Dr. Michael C. Threatt: What does it mean to Change the Game?

Dr. Michael C. Threatt_Exeleon Magazine

A transformational leader is someone who exemplifies a tireless commitment to being a positive example of change. They are proactive and address resistance, especially to the status quo.

As a transformational leader himself, Dr. Michael C. Threatt, has a unique and upbeat perspective. He is the Principal & CEO of Elevate Housing Solutions, LLC, and Senior Vice President & COO at Dothan Housing (DH). Additionally, Michael is a speaker, podcaster, author, real estate investor, coach, affordable housing professional, consultant, and licensed REALTOR® with Community 1st Real Estate in Dothan, AL.

As a thought leader, Dr. Threatt navigates through adversities in a forward-looking approach. He shares, “My thought process has been to find a solution to a problem and capitalize on it as an entrepreneur.” Simultaneously, he constantly looks for different ways to manage innovation and creativity — be it a large-scale change in direction, structure, or major investments in technology.

Most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic challenged him to create a different platform for sustainability by “thinking outside of the box,” which was done through his digital transformation initiative. Whereas, he answered the challenge of evolution through transformational leadership and acknowledged the paradigm shift of public housing authorities (PHAs) doing more with less, moving from paper to the cloud, and streamlining their operations through technology by embracing an online platform for Dothan Housing (DH).

He also believes that to be truly transformational, every leader must adopt new processes and technologies where organizational success is obtained through innovation. “As a Next Generation Transformational Leader, I have incorporated this into my leadership style and articulated my vision to my staff throughout the organization by leading by example,” he mentions.

Cut From the Same Cloth

For Michael, creating a career in real estate investing wasn’t a fluke. It had been a long, winding, ongoing passion; some would say it was fate. In fact, his father, Conrad Elwood Threatt, played an integral role to nurture his interest in real estate investing.

“He was a former Marine and construction worker in the Bronx, New York.” As a child, he was particularly proud of his dad when he helped build the World Trade Center. “I was fascinated by his job’s impact and the change it made,” he recalls fondly.

As his father grew his craft, Michael fell deeper in love with real estate development and construction. “I often would put on his suits to conduct my own imaginary business meetings. Sometimes, I even walked around in his heavy steel-toe boots while playing with my toy Tonka Trucks,” he reminisces.

Interestingly enough, Michael’s mother, Jacqueline Spencer Threatt, also helped shape his childhood in many ways. As a nurse for over forty years, she was inspired to serve others in a positively impactful manner.

“She was that soft yet bright light that never dimmed in my heart. Her love for people taught me the value of compassion and empathy.” She reminded him to treat people how he wanted to be treated and put himself in their shoes before making a judgment.

A wave of nostalgia sweeps over him when he speaks about his parents. He feels grateful that his parents’ influence helped fuel his passion and undeniable love for people and real estate. “No wonder I spent my career working for public housing authorities. Affordable housing is my happy medium, a perfect blend for expressing my love for real estate and service to others,” he adds.

Eventually, starting his life in the Bronx, New York City, motivated him to be the ultimate hustler and made him hungrier to pursue his dreams.

A Generational Talent Hits the Affordable Housing Scene

As the Senior Vice President & COO at DH, Dr. Threatt is responsible for essential tasks, including day-to-day operations like streamlining affordable housing programs and analyzing intelligence data. Since he arrived at DH in late 2020, he has exhibited his transformational leadership by helping the PHA shift gears to become a housing authority of the future. In 2021, DH was awarded the Best Practices of the Year, and in 2022, the agency was awarded Best Website of the Year and Best Publication of the Year.

Most recently, he played an essential role in writing the application and plan for the Moving to Work (MTW) Cohort #3 Landlord Incentives initiatives. Ironically, his PHA’s MTW cohort will allow him to display innovative thinking to initiate effective change to improve national public policy for Section 8 Landlord Incentives. There are only 139 MTW agencies in the entire country out of approximately 3200 PHAs. With this said, DH is in the top 4% of PHAs in America thanks to the leadership and vision of Dr. Threatt.

Before his role as Senior Vice President & COO, at age 35, he was selected to lead the Sylacauga Housing Authority (SHA) as its first African American CEO. While at SHA, at the age of 37, Michael was awarded the 2019 Executive Director of the Year for Alabama and Rural Leader of the Year Award for Alabama, Georgia, and Florida the same year for implementing his Housing Authority of Tomorrow model. SHA was also awarded the 2019 Best Website of the Year.

Notably, Michael is also a subject matter expert (SME) in the Section 8 Program. This has stemmed from his rich experience of two decades within the real estate industry’s public, private, and nonprofit sectors. His academic rigor and diligence have also earned him the honor of being labeled as one of the Top 100 People in Real Estate for 2022 and receiving the 2021 Doctor of Public Administration (DPA) Student of the Year award.

