed quality housing. One idea: build housing using shipping containers!

Anna Mirtha Jaime, COO of Continental Development Holding (CDH), has over 30 years of experience in providing asset management leadership. She joined CDH in its venture of developing affordable housing, because she is vested in improving communities where she has been engaged in providing housing assistance and workforce housing for many years. In her role, she is helping to lead the development and management of the properties that CDH has in the pipeline.

Based in Miami and working with county officials, CDH is led by Juan Carlos Jurado P.E., PMP. The company is developing 500 affordable housing units (single-family homes, townhomes, duplexes and multifamily buildings) over the next four to five years in the tri-county area. Company leaders are expecting to build 90–120 units per year.

CDH works with people in the communities to create quality affordable housing. It is staying active in the neighborhoods it builds. Its goal is to improve and support these communities by increasing the number of quality affordable housing options.

Jaime’s areas of expertise aremarket rate, low-income housing tax credit, rental assistance demonstration (RAD), public housing, and other forms of subsidized housing programs. Herexperience expands to developments, acquisitions and rehabilitations of real estate.

She has vast experience in an array of revitalization, transit-oriented, and mixed-use/mixed-income communities. In addition, she is experienced in RAD conversion, and participated in a lead role in the efforts of Broward County Housing Authority (BCHA), converting its entire public housing portfolio to Project Based Rental Assistance-PBRA (RAD).

In the role of vice president of Real Estate Management at the Broward County Housing Authority, Jaime was instrumental in the expansion of the agency housing inventory throughout Broward County. Later, Jaime started her own company, AMJ Consulting, LLC to provide construction and management consultations.

Jaime is a member of Leadership Broward, Class XXXIII. During her Leadership Broward class Jaime’s project was to develop a Human Trafficking Awareness Campaign, which was implemented later by The Junior League of Greater Fort Lauderdale. Jaime is also a member of The Junior League of Greater Fort Lauderdale and held the role of State of Public Affairs (SPAC) Delegate from 2015 to 2019. As the SPAC Delegate, Jaime advocated before the Florida Legislation on issues of importance to the community such as human trafficking, child abuse, domestic violence, juvenile justice, education, foster care, and others.

Jaime also sits on the board of directors of FLITE Center, a centralized facility in Broward County for dependent youth to learn the skills needed for independent living including: the importance of completion of education; government benefits, budgeting and banking; job and vocational training; housing options and other essential skills needed to live independently.

Jaime studied Business Administration at The City College of The City University of New York, and at Miami-Dade College. In addition, she holds the following certifications: LCAM, License Community; Association Manager, Registered Apartment Manager, Low Income Housing Tax Credit Property Manager, Low Income Housing Tax Credit Compliance Specialist, Public Housing Manager, Section 504 Compliance, and Multifamily Housing Specialist.

She has been affiliated withJunior League of Fort Lauderdale since 2015; Leadership Broward, Class XXXIII since 2014; theNational Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) and Florida Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (FAHRO) since 2002, and the National Association of Homebuilders since 1994.

Jaime resides in Pembroke Pines. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, growing orchids, and meditation. She also enjoys teaching and practicing Reiki.

Thank you for joining us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the Real Estate industry?

When I was a 20-year-old, while attending New York Business School in New York City, a friend of mine recruited me to take the real estate sales class and earn a license to work for General Development Corporation, selling land in Florida. I truly fell in love with the work and upon graduation, my school helped in placing me with a real estate management company. The rest was history.

Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?

At the beginning of my career, a male co-worker told me that I wouldn’t make it very far in this industry and in the country all together because I was triple minority — I am a woman, a person of color and a Latina whose first language is not in fact English. I, of course, told him that being a minority would never prevent me to achieve success. This man’s words simply fueled my desire to overcome any barrier in achieving success!

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Continental Development Holding (CDH) is currently working on developing affordable housing in the cities of Fort Lauderdale, followed by Dania Beach, Hollywood and Hallandale. In fact, our Fort Lauderdale homes have already broken ground, and we even have families living in a few of our completed affordable homes already. These families have been given the opportunity to reside in beautiful units with high-quality features all while paying below market rent. We’re very excited to continue to help families in need with affordable housing across Broward County.

What do you think makes your company stand out?

CDH has a social interest in the communities it builds. Although we are building these homes utilizing private equity, we’ve decided to leave money on the table by renting them below market value because we care for the families in our community. We hope to be a fabric of the communities where we develop, so we’re doing everything in our power to provide quality, sustainable, and high efficient affordable homes for families who may have otherwise been displaced by new development in these neighborhoods.

Can you share a story?

