Tiny House. Big Impact.

Tiny housing making big impact on combating homelessness in America

Affordable housing and providing access to quality housing is a vital social responsibility for the multifamily industry and something that is near and dear to the heart of Package Concierge, especially founder and CEO Georgianna W. Oliver. As such, we wanted to share with you this blog from Andy Helmer, CEO of Shelters to Shutters, a national non-profit working to help combat homelessness, on how our industry can make a difference.

The fight to end homelessness in this country is a massive undertaking. About 3.5 million Americans experience homelessness each year, according to the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. Alleviating this problem in a meaningful way will surely require a multi-faceted effort involving federal, state and local governments, non-profits and the private sector.

Tiny homes have become a solution to homelessness. Here’s one possible component of the solution to this giant issue: tiny homes. Across the U.S., organizations are using tiny houses and apartment homes, which typically range from 100 square feet to 500 square feet, to provide shelter for the homeless.

For instance, the nonprofit American Family Housing recently opened Potter’s Lane, a 16-unit community in Midway City, Calif., to house homeless vets. The property features 480-square-foot apartment homes made from energy-efficient shipping containers.

Across the country, in Newfield, N.Y., the nonprofit Second Wind Cottages, relying heavily on donated materials and volunteer labor, built a community of 12 tiny homes that house homeless men. Residents pay rent as they are able to help defray the community’s operating expenses.

Other examples of similar communities include the Tiny House Village in Seattle and the Community First! Village in Austin, Texas.

Advocates of these developments note that they are comparatively cheap to build, and constructions costs often are further mitigated through the use of materials and labor supplied for free by area businesses and residents.

Can the multifamily industry incorporate tiny apartment homes for the homeless into their communities? It’s certainly something to think about. With its ample resources and vast supply of creative and intelligent people, the multifamily industry should not be shy about stepping up to the plate to help address this critical issue, and tiny apartment homes might be one way to do that.

Another Piece to the Puzzle

Shelters to Shutters (S2S), a Fairfax, Va.-based nonprofit, offers another way for the apartment industry to reduce homelessness. S2S currently works with 23 apartment management companies – including such large operators as

How tiny would your tiny home be?

AvalonBay Communities and Equity Residential – to place people experiencing homelessness in onsite, entry-level jobs and provide them with housing at the same communities at which they work.

Overall, these apartment companies have moved more than 100 people out of homelessness in the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Northeast, South and Texas. And they’ve gained hardworking, loyal associates in the process. The job retention rate for S2S participants is 92 percent while the average industry turnover rate, according to the National Multifamily Housing Council, is 31 percent.

S2S provides its apartment management partners with pre-screened, job-trained candidates for entry-level positions such as maintenance technicians and leasing agents. The organization focuses on the 70 percent of the homeless population who are situationally homeless due to a life-altering event such as job loss, medical or health emergency, divorce, domestic abuse or the loss of a primary income earner.

Whether it’s through tiny homes, working with nonprofits like S2S or some other method, the multifamily industry can make a real difference in the fight against homelessness. I strongly urge you to consider how you and your apartment company can do just that.

Want to learn more about us? Click here to find out – Package Concierge

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All Encompassing: Package Concierge Offers Package Shipping and Returns

One in three.

That’s right: 30 percent of every online purchase is returned.

Did you know around 49% of retailers offer free return shipping now? Package concierge is here to help.

According to invespcro.com, 30% of all products ordered online are returned as compared to 8.89% in brick-and-mortar stores.

We already know that ecommerce is bigger than ever with people spending more than a $200 billion annually – a steadily rising number. It is estimated that online shopping has grown more than 17 percent over the last decade. And as more and more brick-and-mortar stores close their doors ecommerce is projected to further skyrocket.

While online shopping offers a greater convenience with the ability to shop 24/7 and from various devices, it still lacks the sensory appeal that comes with shopping at a brick-and-mortar retailer. As such, 60 percent of returned packages are due to either damaged goods, the product looks different than what was online or it was simply the wrong item.

A report released by Sanford C. Bernstein indicates that Amazon ships an average of 608 million packages each year, or 1.66 million daily. According to UPS, they deliver approximately 18 million packages daily during typical non-peak shipping periods while FedEx boasts 13 millions daily packages.

So what does this mean?

While these figures don’t take into account the massive upswing in package deliveries during the holiday season (think double the volume), we are looking at roughly 9 million packages returned every single day.

Package Concierge is further improving your package management solutions, and ensuring your leasing office and leasing team no longer have to deal with mountains of packages.

Shipping and Returns is now available from Package Concierge and operates through its package locker system. Similar to package pickup, residents have access to shipping and returns capabilities 24/7.

With Shipping and Returns available from Package Concierge, apartment owners and operators:

  • Provide even greater convenience for your residents by allowing them to returns items they are unhappy with, as well as ship packages to their friends and family.
    • Satisfied residents are more likely to renew their leases – more than 80 percent indicate that effective package management positively impacted their renewal decision.
  • Offer efficiencies to burdened delivery carriers
    • By taking advantage of their regular stops, carriers no longer have to make extra trips to pick up outbound shipments or returns.
  • Generate ancillary revenue
    • Whether or not you chose to charge residents for this service, you garner improved ROI through enhanced resident satisfaction.

Contact us today to learn more about how Shipping and Returns can further improve your package management!

