Since FHDC formed Evolve Property Management and Workforce Development in 2016, the organizations have shared office space and collaborated on managing properties and training local residents, people of color, and low-incoming individuals on the ins and outs of the maintenance and property management industry.
It has not always been an easy transition; FHDC launched Evolve by moving all property management staff to the new organization to manage FHDC’s properties and to also grow the capacity to manage properties for other third-party affordable housing developers while making sure that workforce and training remained a core component of the new nonprofit. This transition left FHDC with a small staff of just 5 to shift focus on housing development.
The demand for a mission-driven property management organization was felt immediately — Evolve grew to manage over 1,000 units in just two years across the Central and Northwest region of Oregon. FHDC, as the parent company, has always placed importance on the need to ensure that Evolve is trained and a part of the unique communities we serve, and that employees, new and old, understand our shared history and values.
Last month, we began a series of internal trainings for the organizations to develop a stronger culture of collaboration and for staff to become comfortable with each other, educated about the work we do and the goals we have, and to ultimately create understanding around the joint mission to uplift immigrants, farmworkers, communities of color, and low-income families.
The collaborative series kicked off with FHDC 101 following the timeline and history of the organization, and how both organizations are delivering on a similar mission in different ways. The next training will cover EVOLVE 101. The trainings are designed in support with The Ford Family Foundation, pinpointing the backgrounds of our founders and employees, and how many of the staff from both organizations have a lot in common with each other and with our residents. One key exercise required participants to follow simple instructions to complete an activity, in which many people interpreted in different ways or didn’t fully understand it. It was an experience that opened a conversation about learning. Key take-aways included that everyone receives information differently and has different learning styles and abilities and that it’s important to keep this mindfulness when we work together and when we work with residents to help them achieve their goals.