Ep 14: Building More Than a House

Building More Than a House Podcast Transcript

Cherie: Hi.


Dr. Julie Ducharme: Welcome to the authentic <unk> Joe I'm doctor Julie <unk> Shawn back for another episode and what I love about this podcast is we get to interview people around the world doing authentic things and my guess today is definitely doing that Sherry white is who I'm interviewing today And what She says on our website which I absolutely love says her goal is ten poverty and downtown East side of Vancouver in the next ten years which is at <unk> definitely addition school. She is a CEO and founder of steadfast developments and one of the main goal is to end property for families in the.D T e s.Through approve in six stream strategy by other revitalize Asian master's from around the world. She leaves a dynamic development team of consultants who are legendary in their own right. And who tackle property head on with affordable housing social enterprise education partnership tension community development. The hearts health and wellness and parks and recreation and she's partnered with an amazing group of people to do this and as you know, woman's empowerment is so near and dear to my heart and she's also gonna be one of the speakers that are upcoming she talks in Houston on March eleventh. Uh Sherry, welcome to the show.


Cherie: Thank you so much.


Dr. Julie Ducharme: I was so excited to work with you I mean what you're doing is such a passion and and I love you're doing it on the housing side, cause this isn't my expertise. But it is something that we deal with day and day out. I'm hearing from woman and in particular woman veterans that we work with um the housing is an issue and I live here in San Diego, which is known to be one of the most expensive places. The top, you know, in the top list. Um and it really is getting to a point that you just think how can I afford to live here, because it's just I mean it's just crazy to cost and um so hearing that you're doing this not only in your community, but you know, you have a heart to reach and do it in many more it's it's it's, just so exciting. Um so I wanna go back a little bit and see how you got into this because really I feel like this is a bit of a neat Mark and not a lot of people are doing this at least I haven't run into a lot of people doing this. So I'd love to hear how this came about for you.


Cherie: Absolutely love to share the story. Um my background is actually with the salvation Army I was Born into a salvation. Army family and I had a Wonderful grandfather. That would sing Gospel songs over me. Um and really instilled in me a really young age about Justice and I got to see first hand modeled for me a brand father that would uh spend his time in helping those that were stuck in property and so that never left me and so I grew up uh in the salvation Army and then um I came to a point where we moved with my family into the downtown East side that for whatever reason. I started to get interested in real estate. So it's a little bit of going from like the seller ship market to real estate. My poor husband's Part it's like What is going? On [laughter]. Um but I was also discovered in that that was not your printer and and I didn't know that and um I didn't know how much I loved a working and creating teams and problem problem solving, especially as a mother of five? Um I felt I had some experience in solving problems [laughter] my children would regularly come to me it said this is not fair or solved my problem. So um I felt I had some experience in that, but my um journey in honoring it is um and real estate started in the basement of my house where I think a lot of entrepreneurs start I've heard. They start in the garage. A or they start in the basement that's where mine started I had. No money. Um and but I had a passion and I I just uh I thought that if I got into real estate then maybe I can help provide homes for these amazing men and women that we're leaving a lifestyle addictions like they were my heroes those were the people I looked up to um and with their courage and their Tennessee. Um to say you know what like if I have another drink I'm gonna die I'm gonna lose my kids and I I get that. And so everyday is a struggle today. I'm not going to drink, because I love my kids and I love myself and that was like just amazing to work a must those type of people with that much coverage. Um and a drive to make a difference in their life and I I just was so inspired a buy those people. So I said Hey if you're willing to do that half. Maybe I can take a my education in my resources and provide homes. Um for you because clearly that's something that you're lacking and so I created in my first business, a social enterprise of men and women leaving additions I put together a construction team and we started fixing flipping homes and I used the proceeds from those homes in order to put down payments on a long term buying holds for the people that were part of my team and uh it was it worked really well and until it didn't So I think that's a long answer here [laughter]. 