CDH has built five single family rental homes in the Sistrunk neighborhood within Fort Lauderdale. This area is burgeoning and luxury apartments are popping up left and right. Because of this, we could have easily placed these homes on the market for over $2,200 per month, plus maintenance and landscaping fees. However, we made the decision to lease these homes at $2,000 and below. The added bonus: that monthly rent includes a washer/dryer as well as exterior landscaping and maintenance! We’re truly working hard to revitalize the community.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?

I am forever grateful for the teachings and support I received from Edmund T. Coviello, the CEO of the very first real estate management company that employed me.

Can you share a story about that?

Upon graduating from business school, New York Business School connected me with Mr. Coviello. Even though I had no knowledge or experience in the real estate management field, he took a chance on me and offered me a job. I vividly remember during the interview, he asked me about my salary expectations and then offered to pay me well above what I considered fair for my experience level. During my tenure working for the company, Mr. Coviello often encouraged me to strive for greatness in my field and was always exceptionally kind to me. He took time out of his busy work schedule to ensure I was learning the best practices of the real estate industry, no matter how large or small the task. He even taught me how to fold a letter properly!

The Real Estate industry, like the Veterinarian, Nursing and Public Relations fields, is a woman dominated industry. Yet despite this, less than 20 percent of senior positions in Real Estate companies are held by women. In your opinion or experience, what do you think is the cause of this imbalance?

I think it’s true that in most industries, women can become second class citizens compared to men in executive roles. This is something I think has been instilled in us as a society and I believe one of the reasons is that we’re oftentimes encouraged to be less daring than men in making that intimidating decision to apply for a senior position unless we are overly confident and prepared to compete.

What 3 things can be done by a) individuals b) companies and/or c) society to support greater gender balance going forward?

I am not sure of what companies and/or society can do to motivate women to hold more senior positions in order to have greater gender balance aside from give us a shot! However, 3 things that individual women can do to achieve leadership roles are:

1. Believe in yourself.

2. Take a chance! Go out and apply for executive positions, even if you don’t know absolutely everything that position entails because, it’s ok not to know everything. You will never stop learning, no matter where you are in life.

3. Trust that you can do the job and that all will be ok.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by women executives that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

People, mostly men, tend to pay more attention to the opinions and recommendations of other men rather than those of a woman. Unlike men in these positions, women often find themselves having to justify their role as an executive and defend their opinions or recommendations, often needing to go above and beyond just to make her point.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Real Estate industry?

I’m very excited to aid in the opportunity to provide quality affordable housing to a family that otherwise would not be able to afford it.

I’m looking forward to enhancing communities across Broward County by providing beautiful well-built and well-maintained housing.

I’m eager to be given the opportunity of partnering with community leaders who share the same values as I do — improving the quality of life for local families by providing better, affordable and quality housing.

Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry?

I’m very concerned about the overall lack of sufficient affordable housing in the area.

I find it very troubling that over 50% of the families in Broward are paying more than 40% of their household income on housing alone, leaving little for bills and everyday expenses.

Lastly, insufficient government allocated funds to help alleviate the housing crisis is a big problem.

If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?

Increase the number and amount of government funds to create more affordable housing so that families pay no more than 30% of their household income on housing.

Provide training to increase family self-sufficiency and limit the housing subsidies to a term for families that are not elderly nor disabled.

Increase Homestead Exemption for elderly and disabled individuals to reduce housing cost burden.

What advice would you give to other leaders to help their team to thrive?

Get out of your comfort zones, think outside the box and be flexible!

You are a “Real Estate Insider”. If you had to advise someone about 5 non-intuitive things one should know to succeed in the Real Estate industry, what would you say?

Do not take anything for granted.

Study the market. In this industry, the market changes rapidly so you must stay informed and on your toes.

Be alert and ready to take advantage of a good deal when one pops up.

Be flexible and open to adjust your strategy when needed.

Think outside of the box to increase affordable housing. Be creative with your ideas when it comes to new ways to create well designed quality housing. One idea: build housing using shipping containers!

If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be?

Outside of the real estate industry, I am very passionate about fighting the human trafficking crisis; therefore, the movement I hope to inspire is that of providing human trafficking education at a very early age to prepare children to protect themselves of all forms of human trafficking. We also must ensure that laws are strictly enforced to prevent businesses from allowing human trafficking activities in their establishments. Within the real estate industry, I am a proud advocate for the elderly and disabled. I believe we, as a community, must do all that we can do to make sure the elderly and disabled have a decent and affordable place to live. This means, we must ensure that available public housing funds are utilized to address the housing burden among this group of, oftentimes forgotten, people.

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