DR. MICHAEL C. THREATT, Principal & CEO of Elevate Housing Solutions, LLC – The Prototype of the Real Estate Industry

The Top 10 Real Estate Leaders Leading the Way in 2023

When you think of a prototype athlete, Hall of Famer Primetime Deion Sanders, who played professional football and baseball, comes to mind. When you think about a prototype entertainer, Drake, a hip-hop rapper and R&B singer, comes to mind. When you think about a prototype pastor, Pastor Mike Jr., a pastor and gospel singer, comes to mind. These individuals have transcended their industry and gone further to be extraordinary.

The Prototype of the Real Estate Industry describes the subject matter expert, Dr. Michael C. Threatt, also known as, The Section 8 Landlord Coach™. He is a 17-year veteran of the public housing authority sector of the real estate industry, a licensed REALTOR®, a real estate investor, a published author, and a pracademic (a practitioner and researcher). He holds a doctorate in public administration (DPA) from West Chester University (WCU) with a dissertation focused on Section 8 landlords.

The Seed that was Planted

As a child, Michael developed a liking for real estate, watching his father, a marine and construction worker in the Bronx, New York, who had helped build the World Trade Center. Why, he would even dress up like his father, Conrad Elwood Threatt, put on his suits, conduct his own imaginary business meeting, and even walk around in his heavy steel-toe boots while playing with toy Tonka trucks. His love for real estate grew as his father grew in the construction business. It was not just his father who shaped his personal and professional worldview. His mother, Jacqueline Spencer Threatt, passed on to Michael the values of compassion and empathy abundant in her as a Registered Nurse (RN) for four decades.

They stood him in good stead as he rose up the ladder in the real estate industry, one that dealt with people from every walk of life. But for him, his mother’s advice – to treat people how he wanted to be treated and to place himself in their shoes before making a decision that affected them – helped him succeed. 

Career Changing Email

Throughout his life, his parents’ influence helped fuel his compassion for people, which was why he spent his career working for a public housing authority (PHA). Affordable housing is his happy medium, a perfect blend for expressing his love for real estate and service to others.

Although a career in real estate seemed automatic, one of the most significant catalysts in his journey was an unexpected email communication from Landlord – Dan Almendares while working at the Tampa Housing Authority on September 17, 2007. The email stated, “It was rare to find an individual in a regulatory/governmental position willing to do what is necessary to ensure, in this case, the needs of both the Section 8 client and Landlord are addressed in an efficient, concerned, and responsive manner.”

That email pushed his career into overdrive, launching him immediately into the real estate industry. He used it as fuel to elevate his career to the next level. Throughout his career, and as far back as when he met Dan Almendares, he always knew that the Section 8 Program’s red tape was a problem that frustrated and turned landlords off from participating.

Being a Voice for Section 8 Landlords

The Section 8 Program has grown to be the largest rental housing program in American history over the last 49 years but has yet to live up to its public-private partnership design. The Section 8 program is a real estate transaction between a landlord, a Section 8 voucher holder, and a public housing authority (PHA).

However, this real-estate relationship appears to be a two-sided partnership instead of a three-way as the Section 8 program was designed in 1974. When this three-way partnership works well, all parties win; however, when one or more of the partners are unsatisfied, all parties lose. More specifically, the landlord is the least satisfied and engaged of the three parties. The landlord experiences numerous pain points that create negative experiences and are why they withdraw from participating in the Section 8 Program.

Addressing the future of affordable housing in America is the premise of his book. He focuses on the mass exodus of 10,000 landlords annually since 2009, estimated to be 140,000 today. There are an estimated three to five Section 8 voucher holders tied to each landlord, and an average of four (4) Section 8 voucher holders tied to each landlord, meaning that America has lost 560,000 rental units over the past 14 years.

This phenomenon is a critical factor in the affordable housing shortage in America for the 2.3 million households and for the 5.8 million individuals that the Section 8 Program currently serves. Section 8 Voucher Holders feel like they have won the ‘Golden Ticket’ or the ‘Powerball Lottery’ but do not have anywhere to cash their winning ticket. The bureaucratic red tape creates an issue for landlords and creates problems for Section 8 voucher holders because, without landlords, there are no affordable housing units to lease.