Dr. Julie Ducharme: Well no I Mean real estate is such such an Interesting based I mean uh I know we bought our first house at the height of the market and then regretted that years later, but I very. Quickly lose Money Um and then of course we've had interesting trips along the way in different things we've bought But um I love that Because When I think about? What you're doing I mean it's a tough thing? Real estate is it can be a tough market. You can either be living and loving it and making tons of money or not and I love that. You said you start in your basement I think we all have so my husband redid a the garage at our old house and I Remember sitting in my region garage, creating graduating certificates for students for my online college right. And we were laughing about it, because even though it was a really nice beautiful office. He made it was still like my shifted garage and I was like um yeah, we're doing this in the garage, right That was like ten plus years ago, but it was Like we had to start somewhere. You know, and so I think every <unk> could tell you I mean my favorite store is it is Sarah Blakely, right You know, she was you know the creator of banks and you know she used to get these deliveries in front of her apartment and it would she would get the delivery people. Please don't cover my door and they would deliver all the stuff in so High she'd have to get Neighbors to help remove this stuff. So she could just get into her house because she had to mail all these out from her house because she was running this business from home and of course now today she's a billing there, but I mean I always say there's No shame in where you start, because we all have to start somewhere and Microsoft uh as an Apple started in a garage and Microsoft like in a hotel room. So I love that  And you know the being able to put together your passion and your skills into your job is is I love that And that's what I'm doing and it brings so much I just I I don't know about you, but it's Like Hey I don't care I'm working hard because I love what I'm doing and worthless You know, and I think that's where it's At well I want to take a little bit more. Into what you're doing, because you know, you talked about social Justice and real estate and I found some interesting fax on your website. Um so you were mentioning here that you know, all of the steadfast development, new bills are built out of mass timber with the highest step code and passive house certification and by the way this way we're eliminating thirty percent of construction waste emptied into landfills every year and the buildings also have community gardens, solar panels and the highest level environmental ratings. So some of that I understand and some of that I do know. So like I understand the um the part about um you know the card ends in the solar panels and and all that which I absolutely love. Um but I was wondering what is a passive house certification and how Are you eliminating? Thirty percent of construction waste I Think that that sounds amazing I don't know what the average like number is, but that sounds amazing.


Cherie: Yeah It's Not just limiting a thirty percent of instruction rate ways, but it's also a reducing emission. So Ah developers uh when they use regular concrete and the stick billed a forty percent of emissions are because of developer first like we have a huge responsibility. Um to global warming and the thing is is if you move into passive house and explain that in the second um your profit start to get a lot smaller 'cause it's a lot more cost. Um so a lot of developers choose not to do passive house because uh they're they're profits are minimized. Um but for me um I think my kids and I that's I'm not driven by the finances alone. Um I think that's more important to be kind to our environment. So pass of house. Um basically is using um a installation a build. So that it's like these really really sick. Um uh boards or would if you will there's a lot of ways you can do it. But what happens is all the energy that you and I use throughout our day. We turn on opens we use blow dryers, we um turn on the the driver for a wash or whatever. Um even just moving around what happens because the installation is so amazing and so Fick. Um we don't have to heat our homes and we don't have to cool our homes it's a technology that is wild. So it uses the energy that we already create naturally in order to beat it heat and cool. Our homes it doesn't matter if your home is in southern California or if it isn't Alaska it doesn't matter, because of the installation. So a mast timber is those really or across laminated timber is really sick. Would that keeps that heat and the cooling all in? So is this something really cool? So um we actually are putting invent Liss dryers, because um and hvac there's. No H fax system and there's. No heating bills or cooling bills. So what happens is the renter. The savings are passed on to the renter, because at the end of the month they don't have um those bills to pay.


Dr. Julie Ducharme: I'll Gosh. So I went in on that I, just got my electric Bill I'm.  Not gonna tell you what it is But I tried. A little and then asked my children if they really want to go to college So. That's  Amazing I mean the technology that's <unk> that's blowing me away. So here in San Diego corner where we're at we don't have an air conditioner because you know, it's it's pretty much temper whether you're on, but we do have a heater gas meter because it does get chilly. Well we think it gets chilly, right. Like probably not <unk>, but we're like.


Cherie: It's it fifty six we're All freezing to death  [laughter], but even the gas Cost are getting exorbitant and so what a brilliant idea.


Dr. Julie Ducharme: Right.


Cherie: So it's a little bit more.


Dr. Julie Ducharme: In the building. But in the long run the person's gonna save all this money I mean it's just hearing that you don't even have to an hvac system and that's amazing. Um now I'm sure that the gas and electric companies don't like that. But um that's really interesting now here's a question 'cause you're talking a little bit about like our carbon footprint, an environment. So with that Timbre, because it's thicker it does that are we using more.


Cherie: Would or how.


Dr. Julie Ducharme: Does that work how's the trade off with that I'm? Just curious.


Cherie: Yeah, actually um so yeah, there's more would being used, but if you start to look into the research around. Re growth in forest it's all good we're Good.


Dr. Julie Ducharme: That's Awesome. I don't know much about this. So this <unk> I find this like absolutely intriguing, because um my mother in law and then build a house. Not too long ago and uh they build it all themselves and so they were putting in a lot of different here in California there's a lot of requirements with environment and what you have to use and not use and so we were learning about those things. Even the types of groups you know that they were putting in the end. These certain types of rooms which would be more energy fishing and so it's it's really interesting that that technologies out. There which I I feel like a lot of people probably don't know about I mean the average person when they're building a house or buying you know if they don't know to ask if they're, not a real estate company or construction company that is ecofriendly then more than likely would they probably not be suggesting something like that.


Cherie: Yeah. Because it comes down to the old <unk> it's more expensive upfront to build in a passive home then it is a regular stick billed and so people are always looking at that. Darn spreadsheet and they always looking at those numbers and making to look sure those numbers are working now. I know the cost of construction has just like skyrocketed. The last year or two. So I get I'm, not completely dismissing a spreadsheet, but we have to look like a much bigger vision a long term vision and yes, the average home builder  Wouldn't know about it and it would be very surprising I would think if they're Developer or construction. Worker would bring the idea to them unless they knew something about their personality and their concern for the environment, because it is so um more uh it's not cost effective if you will on the on the front side <unk>. Yeah.


Dr. Julie Ducharme: Well but now now people can learn about it and start to ask about it which is I love that we're talking about this So. As you're wanting to. Obviously make a change in your community and bring in affordable housing what are some and I know I'm gonna put you on the spot here kind of asking about statistics and things. Um and I know you don't know every statistic, but statistics wise you know what can we do and especially as I look at our woman that we focus on powering I know we have a lot of single moms out. There we have a lot of woman veterans who are single moms and taking on that cost is exorbitant as they're getting back on their feet. Obviously we have woman to that We deal with from domestic violence that are that are leaving the current home they're in that's, not safe and trying to find another home to get to and they're trying to find that affordable. Um thing in fact I watched a movie I think it was called made um which was a little bit of that situation, which really brought it to the forefront for me. Um and and our organization center institute we get regular calls from people telling US that they can't pay the rent, you know, and so forth and so it is a real concern for US of how can we help them. Right The the shelters are full the list to get into affordable housing is sometimes a year plus long going through the system is difficult here at least here we're at it's Not impossible But it's difficult unless you have someone really navigating and helping you and so Can you maybe? Give US from your experiences. Some <unk> suggestions or ideas. Um since you've been working in this space. Um for different people are looking for affordable housing for our women are woman veterans or woman who might be in domestic violence. Um and I know you may not have all the info, but since you've just been in this space. So much more than me I'm, just curious kind of your thoughts and suggestions on it.


