I’m currently at our Corporate Board of Governors (CBOG) Retreat and I was reminded of my favorite thing about NAHREP: the beautiful lifetime friendships that are built through this network. I had the pleasure of having dinner with some of my favorite NAHREP personalities, including Jerry Ascencio, Marc Hernandez, Cristian Correa, AT Almeida, and Alex Garza. We laughed harder than I have laughed, quite frankly, in a very long time. I needed that laugh. We were vulnerable, teased each other, told stories about our families, and through laughter, we established deeper bonds with one another than ever before. No pretense, no airs, no politics, just pure friendship. It went down as one of my favorite, most wholesome NAHREP experiences ever.
It’s June! Can you believe that? We’re essentially halfway through 2022! I can’t even wrap my head around that. But, with any milestone, it’s important to do some reflections. A couple of highlights from the first half of this year: This March, we released our 11th edition of the State of Hispanic Homeownership Report where we not only featured artists, but we conducted the first-ever qualitative study, using our members to help us tell the story of Latino homeownership.
Over the next two months, NAHREP will be attending city council meetings all over the country to hold our local city officials accountable and put pressure on cities to build more entry-level housing for homeownership. The housing gap has reached crisis levels. We can no longer wait. Here’s the deal: no one is asking for more homes for first-time homebuyers. There are folks who are speaking up about affordable housing, which usually means rentals. While more rental housing is important, we can’t forget homes for homeownership!
For years, all conversations around increasing minority homeownership have been focused on access to credit. How do we secure enough lending programs out there to ensure that first-time homebuyers can get adequate and affordable financing to purchase their homes? This is why the most important conversations around minority homeownership have historically happened within the Department of Housing and Urban Development (FHA), Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA, who regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac), and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
This week the NAHREP familia took Congress by storm, meeting with a total of 53 U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators, 20 of which are member meetings. That means an actual Member of Congress joined almost half of our meetings! This is probably the most member meetings we’ve had since I joined NAHREP. This is a testament, I believe, to the work we’ve been doing at the National Advocacy Committee to increase our footprint and relationships in Congress. Your voices matter. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, we can complain all day long or we can use our voices and experiences to put pressure on the individuals who can actually do something about the problem.
I’ve always loved learning about history, and I still do. It’s identifying those key moments, events, and people who created a bend in the timeline of history, altered daily life, impacted a course of events, or changed our values. As a kid, I always wondered if the people who were witnessing these historic moments in real-time even knew they were what I like to call “life-bending” moments.
We haven’t done any wonky terms of the week in a while. So, in light of it still being January, the month of the year when we are still gung-ho about self-improvement, I thought we would focus on our financial health and the power of stock market investments. NAHREP 10 Principle #5: INVEST AT LEAST 20% OF YOUR INCOME IN REAL ESTATE AND STOCKS because they are the best and safest ways to build wealth (investing in other businesses does not count). If you read the State of Hispanic Wealth Report, you’ll see that Latinos are driving homeownership growth and are increasingly becoming real estate investors. However, Latinos are less diversified in their assets today than they were prior to the housing crash!
Like most of you, I spent this past weekend thinking about my New Year’s resolutions. I know I’m not alone in including “working on my health” as one of them. But my decision this year was to think about health beyond the traditional “working out and eating less processed food.” I want to think about getting healthier as moving, exploring, and just plain LIVING. I want to go on more hikes, and run and rollerblade by the ocean. I want to swap gym visits for dance parties in my garden. I want to swim more and skip around. A slight change in mindset, as all of you know, can lead to seismic changes in results. Thinking about my health as living and moving makes it much more exciting to me.
Recently, some of our NAHREP leaders were asked: “How would you describe NAHREP to elected officials?” I think the most important thing to remember in answering that question, is that when you describe NAHREP to elected officials or to any community leader in general, it is important to establish what we are, what we stand for, and why we matter in 30 seconds.
NAHREP is a business organization, and it’s also an economic mobility organization committed to building generational wealth for our familias. But most importantly, NAHREP is an organization committed to building leaders.
A NAHREP member is not only successful in their business, they are also exceptional leaders, in and out of the NAHREP familia. But, to be exceptional, we have to push ourselves out of our comfort zone. It is the only way we grow.