2023 SIIF Fellow Stories: Julia Pynes Discusses Her Work With Housing Tax Credits at Saigebrook

This blog is written by Julia Pynes, a 2023 SIIF (Social Impact Internship Fund) Fellow. You can contribute to the Fund here to help MBA students intern in impactful internships with nonprofits, governments, and social enterprises.

Julia Pynes, 2023 MBA SIIF Fellow

As a dual degree student pursuing an MBA and an MSW, I am interested in a career path that focuses on how business can be used to solve social inequity. This summer, I was given the opportunity to intern with Saigebrook Development, a local affordable housing firm that is co-owned by Megan Lasch and Lisa Stephens. I was excited to be involved with a firm that is female-owned, a rarity in real estate development. The Social Impact Internship Fund made it possible for me to pursue a summer internship that aligned with my career goals.

Creating and maintaining affordable housing is a complex challenge, which requires an interdisciplinary approach. My internship offered me first-hand experience at managing the delicate balance between ensuring tenants have the support needed to maintain their housing, the concerns of the overall housing complex and keeping in mind the financial goals of the developer.

During my time at Saigebrook, I learned about the various avenues through which developers are incentivized to build affordable housing. The largest of these programs is the Low Housing Income Tax Credit (LHITC). The program is administered through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs and requires developers to meet certain requirements to receive these tax credits. While the program only requires owners to keep the property at a designated affordable housing rate for 15 years, studies have found that more than half of these properties remain affordable beyond the 15-year contract.

My internship was focused on expanding social support services to residents with the goal of reducing eviction rates at Saigebrook’s properties. My most important takeaway from the summer was the importance of acknowledging that housing alone is not enough. The circumstances of each tenant are complicated, unique, and require multiple forms of support for long-term success. If we want to permanently decrease the number of people who are unhoused, support mechanisms must be put in place to aid the transition from homelessness and be available for tenants as needed. Saigebrook recognized this need and was interested in strategically implementing measures meant to support residents when challenges arise. My hope is that large developers throughout Texas and beyond will recognize this as well.

I have lived in multiple cities that are experiencing a housing crisis, and it seems to be an inevitable challenge for every major metropolitan area in the United States. This is not something that will be solved overnight, but through my time at Saigebrook, I was inspired by the impactful nature of the business and hope that my post-graduate career can be in a role that is focused on developing strategies to help communities grow and maintain high-quality, affordable housing. I am incredibly grateful for the financial support from the Social Impact Internship Fund.



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