If all goes according to its business plan, Promise Homes Company will boost financial literacy, show people how to cut their taxes and add to affordable housing stock.
And also make a profit.
“It is possible to do everything we do and provide a good return, without being a jerk,” said John Hope Bryant, chief executive officer of the Atlanta-based company, founded almost exactly a year ago as an institutional owner of single-family homes.
This week, Bryant told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Promise had made an acquisition that nearly doubles its size. With the purchase of 167 properties from Invitation Homes, the Promise portfolio is swelling to more than 400 homes, most of them in metro Atlanta.
Bryant is best known for being founder, chairman and CEO of Atlanta-based Operation HOPE, Inc., which describes itself as “the largest not-for-profit provider of financial literacy, financial inclusion and economic empowerment tools and services in the United States.”
He is also an author of several books, including “How the Poor Can Save Capitalism: Rebuilding the Path to the Middle Class.”
With $130 million in capital, Promise Homes launched in June of 2017, immediately becoming one of the largest minority-owned companies owning and renting single-family homes.
And in some ways, Promise reprises the goals of Operation HOPE. Tenants are offered a series of educational programs aimed at boosting their financial literacy and advice on eligibility for the earned income tax credit. Tenants are rewarded for improving their credit scores.
“And if you do, we will give you a gift card for Target or a grocery store,” he said. Hit a high rating and Promise will cut your rent by 10 percent.
While the company might sacrifice some short-term profit, the idea is to benefit both landlord and tenant in the long run, Bryant said. “The tenants that we have will be left stronger, and they will become more valuable both to themselves and to us.” Like any property owner, Promise needs to hire workers to do maintenance, plumbing and electrical work, as well as general management. But the company will hire local, minority employees and contractors to perform those services, Bryant said.
The result will be a recycling of millions of dollars back into the community, he said. Read the rest of the article here at the AJC.