We’ve been changing the way homes get created working with builders around the country building scattered singles.
Our unique approach has resulted in homes that are the most affordable, most efficient and most sustainable in the business.
We’ve been working hard to make households financially sustainable with the longterm goal being: :
Affordable Housing for Everyone™
Great results come about when leaders come together to compare notes, share ideas and dream big. Fannie Mae’s orchestration of a program focusing on the intersection of affordable housing, economic development and employment tackles a complex problem.
Could the answer be simple via a totally replicable solution rolled out nationally?
We think yes!
Imagine Affordable Housing for Everyone placed in sustainable communities nationwide
What is the AmeriSus proposal ?
It is a first ever attempt to bring manufacturing economies of scale, duplication and a new digital era to the process of creating attractive, super-efficient, high-quality homes that are affordable for everyone. There are two phases. Phase 1 advances the concept to the point of creating five demonstration homes along with building a curriculum and training a team for a new profession as Eco-Home Experts (EHE’s) that will initially build and then train future EHE’s. The Phase 2 goal is to place 20 homes in each state for a total of 1,000 cottages putting to rest the often heard argument that “you can’t build affordable housing here”.
Who Are We Contacting ?
If our proposal is accepted we will be reaching out to contacts in all fifty states as the shortage of affordable housing knows no boundaries. Since the economic recession the demand for housing has increased significantly and it is expected that moving forward governmental cutbacks will exacerbate the problem. In each state there are public and private agencies whose mission is to get more affordable housing stock in place, create jobs associated with building and to maximize the limited funds that are available for these purposes. The Challenge can hit a home run for each of these causes. We have already begun contacting the manufacturers and suppliers we regularly work with to win their special support for The Challenge as a precursor to something much larger.
What’s the Timing ?
Everything we do at AmeriSus is done quickly, minimizing wasted time is one way to save money. We are already preparing for the first part of Phase 1 which is the Research & Design segment where AmeriSus proposes to complete the design of a super-affordable home, structure a national procurement & logistics methodology specific to that model, create a Builder’s Manual for the home along with a training curriculum for EHE’s that advance the building process. This segment could be complete by Labor Day.
In the Idea Development segment, AmeriSus proposes to hire and train unskilled workers to become EHE’s that will build five Innovation Homes, tracking and improving upon all that was developed in the R&D segment perfecting the training process so that future EHE’s can advance the program training new EHE recruits to build more and more Innovation Homes.
What’s the Concept Behind the AmeriSus approach ?
Great things are made in volume where the tasks of design, material procurement and assembly are all focused on mass-production. For The Challenge we propose bringing sameness and duplication of process to building affordable homes. No firm has ever attempted this on a national basis. Whether one looks at trucks or phones all the Ford-150 pickups and all iPhones are built nearly the same but affordable housing is done piecemeal everywhere. The Challenge as a beta-test is expected to bring down the cost of construction by 25-35%. It is entirely feasible that following this first effort that a larger, fully grown Phase 2 program with regional operation centers could cut housing costs in half.
Are there Other Beneficial Aspects ?
There are many additional features that come about as a result of building AmeriSus cottage homes. All of our homes embody exceptional energy efficiency using 50% of the energy of a new Energy Star home. Most all of the materials, systems and products that go into our homes are Made in the U.S.A. which translates into American jobs. AmeriSus homes use a variety of technologic advances that reduce the amount of materials and labor used with some of the systems being the most sustainable available. Our homes are not modular so that each one gets built from the ground up at the job site. That purposeful approach creates a better quality house and creates local jobs and training for a new approach to construction.
What About Sustainable Communities ?
The Challenge is about so much more than affordable housing. It is about creating opportunity for people to live and prosper in sustainable communities where there is safety along with good education, healthcare and job opportunity. There are hundreds of entities trying to put that in place in large cities with more problems than we can count. Few entities are attempting to expand affordability in the suburbs and that’s a big mistake as the suburbs are going through a dramatic evolution. Sure big cities have museums, government offices and universities but along with that they have huge problems that stable suburbia does not have. Go to most any satellite suburb and the budget is in balance, crime is low, taxes are stable, jobs are abundant, shopping is easy, education and healthcare are first-class. That’s the perfect environment for new, attractive affordable housing that can blend in with what’s already there. Innovation Homes can be an ingredient that turn suburbia from a desolate McMansion environment to a more vibrant setting for growth.
