The innovation of Innovative Housing Opportunities is in building attractive, low-cost housing developments to provide housing for those in need. Most housing developments built for low- to moderate-income families in the country are below the standards of a regular home found in the real estate market. Through their innovation of building attractive housing in par with the public real estate market, they are able to provide not just housing but a healthy lifestyle for their residents.
Chul Hyung Lee
St. John's University
Innovative Housing Opportunities (IHO), created in Southern California as a non-profit affordable housing developer, has been involved in the protection and well-being of low- to average-income individuals and families for more than 40 years now. IHO’s innovative real estate growth and resident services teams work collectively with business allies that share their dedication to building extensive community development as well as economic agreement. To accomplish the goal of providing sufficient resources other than housing so that its residents can motivate and sustain themselves, IHO innovated their development through building attractive, low-cost housing environments that would not be different from market-rate properties, and where tenants and occupants can flourish, evolve, and accomplish their goals. The mission is to enhance communities by providing them with high-quality affordable housing, which can have positive impacts on those most in need. By having high-quality affordable housing, they are able to avoid having any vacancies and able to provide the additional services to the community.
IHO was created in 1976, and the whole idea behind this was to help the business industry and government address the shortage of low- to moderate-income housing in the City of Irvine as well as providing opportunities for residents who are able to achieve housing independence and go on to become mentors to others struggling with housing insecurity. At the time of its foundation, IHO drew together businessmen, policy makers, the education and faith communities, and local citizens to find a common construction solution that would contribute to the capability to both live and work in the City of Irvine. From then and on, collaboration has been indispensable to IHO's capacity to fix convoluted housing issues and incorporate new solutions.
Innovative Housing Opportunity has lived up to its name. By creating high-quality low-income housing for senior citizens, veterans, and the disabled, IHO is instilling pride and self-esteem into these communities. Not only has IHO made housing more affordable for its residents, but also the company has maintained the ability to financially sustain and expand operations. Mrs. Mills said, “Most non-profits need to have this mindset. A lot of non-profits think with their heart; for-profits think with their head. You've got to have both. No money, no mission.” By living by this mindset, IHO is able to ensure they have the ability to cover operating expenses. Many non-profits are unable to sustain themselves, leading to the loss of buildings and resulting in evictions and possibly homelessness because tenants are no longer able to afford to pay market-rate prices for their apartments without public subsidies.With combating homelessness being the main focus, IHO works to go beyond what is minimally required to receive grants from the state. By providing additional services like multicultural health seminars, employment search assistance, daycare, and financial literacy programs, they are taking strides in combating chronic homelessness. They look to provide housing in high-transit areas or areas with higher quality amenities (parks, schools, grocery stores, etc). Having these opportunities gives people with low incomes a sense of pride, safety, and the ability to escape current financial constraints and focus on bettering themselves.
Services and amenities provided by IHO will affect communities now and in the future. By providing these services, residents are able to work towards accomplishing educational and financial goals. Once they accomplish these goals, with the tools acquired while being a tenant, residents are equipped to reinsert themselves into the community under more stable conditions. IHO has a vacancy rate of about 2%. By ensuring high housing occupancy, IHO is able to maintain inflow of grants and rent income to invest in future community-based projects.
By providing high-quality low-income housing, IHO has noticed that tenants are more likely to pay rent on time out of fear of losing their apartment. This provides steady income for the organization and gives IHO the ability to maintain current properties and expand, creating new units.
The social impact that IHO brings is not just providing housing for those in poverty, but also bringing high-quality housing with community resources to the ones who need them the most. IHO equips those in need with personal development and health resources to maintain a healthy lifestyle. They also help their residents, who are usually in the low to moderate income level, to sustain themselves financially. Their services can help lower unemployment levels and enrich the lives of those in poverty.
Rochelle Mills, President and Chief Executive Officer
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Irvine, California, US
Business Website: www.innovativehousing.com
Year Founded: 1976
Number of Employees: 11 to 50
To fulfill its vision of providing high-quality affordable housing that comes with services and programs for economic self-reliance for those in need, Innovative Housing Opportunities (IHO) has been serving those in need of a home for over four decades. Through the years, what once started off as a non-profit organization in building homes and communities for low- to moderate-income families, IHO now offers its residents more than a home. With services that promote physical health and economic empowerment for its residents, IHO is able to enrich and nourish high quality of living through its rich community. To accomplish its vision for the past four decades, IHO has gone through innovations in building out such service programs and building in-house real estate development resources throughout the years. Their work helps solve five of the UN SDGs: