Meet Sean and Justin, two members of the ELCD Steering Committee!
- Sean Mock is a Project Funding Manager at Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity where he oversees the organization’s government grants.
- Justin Eilers is a Senior Project Manager at CommonBond Communities where he leads multifamily rental projects from acquisition to lease-up.
We serve on the same ECLD subcommittee, so it was nice to sit down for coffee and compare our experiences working on single family and multifamily housing development. We even discovered some mutual connections!
We began by comparing our current roles and how we got there. It’s a busy time for both of us. CommonBond has 14 more closings this year which is twice as many as normal. Likewise, Habitat is in the midst of several funding proposals to the Federal Home Loan Bank and Minnesota Housing. That said, we both agreed it was worth it to see the tangible result of making affordable housing a reality.
We each took different paths to our current positions. After getting his master’s degree at the Humphrey School at the University of Minnesota. Justin started at CommonBond as an intern and convinced them to hire him on as a Development Associate. From there, he rose through the ranks as a Project Manager, then Senior Project Manager. Now Justin has seven years at Common Bond under his belt.
Sean is a bit newer to the housing and community scene. He started as an intern at Minnesota Housing, then transitioned to a grant writing position at Habitat. It’s been two years now. Justin gave Sean some good advice about whether to consider grad school. For Justin, it was worth it because he wanted to change fields from career counseling to housing and community development. However, he suggested that grad school isn’t necessary in this field if you’ve already found your way in.
Lastly, we dove into some of the common funding sources for single family and multifamily development. We noticed that many funding sources, such as the Federal Home Loan Bank, Capital Magnet Fund, and New Markets Tax Credit are designed primarily for multifamily development. Likewise, we agreed that Opportunity Zones work best for commercial or market-rate rental projects. We also discussed Minnesota Housing’s visitability requirements for multifamily projects, which are now required for some single-family projects as well. Finally, since tax day was approaching, we delved into recent reductions in tax credit pricing due to tax reform. All in all, it was great for us to compare experiences working at different nonprofit affordable housing developers.