What About Funding ?
The proposed budget for Phase 1 of The Challenge gets the job done quickly and efficiently. We are in talks with national financial firms discussing the opportunity for participation in a Phase 2 rollout along with the creation of digital systems & procedures to make financing, selling and investing in a national Innovation Home program the way of the future.
What About Approvals ?
We appreciate how the building process can be slowed down by bureaucracy. That’s why we are reaching out to parties that work in this environment every day with the goal of working together to identify opportunities where the number of impediments to a fast-track approach can be minimized. The Challenge has a goal of only 20 homes in each state. Many cities have hundreds of homes being built at any one time. Finding property where zoning allows what we are building (by-right) should not be that difficult. Quite often we find that towns with a history and their very own culture are opposed to development, particularly high-density development, where mid-rise and even high-rise projects change the entire character of a neighborhood. Low-rise development such as that proposed for The Challenge can be the welcomed alternative.
Data & Replication
We live in a brand new digital era where computerization will be changing how we fund, build & sell housing
The Digital Era is Removing the Hassle & Delay
It has been happening for years and everyone benefits. Rapid, in the cloud, digital processing is making most everything we do easier and less expensive. Whether it is hailing a ride with Uber, getting an overnight room from AirBnb, or buying a new spring outfit from Amazon in each case the result is BFC (better, faster, cheaper).
Elimination of the Middle-Man
We are watching nearly every aspect of business take a massive step forward because as a result of being able to manage data as never before. Where in the past a big box retailer may have replaced a shop we can now get all of the selection, product knowledge, convenience and price savings at a click of a button from an in-the-cloud provider that’s constantly improving the process. The local taxi dispatcher is gone. The hotel clerk waiting for your arrival is gone. The brick & mortar store and staff are all disappearing along with the associated costs. Remember Toys R Us?
Now Apply that to Housing
Nobody will argue with the fact that there is a huge national shortage of affordable housing. We continue to build homes one at a time or in small groups at a time each with a cadre of participants and dozens of middle-men and third party players that are not all that concerned with the owner’s agenda. The process is disjointed with an abundance of waste, mismanagement and duplication. Take procurement as just one aspect of building and it is a unique adventure which each new home. What is less expensive; buying 12 windows for the next affordable home or buying 12,000 windows? Take that thought, wrap it up with a digital operational approach and apply it to walls, doors, cabinets and sinks and BFC takes on a meaning never experienced before. It has been estimated that the AmeriSus proposal for The Challenge in a final expanded form could reduce the cost of housing by 50%. That is not a pipe-dream. AmeriSus already builds homes, without government subsidy, that are affordable for a couple earning minimum wage. The Challenge could take that reality to the next level.
We are already working with affordable housing experts in many states to gain their interest and support for the placement of 20 cottage homes as a part of a potential Phase 2. One might regard this as placing the “cart before the horse” but our philosophy has always been – why waste time?.
A Few Words About Affordable Housing
We can’t think of a word that’s more misunderstood and misused. With most of the population uncertain about the economy it makes sense that reducing the biggest expense one encounters each month just might be a pathway to a more stable, productive and enjoyable future. That’s why we started AmeriSus years ago to help people in all situations get out of the rut they might be in. Go buy a car and if you get it for less; that’s a good deal. Buy a new coat on sale; that’s equally fantastic! Get a colonoscopy for half-price; now maybe that’s going to far. Up until now success has been measured by how expensive your house is. It is time to end that way of thinking. Whether you live alone (more and more people do), have a boat-load of kids (they cost a bundle), get by on minimum wage (so many people do) or seem to be cruising along happy as a clam we think your life could be better in an affordable home.
