“It seems obvious that having a place to live and to be safely housed is a critical component of a healthy environment and life,” says Fradique Rocha ’80, co-chief executive officer of CVR Associates, an affordable housing consulting firm that he co-founded in 1995 after serving as general counsel to the Boston Housing Authority for three years.
“There are over 3,000 public housing authorities in this country, and they have sadly often been underfunded. Our goal is to bring private sector efficiency to the public sector to create a positive impact on people’s lives,” Rocha says.
CVR assists housing agencies, nonprofits, cities, and industry service providers in improving their operations, thereby delivering quality housing opportunities to those in need. The company has developed software to streamline housing management operations, created web-based portals for housing owners and tenants to increase customer satisfaction, and provided tools to reduce administrative burdens and simplify tasks.
“Some programs and agencies have been deemed deeply troubled by HUD [US Department of Housing and Urban Development],” explains Rocha. “We have been engaged to assist in turning things around, brought in technology paired with subject-matter expertise, and succeeded in making them HUD high performers.”
Rocha’s team of 200 also consults on development. “We don’t want affordable housing to be islands of poverty,” he explains. “Our in-house architects and engineers help develop conceptual designs so that affordable housing is part of the neighborhood and not segregated.”
Rocha observes that there is a stigma associated with affordable housing in America, whereas in some countries, it is tied to health and education in a more significant way. “We need to do that better,” he says. “When you see people moving back into a vibrant community and they see a new, good quality home, with a future, their joy is tremendously rewarding.”