Homeport Employee Profile: Roy Lowenstein

Roy Lowenstein

Roy Lowenstein

Title: Project Developer

Responsibilities:

I help put housing projects together, from concept through placed-in-service/cost certification. I evaluate real estate and also prepare spreadsheets on most projects, especially on tax credit projects. I advise our development team regarding strategy to help get tax credit applications funded.

I am kind of a Qualified Allocation Plan (tax credit plan) scientist, trying hard to learn the scoring and the nuances that inform decisions on what projects to pursue and how to maximize scores. What I’m able to do is integrate the understanding of project costs, design, funding sources, QAP strategy and politics to recommend or shape a project concept to run with. Then I help prepare tax credit and gap financing applications (to Ohio Housing Finance Agency, City, County, Federal Home Loan Bank) and, if I’m also Project Manager, work with all the design, construction and financing partners to bring a project forward to closing and construction start.

The level of responsibility varies by project, but I like to have some role in as many projects as possible. I’ve been doing this kind of work so long that I can contribute in many ways.

What do I like most about the organization?

Homeport is a friendly place to work and emphasizes teamwork. The culture of the organization is supportive. People talk to each other and I hear laughing sometimes. I don’t feel we are competing against each other or have a cutthroat attitude about our competitors. We take the moral high ground in our work. And we do get a lot of important work done to meet the mission of the organization, which is itself really impressive. As this is my third stint at Homeport, I can really appreciate its accomplishments over time.

What have I done in my life that I am most proud of, that people may not be aware of?

Well, I don’t have a lot of secrets so at least some folks know these things, but there are 3 things in my life I am proud of:

1) As a really young man I made a commitment to do good in the world. Later on, I found ways to make money doing that -- but I didn’t abandon the commitment. In my career I have worked on over 200 affordable housing projects that were developed, resulting in more than 7,000 homes. A lot of these are for people who have mental disabilities, extremely low-income or seniors. It is very satisfying to think about all the people who have had a good place to live as a result.

2) I am proud of being Dad to five kids who have grown up to be smart and ethical adults; and I’m proud to have a wonderful marriage of 30 years.

3) I am proud of not getting old too soon, continuing to learn and explore new things. One contributor is staying in shape (weight work, aerobics, yoga) and eating a (mostly) healthy diet.

Roy and the ancient Colosseum in Rome.

Roy and the ancient Colosseum in Rome.

Favorite things I do outside of work?

On a daily basis, I like physical activity better than sitting on the couch. Hanging out with my wife, exploring the craft beer universe, seeing the “kids” (and grandkids) are also favorites. We like to go hiking, camping, traveling when we can. Mountains, woods and beaches are my favorite places away from home. I particularly enjoyed a vacation to Italy where I visited Manarola, Vernazza and Rome. I’ve had a vegetable garden every year since 1976, so that has to make the list. I like woodworking, too.

Personal heroes?

When I was young, I wanted to be like Thomas Jefferson, because he was really good at so many things (this is before less savory things about him became well known). So, I have tried to be like that within the framework of my own life. I’m not big on heroes, really. A hero of mine would have to combine very high integrity with important accomplishments and the problem is, the accomplishments usually come through an exercise of power that tends to compromise integrity. Someone who has achieved both things is Bill Faith (COHHIO Director), but he’s been a friend of mine for 40 years, so I hadn’t thought of him as a hero. I quit thinking about heroes a long time ago, although I know that below the radar, especially, there are thousands of people doing heroic things.

What do I like about Central Ohio?

I like how Columbus has become a real city, finally. This was never going to be the New York I grew up in (I didn’t want to live there anyway), but it was such a different place when I came here in the ‘70s. For example, there were 3-4 Chinese restaurants and that was the entirety of “ethnic” food. We now have all the restaurants, entertainment venues, cool neighborhoods and diversity you could want. We have a commitment to improve the community and to try to plan effectively for its future. I like that, except for a few hours in the day, you can get places relatively easily. I like watching Central Ohio grow and change and, hopefully, we don’t lose these things as we continue to grow. The other thing is, within about a 2-3 hour drive, you can get to lots of beautiful places (woods, hills, water) and some other cool cities.