Join the Program
If you are involved in the creation of housing or jobs in your state, then you need to help AmeriSus if and when it becomes a successful participant in The Challenge. You know your state. You know where our beta test could work. And you also know that success breeds more success. We want to place our cottages where they will be visible and where people will see local construction people doing BFC. Our homes get built in a few weeks so that real results can be a near-term thing rather than some long drawn-out bureaucratic mess. Also if you have a relationship with local jobs training or a Vet organization let us know as we want to put good people to work.
“Show Me the Money”
Everyone cracks a smile hearing that phrase from the movie Jerry Maguire. We have begun to work with private investment entities to make this happen. Housing finance is experiencing massive change and we are leading the charge for BFC in that area.
New Innovation Homes produced in mass could solve the bulk of our affordability problem
What Kind of Housing ?
What we are proposing is going to be more affordable than anything ever built. Our Innovation Homes created for The Challenge will be super energy efficient stand-alone detached structures that embody a mix of high quality materials and features. We believe that a part of the American Dream is living in a detached home with a porch, yard and some privacy and one can throw in the white picket fence. Energy efficient, quality materials, high in value, using leading edge technology, efficient construction techniques and unique financing.
What Kind of Affordability ?
We are driving costs down for every aspect of home construction making AmeriSus cottage homes the best buy in town that can help people of all backgrounds and financial situations. Our Home Eco Lease Program (HELP) even allows a couple earning minimum wage to live in a brand new eco-cottage while spending less than 30% of their income on housing. That’s good, no?
What About Density ?
Yes there is a trade-off backing away from mid-rise and high-rise construction in order to build one and two level cottages at ground level. For starters, unlike traditional multi-family construction, AmeriSus homes get built in weeks not years. Secondly, building up requires all types of extra items that increase a builder’s cost which correlates to occupancy cost. Third, most fires occur in multi-family structures and more often than not a fire in only one unit impacts families in adjacent units. AmeriSus homes are the best deal for fire safety. Fourth, let’s talk preference. Some people love apartment life but most people desire a stand-alone home where there’s no noisy neighbor on the other side of the wall, where you can let the dog out onto grass or even flop out onto a backyard lounge chair. Fifth, people in stand-alone homes create neighborhoods that survive time where multi-family creates somewhat of a transient environment where you might not even know the couple down the hall. AmeriSus housing delivers a high level of stability.
The Basic Concept?
Great things are made in volume where the tasks of design, material procurement and assembly are all focused on mass production. For The Challenge AmeriSus is bringing sameness and duplication of process to building affordable homes. No firm has ever attempted this on a national basis. All the Ford-150 pickups are similar and all iPhones are similar but affordable housing is done piecemeal everywhere. The Challenge as a beta-test is expected to bring down the cost of construction by 25-35%. It is entirely feasible that following this first effort that a larger, fully grown program with regional operation centers could cut housing costs in half. With everyone expecting difficult times ahead for housing the AmeriSus approach could be a winner.
Does Anyone Take a Hit on This Approach ?
Not really. Our suppliers expect this to be a profitable new market that will grow significantly after the beta-test. Involved builders will be able to build more in less time which extrapolates into more profit for less work. The parties bringing land into the mix will have a way to develop property with something that most communities and regulators welcome rather than becoming involved in a heated expensive approval process. Involved lenders will enjoy a new and different way to be compensated that provides better returns than traditional mortgage financing with less risk. And for the towns where Innovation Homes would get built our homes address the SOCO market which is Single OR Couple Occupied segment which requires less infrastructure and city services than any other type of housing. Innovation Homes placed in sustainable suburban communities can be the pathway for growing sustainable neighborhoods.
What Might this Beta-Test Become ?
We hope it becomes one thousand fantastic cottages in place by the end of 2019 which is a sizable task but whittling it down state by state it is only 20 homes hear and 20 homes there. The beta-program is intended to test all the systems and data management so that any next step would be more of the same. Just think of the possibilities via an Innovation Home movement!