• russellbjorkman

Community is the Ultimate Amenity

We were recently touched by the Faith Driven Investor podcast with Pete Kelly of Apartment Life. Pete is the Executive Director of Apartment Life, which has served more than 3 million residents across the US and Canada. In the podcast, we resonated with Pete’s commentary on the importance of relationships not just for the soul but for the bottom line. Apartment Life’s faith-driven business model helps apartment owners and management companies with their two greatest needs: resident retention and resident satisfaction. In addition, they meet the very important God-given need of relationships and community through the servanthood of their apartment coordinators. Pete emphasises the fact that when the human need for relationship is not met within multi-family homes, there is an increase in levels of unhappiness which then result in occurrences like: bad reviews, lack of care to the dissatisfied renter’s apartment, and the increased likelihood of leaving one multi-family home for another (on a practical level- on an emotional/ spiritual level, there is an additional set of unfortunate things that occur). Through Apartment Life’s model, we see an increase in customer satisfaction largely due to the significant increase in social interaction. The servant hearted coordinators develop this social interaction by welcoming new residents into an apartment complex, running monthly events like BBQs, and more. This act of serving the tenants results in the building of community within the apartment complex.

Pete describes residents as a hidden amenity and at Lighthouse we see community as the ultimate amenity. We love what Apartment Life is doing, and we love that our good friends at Cornerstone have partnered with Apartment Life to launch Community Life, an Apartment Life-type model for Northern Ireland. You can read more about Cornerstone’s multifamily project which helps to renew the city of Belfast, home to years of Protestant/ Catholic strife and involves a similar coordinator role to what Apartment Life uses here.

In light of this discussion, consider an exercise: Take where you live; then draw a tic-tac-toe diagram and put yourself in the middle. After doing so, ask yourself: How many of your closest neighbors can you name? In addition, can you name their occupation as well as something that is important to them? This is a convicting exercise to almost all of us... May God give us the wisdom and the heart to show kindness to our neighbors, tenants and owners and to reach out and build community where it is lacking.

Father, thank you that we get the privilege of learning from good steward such as Pete Kelly, Cornerstone, and those in Apartment Life. It is a treasure to serve You alongside these brothers and sisters. We ask that you would continue to invade our lives and ever business endeavour with your perfect presence. In Jesus' name, amen.

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