It was ElEctIon Day anD propErty managEr
mIchElE hItE’s offIcE at channElwooD VIllagE
was fIElDIng call aftEr call from pEoplE askIng whErE to VotE.
In previous years, Channelwood had a polling place on
site. Located in Akron, Ohio, the Alpha Phi Alpha Homes
development contains a mix of townhouses and garden
apartments with some residents receiving government
subsidies and others paying market-rate rents. Hite, her
assistant and the receptionist spent much of their day
referring people to the county Board of Elections to figure
out their new polling place.
Hite’s to-do list was long that day. She worked on a
review for “one of the many government agencies” keeping tabs on the development, distributed 12 three-day
eviction notices, collected rents, checked billing discrep-ancies and performed an internal apartment inspection
(a supplement to the five conducted annually by outside
It was a fairly normal day.
Managing a mixed-income property is not for the faint
of heart. Hite said that if she could give one piece of advice
to a new manager at such a property it would be, “Take a
deep breath and hold on.”
It’s not just that some developments require a company
be certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
Development (HUD) in order to run them. It’s that prop-
erty managers at mixed-income communities handle all
the same tasks as their colleagues at standard residential
developments, plus a host of additional responsibilities
that call for exceptional versatility and skill. They must
possess the tact of a diplomat, the understanding of a
social worker and a bureaucrat’s ability to wrestle paper-
work to the ground. It also helps to have lots of energy.
Not everyone is suited for it, said Gayle Epp, a consultant at EJP Consulting Group and an expert on housing
“There are some who love to do this work, and others
who wouldn’t touch it,” she said.
The first mixed-income communities opened their doors
in the 1970s. The properties can be structured in many
ways. Units reserved for low-income residents can go
to people with income as high as 80 percent of the area
median income, or to former residents of public housing,
depending on the development. They
can be financed with municipal, state
or federal money, and sometimes the
dollars come as tax credits or low-
interest loans. But despite the variety
of set-ups, most mixed-income devel-
opments share a common purpose—
they are designed to counter the con-
centration of troubled, low-income
households within certain urban
neighborhoods by providing quality
housing for poor and working-class
people alongside homes occupied by
more affluent neighbors.
duty and deMograPhics
The managers charged with tending
these mixed-income communities
share many duties with managers
at market rate residential buildings.
Their first responsibility is leasing
the property’s units. But the fact that
they’re targeting at least two, and
sometimes three different economic
groups, changes their approach.
Sandra Cipollone, CPM®, is a senior
vice president at Interstate Realty
Management, AMO®, a New Jersey-