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A Note to the Industry from Mike Holmes, NAA Chairman

When I gave my installation speech last November at the National Apartment Association’s (NAA) Assembly of Delegates meeting in Greenville, SC, nobody in the room, myself included, could have ever envisioned how quickly overshadowed most of my goals and initiatives would become by the COVID-19 pandemic—diversity and inclusion being the notable exception, which still very much remains a leading priority.

A year that began with officer installations for affiliates, speeches about diversity and inclusion, board meetings and Advocate has quickly become days of endless conference calls and Zoom meetings. The reality of what it means to operate rental housing amid a pandemic has captured our full attention and focus: What to do? Where is the playbook? Who has the answers?

As the initial shock began to subside, I took a deep breath and surveyed the landscape and an amazing picture formed in my mind.

I write today to share with you what I saw.

First, I saw our NAA team focus attention on the needs of our industry, providing a COVID-19 Resources and Guidance website that offers operational best practices, regulatory, legislative and legal guidance, economic impact reports, daily and weekly webinars, resources from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), NAA supplier partners and much more to aid members in navigating these uniquely challenging times.

They continue to work tirelessly to help members keep current with the ever-changing landscape, constantly supplying helpful updates, insight into changes and evolving issues and advocating for relief for our industry and its 40 million residents – all of this while keeping the daily business operations of NAA going, much the same as our membership is doing.

Next, I saw our members come together, circling the wagons, no longer as competitors in a highly competitive industry, but as industry professionals who not only recognize the need to work together to solve our common operational challenges created by the pandemic, but also recognizing our place as a cornerstone of our nation’s economy and a critical supplier of our country’s housing needs. Calls are being organized by affiliates, owners and management companies and suppliers across the country to share best practices, documents, challenges and solutions, all to solidify temporary operational protocols that balance the best interests and safety of our employees, our residents and our clients.

As I stood to speak at my installation in November, I paused long enough to scan the crowd, and I cannot begin to tell you how humbling it felt to be chosen as the NAA Chairman for 2020, and how proud I was to be part of such a great organization. Fast forward to today: To see how we have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and to witness how we have come together to collectively trailblaze a path forward when there was no map, makes me even prouder to be part of such a great organization.

While no one yet knows when this will be over, nor the landscape we’ll be encountering on the other side, I know that we will persevere because of people like you and because of an organization like ours.

I admire your resiliency, adaptability and courage in the face of adversity. Thank you for all you are doing, and I hope you stay safe and well.

Mike Holmes
Easlan Management Company
2020 NAA Chairman of the Board