Landlords’ perception of the Section 8 Program is institutional bureaucracy, and the bureaucratic red tape is their reality. Coincidentally, this is the unintended consequence of the price of bureaucracy. This equals pain points for landlords. It has been the status quo for landlords to feel like they did not have a voice, no support, and no one validated their opinions until Michael decided to do something about it.

Superhero Reveals His Identity in The Price of Bureaucracy Book

As he was writing his dissertation and reviewing the planned Moving to Work (MTW) Landlord Incentives cohort, he had an ‘epiphany’ to focus his research study on the phenomenon of landlords leaving the program. It is a coincidence that during the COVID-19 pandemic and in the summer of 2020 while working on his dissertation, he experienced delayed payment challenges and other pain points as a Section 8 landlord himself. He also noticed that his Section 8 landlord clientele either threatened to or took their units off the program.

This fueled his passion and research focus on creating a solution for the landlord’s pain points by obtaining landlord opinions on how to improve the Sector 8 Program. A year later, in 2021, he transformed his dissertation into a book, “The Price of Bureaucracy: Removing Section 8 Landlord Pain Points through the Investment in Technology.” His book is the game-changing solution to cultivating better relationships between landlords and PHAs.

Michael validated the landlords’ viewpoints in his research and his book. He felt his responsibility was to be the ‘superhero’ who stood up for landlords and helped solve this affordable housing problem. He said he had used the book as a voice for landlords to redefine the real estate industry’s Section 8 Program from the inside out.

Changing the Real Estate Game Through Coaching, Consulting, & Courses

Incidentally, the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic forced him to find a solution to a problem and capitalize on it as an entrepreneur. He has taken the Section 8 Program to the next level through Coaching, Consulting, & Courses. This is why Michael named his consulting management firm Elevate Housing Solutions, LLC.

As the Prototype of the Real Estate Industry, he has impacted the real estate industry through his innovation and transformational leadership by shining a light on the least valued partner in the real transaction of the Section 8 Program, the Section 8 landlord.

As a landlord, he understands what it’s like from the other side so that his clients get realistic real estate investment strategies. The best part about his job is teaching and coaching landlords on how to maximize their ROI, which helps change perceptions and preconceived notions regarding the Section 8 Program.

This gives him an extra edge in educating and coaching clients on investing in real estate investment properties to increase their passive income. Michael helps landlords increase their cash flow by coaching them on investing opportunities in short sales, foreclosures, real-estate owned (REO), value-add, tax lien, and turnkey investment properties.

Additionally, Michael provides consulting and coaching services and educational courses for PHAs. He is most proud of teaching PHAs how to Attract, Recruit, and Retain Landlords for their Section 8 Programs through landlord monetary and nonmonetary incentives. He also assists PHAs with sustainable rebranding initiatives by bringing their public relations plan to life by promoting a consistent and positive message that supports establishing a favourable public image and removing stigmas and stereotypes associated with the Section 8 Program.

Prototype Effect on the Affordable Housing Industry

Over the past four years, he has received other honors, such as appearing on the cover feature of the 2022 Most Influential Leaders of the Year Magazine, the 2022 Top 100 People in Real Estate Magazine, being selected to the Birmingham Business Journal Leadership Trust, and the 2019 Rural Leader of the Year Magazine.

Speaking of his prototype effect in affordable housing, Michael’s transformational leadership style has ensured that his PHAs were on the map. He has been individually awarded or played a role in receiving eight awards from the Alabama Association of Housing & Redevelopment Authorities (AAHRA) over the past four years.

Previously, as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Sylacauga Housing Authority, he was bestowed as the 2019 Executive Director of the Year at the age of 37, and the agency won the 2019 Best Website of the Year because of implementing his “Housing Authority of Tomorrow” model.