Cherie: Yeah, absolutely. So our approach to affordable housing first of all I need to backup a little bit. So steadfast developments. Um really wants to un cover the the problem and say affordable housing is only one of the six. Um as strategies in order to address the real problem which is property and this is a a big problem in our neighborhood in our area that the government keeps once this keeps wanting to address the problem of affordable housing, but that's not the problem and as long as they keep addressing the problem. Affordable housing will never ever actually have enough affordable housing. So let's actually talk about the real problem which is property. So a formal housing is one of the six strategies. Um to prevent now is to address property. Steadfast is looking at <unk> preventing property. Not just actually addressing it. So there's a wonderful um one of my favorite quotes is from Desmond to to it says you need to go upstream uh you need to stop pulling people out of the River and you need to go up stream and figure out. Why they're jumping in the first place and that's exactly in a nutshell, what stead fastest doing? So we went back up stream and we started doing research from other social Justice Lane developers is what's working what's stopping people from jumping in. Well affordable housing is one uh of the six. Um so it is education. So it is a box and so we said okay. What if we're not just to provide affordable housing, but let's look at all the other pieces around it let's not put the spot like just on affordable housing let's look at the other pieces and so people woman and families <unk> that's exactly? Are for lack of better words target market, because we know that from around the world if we um power woman if we um power family women and families, then the whole community will shift with um there's a wonderful quote. Um from um <unk> Muhammad meant that's a it's, just a skates is a book. I'm reading is all about ending property and he talks about um the micro loans that he offers to the woman in India and he says that it when men and women spending money differently and if we can give it to woman then and they're more likely to spend it on the family, but that's that's all. But the side. So steadfast as a whole listed company looking at all of these things and so if we have intentional community development This is something that is completely overlooked because what happens in my neighborhood is the government will build a nice new building and say okay. Here's a list of people that need affordable housing and show them in and good luck. Let's See if we can do this again, but it just populate that circle apart Yeah, if We had a team of people that are there focus and the whole job is to create community support with one another that's What steadfast tax is we have a a director of intentional community development and their whole thing is that within the building they create a community of support where I my job is as you know, on the third floor? Um I gotta make sure that dear old Mrs Smith. Um of ninety years old is okay I'm gonna knock on her door today 'cause it's Friday and that's what I do as a community someone that's a part of the community to make sure that she's. Okay And their her cat got that for example And it's it's these small details that makes a difference because what happens if we're in relationship with somebody and something goes wrong and we can't make that payment cause you said yeah, this is what happens. You get a call from a friend who says I can't pay my my um I billed today. But if there's no relationship there's, nobody to call then the likelihood of being homeless is like a thousand times more. So that there's maybe the specific questions and so we are addressing intentional community development  We have the way that we build our buildings are actually structured in like a if you can imagine a box and then like is in quotes and so we have for community kitchens that um everybody takes attorney in or like each unit takes a turn in providing a mail for that night and then you won one other night you're you're on dishes if you will this is a wonderful system for those busy mom's that are trying to make it happen because they can pick up their kid from daycare that's in the building their kids can come home from school and they can spend another hour or so, because they don't have to Cook that night and <unk> the relationships and families. Get stronger because they're the mom's not having to Cook every night and they're Also saving money on food and and we're you're building that community. So we've got like pods where there's a closer connections that are able to um happen And but That also happens within the whole building as well. And we think that that is something that is so powerful. So overlooked and we we think that is one of the main three main ways to in property. So intentional community development. Affordable housing. So that when something goes wrong, you can call you <unk> affordable housing and jobs So on the bottom levels of all of our buildings there are commercial spaces. So that mom's can go in if they don't want to be the <unk> renewal at least there's a job there for them 'cause they Get the right of first refusal. To all jobs in all commercial spaces. So yeah That's. That's where <unk> it's Brilliant.


Dr. Julie Ducharme: I, absolutely even know the depth of this like you're blowing.


Cherie: Love it I didn't Me away as you're telling.