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3 Things Millennials Want In An Apartment

Millennials

Getting Millennials To Settle In Your Community

If there’s one generation breaking the mold, it’s Millennials. Born between the years of 1980 thru 2000, they constantly attract the attention of the media through their job-hopping habits, their diversity and their high levels of education. Being the most studied generation in history, Millennials have a different outlook on life than previous generations and are gearing up to change the spending habits of our current economy. This all might sound a bit intimidating at first but it’s great news for the multifamily industry. Millennials are drawn to renting for a variety of reasons and they cherish the ability to pick up and move whenever they like. Because of this, renting has never been more attractive. So how can apartment developers capitalize on these tech-savvy nomads? Here are the top three things Millennials look for in their future communities.

  • Technology – This should be obvious but not all communities understand it. It’s not about Internet access and gaming areas; it’s also about the little things. Great examples making all the difference are USB chargers built into wall outlets, keyless electronic access throughout the property and even a simple digital rent payment system. These all display your community’s commitment to keeping up with the times. Hey, it doesn’t hurt to have tech-savvy amenities, such as a Package Concierge. They order a lot of packages and they want to receive them on their schedule!
  • Attractive Apartment Layouts – For Millennials, less is more. They’re willing to downsize the bedroom for a larger living room where social interaction takes place. Michael R. Ytterberg, principal at BLT Architects, believes in this characteristic as he states: “Within the apartment itself, one of the most important features that Generation Y renters look for is an open floor concept with a large living space. As a result, smaller bedroom spaces aren’t a drawback if the living space can support their naturally social lifestyles.” This makes sense given Millennials thrive socially.
  • 21st Century Health and Wellness Centers – A barren room stocked with treadmills and rusty weight systems won’t cut it anymore. In its place, fitness centers in multifamily communities have been placing a heavy emphasis on yoga studios, pilates and “fitness on demand” digital classes broadcast through large TV’s. Millennials care deeply about wellness and are inarguably one of the healthiest generations ever.

These three characteristics will help your community be lively and vibrant. While Millennials enjoy having the ability to come and go as they please, statistics show that if they’re happy, they’re willing to rent longer, which is great news for the apartment industry. Ytterberg reiterates this point when he says “Many Millennials today are willing to spend more on their monthly rent to live in a prime location that offers them convenience, comfort and choice.” If apartment communities can provide what they’re looking for, it may turn a generation of wanderers into a bunch of homebodies. And what’s better than happy residents who want to stay a while!

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5 Great Cities for Green Apartment Living

The progress society has made in terms of eco-friendly technology and building standards mean that more people are seeking ways to live green and have a smaller footprint on the environment. One of the ways you can help the environment is to live in green apartments when seeking a home in a city or urban area. Every city is working in its own way to make the Earth a better place for future generations, but there are a few that stand out above the rest. Although there are green apartment sand for-rent communities throughout the U.S., these 5 cities (in no particular order) have high concentrations of green-built communities, and go the distance in making it easier for you to live green.

Washington, DC:

Washington, DC is where the U.S. Green Building Council (the nonprofit that created and oversees LEED certification) is headquartered. That alone gives this city an edge. With at least seven apartment communities in the area that have achieved LEED certification by being built with sustainable construction materials, recycling waste material, and choosing fixtures to reduce the amount of fumes and toxins released into the air, DC is a great place to be involved in the green movement.

Denver:

Denver has a lot to choose from when looking to rent green. Many apartment buildings have been renovated from old industrial locations and given unique decor themes for the community. These projects help cut down on wasted materials and green-house gases that construction equipment releases into the atmosphere.

The city also offers light rail and bus service, plentiful farmers markets, and is located near the natural beauty of the Rockies. Forbes also named Denver the number 5 top healthiest city in the U.S. If that doesn’t convince you, perhaps you should visit the majestic mountain city for yourself.

Chicago:

Going green in Chicago is a city-wide effort. Not only do they have the country’s second-largest public transit system, but they also initiated green roof projects, encouraged hotels, and restaurants to go green and have a myriad of green places for rent.

The previous and current mayors of Chicago have also shown great support for the Chicago Climate Action Plan, an initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. The city also hosts the Chicago Center for Green Technology, the first rehabilitated municipal building in the U.S. to achieve LEED Platinum rating.

Portland:

Portland is, in general, a great place to live green. Those who want to rent have a wide range of eco-friendly options. Beyond recycling and energy-efficient appliances, many apartment buildings in Portland were built green from the ground up and are LEED certified. Many green communities also have bike storage and car-share options, like ZipCar.

In addition to its green apartment communities, Portland also has a focus on locally grown food, a vibrant public transit system, and was rated number two on Virgin Vacation’s “11 Most Bike Friendly Cities in the World” list.

New York City:

Everyone knows New York is a place unlike any other. Its architecture is iconic, and believe it or not, much of it is also green! Through the 2000s, multiple laws have been signed into effect in NYC to ensure many new construction projects meet green guidelines, including apartment and condo buildings. New York City is also home to Melrose Commons, one of the few LEED for Neighborhood Development Platinum certified neighborhoods in the country.

Even the Empire State Building achieved LEED Gold certification in September 2011, a great example of green retrofitting of existing buildings.

Surely, one of these five great cities has a green apartment ready for you to rent!

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