February 2024

Bob Simpson, President, Multifamily Impact Council

As we move full-speed into 2024, I’ve been tremendously inspired by the impact the multifamily owners and operators I know are having on their residents in markets throughout the country. From providing quality homes to helping people boost their credit scores, health, financial security and literacy, education, and so much more, these companies are effecting real, positive change for millions of Americans, even amidst significant national economic challenges.  


Many of these owners and operators are members of the Multifamily Impact Council. We are fortunate to have them in our organization and to be a part of the impact investing movement, which is making a measurable difference in people’s lives. Since the Multifamily Impact Council’s mission is to promote impact investing in the multifamily space, we outline the seven principles of multifamily impact investing in our Multifamily Impact Framework™. This industry standard, which is completely free to download, guides organizations through each principle, helps them understand how it can enhance their impact strategies, and provides key reporting guidelines. Encouraging more companies in the multifamily space to adopt the framework is one of our key goals this year. 


Each principle in the framework addresses an issue with a resident focus: affordability, housing stability, economic health and mobility, resident engagement, health and wellness, climate and resilience, and diversity, equity and inclusion. These are the pillars that help residents to grow and thrive, right along with the multifamily communities in which they live. We’ll be exploring each pillar in our newsletter in the months ahead.  

Focusing on residents is integral to the operating strategy of one of our founding members, Freddie Mac Multifamily. We explore this philosophy below in an interview with Corey Aber, VP of Mission, Policy and Strategy for Freddie Mac Multifamily. Corey describes the many initiatives the organization has implemented to encourage resident-centered housing, particularly in underserved markets, as well as what owners/operators and service providers should consider when it comes to supporting and enhancing this type of housing. 


As you read this month’s newsletter, I hope you become as inspired as I am to make 2024 the year to dramatically deepen investor impact on the lives of renters throughout the country, while delivering strong, steady returns to investors for years to come. 


Happy February!

Bob Simpson 

President and CEO 

Multifamily Impact Council 

Corey Aber, Vice President of Mission, Policy and Strategy, Freddie Mac Multifamily

Corey Aber leads the mission-focused efforts of Freddie Mac’s Multifamily division, which seek to address the needs of underserved markets, encourage a more equitable multifamily housing finance system, and enhance the multifamily market’s focus on climate-related considerations. Corey is also the founder and co-host of the long-running Freddie Mac Multifamily Podcast.

1. What role does Freddie Mac play in supporting resident-centered housing in the multifamily industry and specifically in the properties it finances?

Freddie Mac is broadly focused on encouraging resident-centered housing as a key part of our mission. Recently, we launched new borrower-facing resources that highlight best practices and programs proven to be effective by our most impact-focused multifamily operators. In addition, in the past year, we’ve redoubled our efforts to ensure that our expectations around property conditions are being met. To that end, we’ve worked to refresh understanding of, and in some cases improve, our asset management procedures.

2. How does Freddie Mac go about fulfilling that role? Are there any examples you're able to share?

We’re enormously proud of our credit-reporting initiative, which encourages the reporting of on-time rent payments to the major credit bureaus. Millions of renters in this country are not seeing their largest payment every month – their rent – used to help them build the credit they need to eventually become homeowners, receive affordable car loans, and advance their own economic futures. Freddie Mac recently brought on board new credit-reporting vendors to expand our program, which makes the first year of credit-building services at a property cost-neutral for borrowers. As a result of this initiative, more than 375,000 renters have enrolled in the program. Of those, more than half saw their credit scores increase, and 35,000 renters now have a credit score for the first time.

3. Are there specific incentives for those doing business with Freddie Mac to maintain a resident-centered focus?

Right now, we require that sponsors undertake resident-centered activities as a component of our Tenant Advancement Commitments. This offering provides developers conventional financing with favorable pricing and credit terms in exchange for their commitment to keep a portion of their buildings’ units affordable and provide social services for residents. We are also encouraging a resident-centered approach through our Impact Sponsor program, which identifies operators who are engaged in and pioneering this work. We are striving to make the Impact Sponsor label a symbol that can signal to investors and the market more broadly a focus on advancing renter well-being.

4. How has Freddie Mac's approach to renters' health and wellness evolved? For example, are there any pandemic-related lessons or changes you've implemented?

Over time, Freddie Mac has come to view our core affordability mission more holistically. Affordability is central, but we’re also interested in housing that can help improve renters’ lives, whether that’s through financial opportunity, improved health outcomes or an enhancement in overall tenant well-being. We can see that in the work of our Impact Sponsors that we help encourage. The efforts of sponsors like Comunidad to make healthcare more accessible through telehealth is one initiative we are proud to highlight. We also work to identify various certification programs that can help lead sponsors toward practices and programs that broadly advance wellness.

5. What are some things owners/operators and service providers should consider when it comes to supporting and enhancing resident-centered housing?

First, get the basics right. In today’s market, properties are run on tight margins, so property upkeep has to come first, and it can have a direct impact on health. Second, consider the needs of your unique tenant population. Freddie Mac doesn’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach, but we do want to encourage a focus on tenant well-being across the board and identify the good work of others that we think can be replicated. 

6. Is there anything else you'd like to add?

We look forward to continuing to identify and champion work that makes an impact in tenants’ lives, and to continuing to learn from our partners throughout the industry, including those at the Multifamily Impact Council.

Industry News and Updates

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