Dr. Julie Ducharme: Me this and I I love it. Um we have a huge homeless problem and I I know many cities. Do but I've seen it increased extensively in San Diego over the last ten years and like you talked about we have everything from we have attics. We have um veterans we have people who a deal with mental issues and we have people who just had some really bad luck and it's been a constant talk right. And of how do we how do we end homelessness. How do we do this right? And what a what a brilliant idea. Because community is key you know, we talk a lot of times when people get out of jail, right and there's. No program for them and why do half of them end up back where they were at, because that's what's familiar to them and education obviously as you talked about is such a key thing, but you know where where we're at here in Coronado. Um I grew up in a very small community in a little farm community and I used to think. Oh I can't, wait to get out of this committee can't Wait to get out Right everyone knows me you know. Um I and I left and did the big city and all that stuff. But I remember when I had a family being pulled back to this this <unk> small community feeling and want right and so we ended up moving out here about seven years ago. But it was like everyone knows your name and there's someone close by and if you're having a you need help with something you can do that My neighbor knocks on the door and ask for an egg, right. They don't do that Normal places and so I love the idea of work I mean it's such a brilliant setup and it's something that definitely needs to be brought to the U s if it's, not here. I I've never heard of this before, but what a brilliant way that you could educate people get them out of homelessness get them a job in their house. So they wouldn't have to try and deal with transportation and all of that and <unk> basically have a community overlooking them to be accountabilities, right for those people struggling with with addiction and things it's So brilliant I Hope that this is something that we can bring to the U s I mean San Diego here needs it. Absolutely needs I don't know how we can do it. But we need to do it because I love the setup on the idea it solved. So many problems and I just think to myself shoot slap on like an educational center on next to that. Right there as well So they can go get technically trained in something, but website design or whatever. Um but I love it Um so that that was my next question was how does your company work, but you answered my question on that. So. How do we get involved? How can people support you? With what you're doing.


Cherie: Yeah. So on my website there's something called friends of steadfast and so what is a really helpful. Is people just to make comments Hey, you know what we think that steadfast actually has an answer to property. Um like that's that's what we really would love is for people just to take the time to put a few sentences on our website or a few or reach out and say Hey, you know what I'd like to write a letter. Um and just say I really like the the home the job and the family strategy that you guys are putting together um that's that's kind of support that we're we're looking for is just people to come behind US and say Hey, you know what we've never like, you we've never heard of this before. And the reason is because if you there's so many nonprofits that will take on just the one piece like we are partnering with um this entrepreneurial um a reason non profit in our neighborhood and that's all they do they help people in the neighborhood. Find jobs because that in itself. Oh, my gosh that's a lot of work find the house H that itself is a whole huge <unk> and then find a family and community. Oh my gosh, like there are non profits that's. All they do is create intention, but to put it all together under one roof it's just people's brains in general and this is not to put anybody down it's just the capacity to put all three of those together it hasn't been done, because it's. So grant and this is one of my skills is that I'm able to Invision. Well beyond what most people can envision and I'm able to hold those balls. All three of those balls in the air and go OK what if we put all three things together. So the question is what can people do they can write letters that's a huge thing or write something on my LinkedIn page that just says Hey, you know what we're  But I, just really love the strategy that's steadfast is putting forward and I support steadfast like that that's really it now there maybe some people out there that financially wanna get behind that and we can definitely have those conversations as well. Um but that's not where we're at we've been very fortunate. Um after two years comfortable raising a to be very very very close. Hopefully next time we speak I'll say it's money in the bank, but Yeah. So we're really close to closing that So we're, not in the place where we were a couple years ago where we were soliciting for financial um investments, but we're at a place now where uh we're pretty much good to go, but if somebody thought you know, this is a fantastic idea. I have extra funds that I want to get financially involved We're definitely. Our financial representation is definitel  Open to speak to people about that [laughter].


Dr. Julie Ducharme: Excellent. Well this has been so enlightening and I'm. So excited as I mentioned before you're gonna be at she talks on March eleventh for those of you who are thinking about maybe as you go to she talks, you can go to Lita and power her dot com to get tickets. C as in Houston March eleventh, I Can I Can say we tentatively possibly maybe. Having one in Hawaii and one in Florida as well. We don't have those all confirmed yet, but. They're dangling out There Um but if you get a chance to go to this um one what's <unk>, absolutely hoping to partner with you in what you're doing on whatever level we can do Um because I know this is near and dear to our hearts So I'm really excited to just dive in even more with this. You with you guys and tear, you on and find however, we can back you as you mentioned. Um and uh you know if you guys are thinking about what you can do you can reach out on is linked in <unk>, wait for them to reach out. Messaging <unk>. So you yeah, you can see that running on the screen of course, we'll put all the links in there and it has been so awesome, talking with you I'm. So excited for US to do she talks together and just I see So many other wonderful things that we're gonna do together too So as we come to close out. The podcast as I always say live love laugh and always be your authentic self.