Most recently, as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Dothan Housing (DH), he played a pivotal role in the following awards: 2022 Best Website of the Year, 2022 Best Publication of the Year, 2022 Executive Director of the Year, 2022 Maintenance Employee of the Year, 2021 Best Practices of the Year, and 2021 Commissioner of the Year.

He has continued with his prototype persona by changing the narrative and reshaping affordable housing in the Wiregrass Metro Area (WMA). DH made history by being the only Alabama PHA to be a part of all five national affordable housing associations. These agencies include the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA), the MTW Collaborative, the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO), the Public Housing Authorities Directors Association (PHADA), and the National Leased Housing Association (NLHA).

Michael is incredibly proud of converting four former public housing properties to the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) Project-Based Voucher platform and becoming the second PHA in Alabama to close its public housing program to become a Section 8 voucher-only agency. He hangs his hat on writing DH’s Purpose 2025: FY2022-2024 three-year strategic plan, the Moving to Work (MTW) Landlord Incentives Cohort #3 application, and the agency’s MTW supplemental plan.

He is humbled with executing the vision to rename all of its former public housing developments, including naming three after servant leaders; David C. Jamison Village named after the Board Chairman, John R. Lewis Village, named after the late Congressman and Civil Rights Leader, and most recently Samuel P. Crawford Village, named after the current and first African American CEO and the first African American Fire Chief in the City of Dothan.

Future Endeavors

As a member of several national real estate associations such as the American Apartment Owners Association (AAOA), the National Apartment Association (NAA), National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), and the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM), Michael advocates and voices the concerns of all Section 8 Program landlords. In addition, he serves on the NARPM governmental affairs committee.

One of his top priorities is helping pass The Choice in Affordable Housing Act (S.32/H.R. 6880). It was reintroduced again this year. Regarding the housing bill, He led the recruitment and onboarding of the only Landlord Liaison in Alabama. The position is listed in the bill.

As the principal & CEO of Elevate Housing Solutions, LLC, he plans to continue speaking around the country on Section 8 best practices for landlords, PHAs, and his book. He spoke at the 2022 NARPM Broker/ Owner’s conference in San Antonio, Texas, in March of last year, where he presented on “How to Maximize Your Profit & Return on Investment as a Section 8 Landlord.”

He is scheduled to speak at the 2023 PHADA Annual Convention & Exhibition in Denver, Colorado, entitled, “Best Practices to Expand Housing Opportunities by Attracting, Recruiting, & Retaining Landlords with Certified Renters,” in May of this year.

On a personal note, he shares:

“I plan to continue investing in real estate. As a published author, I have already started to work on my next two books, one on real estate investment strategies and the other on housing policy reform for voucher holders.”

He is excited about releasing his online training courses through his My Landlord Liaison, LLC, platform, the 5 Secrets to Making Six Figures as a Section 8 Landlord, and the 5 Best Practices to Attract, Recruit, & Retain Landlords for Your Section 8 Program, this summer.

His other activity, Roof Talks Podcast, LLC, is a podcast for landlord and real estate investors participating in the Section 8 Program. He plans to release the first season this fall.

Passion Fuels His Purpose

Michael sums up his professional journey in one word, “Purpose.” Man plans, but God orders his steps. If anything, adversities shaped and built his character, and roadblocks taught him to trust the process and God. This is why his favorite Bible verse is Proverbs 3:5-6:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will direct your paths.”

Also, this is why he says that his passion fuels his purpose, and he lives by his favorite quote by Bishop T.D. Jakes, 

“If you can’t find your purpose, find your passion, and when you find your passion, this will lead you to find your purpose.”

Work-Life Balance

“The ability to come up for air and enjoy the fruit of your labor through work-life balance is a must. The need to balance my personal and professional life by spending time with my family, eating healthily, playing video and board games, and working out leads to the cliché health is wealth,” he says.

Volunteering at church and community functions is a vast part of his DNA as a pastor and someone who believes in paying it forward. The quality time he spends with his wife, Dr. Jennifer M. Threatt, his three high school daughters, and two poodles energizes him to confront any challenge on the professional front, so Michael signs off.

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