It’s his deep knowledge, as well as his multifaceted roles as a practitioner, consultant, researcher, and REALTOR®, that gives him priceless insights that few others have. As a landlord, he understands what it’s like from the other side so that his clients get realistic real estate investment strategies.

When not playing the role of a Senior VP & COO or REALTOR®, Michael explores his other passion— his expanding love for teaching and coaching landlords as The Section 8 Landlord Coach™. He teaches them practical ways to maximize their profits and create sustainable cash flows. “This gives me an extra edge when it comes to educating and coaching my clients on how to invest in real estate investment properties to increase their passive income,” he adds.

Another part of the job he truly loves is providing consulting services for PHAs on how to “Attract, Recruit, and Retain Landlord participation in the Section 8 Program.” He also helps them increase their digital footprint, update their housing software, rebrand their agency, and take their social media platforms to the next level.

“The results of providing consulting and technical assistance for PHAs, including helping them streamline their Section 8 Program operations, have increased landlord satisfaction and engagement. Further, this has improved communication and enhanced customer service that has cultivated better public-private relationships with landlords,” he says.

Michael C. Threatt Price of Bureaucracy
Buy and Read the Book by Clicking Here.

Hindsight is 20/20

Although Michael’s interdisciplinary education prepared him in many ways to take on new and greater challenges, if given a chance to change his past, his entire education journey would be rooted in public administration — right from his undergraduate degree to his doctorate.

“I would also have obtained my real estate license and invested in leadership development earlier in life if I could do things again. Finally, I would have started my consulting firm years ago to address the phenomenon of landlords leaving the Section 8 Program,” he shares.

Weighing The Real Price of Bureaucracy

Traditionally, the real estate industry has been slower at adapting to new technology than other industries. Furthermore, PHAs have even been slower. Invariably, the changing Section 8 voucher funding climate compels PHAs to be more cost-effective and to use modern-day housing software for efficiency.

However, there’s a massive hiccup.

PHAs are reluctant to invest in the latest technologies. This apprehensive attitude, combined with not having modern-day housing software, is challenging. Maintaining a responsive landlord relationship is daunting, and keeping landlords engaged and satisfied is nearly impossible without investing in technology.

“During the summer of 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, while writing my dissertation, I was dealing with delayed payment challenges and other pain points as a Section 8 landlord myself. That’s when I noticed that my Section 8 landlord clientele were either threatening to or taking their units off the program. I had an epiphany and decided to focus my research on landlord opinions on how to make the Section 8 program better. A year later, in 2021, I started transforming my dissertation into a book,” he says.

As a result, Michael’s book, The Price of Bureaucracy: Removing Section 8 Landlord Pain Points through the Investment in Technology, is the real estate industry’s game-changer for the Section 8 Program.

The Section 8 Program has grown to be the largest rental housing program in American history over the last 48 years. However, the Section 8 Program has continued to look good on paper for the past 48 years but has yet to live up to its public-private partnership design and potential. The Section 8 program is a public-private partnership between a landlord, a Section 8 voucher holder, and a PHA.

Unfortunately, this public-private partnership 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.

Additionally, landlords are hesitant to participate in the Section 8 Program because of past negative experiences and dealing with bureaucratic red tape. They perceive it as institutional bureaucracy, and bureaucratic red tape is their reality. Coincidentally, this is the unintended consequence of the price of bureaucracy which equals pain points for landlords.

Furthermore, 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 future of affordable housing depends on the success of the Section 8 Program, and the future of the Section 8 Program depends on landlords. Landlords are critically relevant to the success of the Section 8 Program because, without landlords, there are no affordable housing units to lease.

“Many landlords feel like they do not have a voice, no support, and no one validates their opinions. I decided to do the opposite and validate the landlords’ opinions. I have always known that the Section 8 Program’s red tape was a problem that frustrated and turned landlords completely off. I felt my responsibility was to be the ‘superhero’ who stood up for landlords and helped solve this affordable housing problem by bridging the gap between landlords and PHAs,” he says.

Michael’s objective was to create a solution-focused book based on his research and years of experience as a PHA practitioner and landlord. He aims to solve the problem of landlords and PHAs and ultimately remove the red tape from the Section 8 Program.

Converging Passion, Purpose, and Profession

When discussing career advice, the influential entrepreneur feels that aspiring and emerging business leaders must lead passionately and find their calling. He says in his own words, “It is a beautiful thing when passion finds a career.”

“When I wake up in the morning, I am excited to go to work because I am passionate about what I do,” he adds. In fact, it doesn’t feel like work because he is living 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.”

Michael also believes today’s business leaders must improve their companies’ efficiency and effectiveness, increase productivity, and grow their companies for the future. “Aspiring and emerging business leaders and entrepreneurs should look at things from a public-private partnership (P3) perspective.”

In fact, he adopted the most essential skills by networking with people of influence. “I have gained skills that cannot be taught in a formal setting. Through interactions with industry professionals, political leaders, developers, other investors, and business leaders, I earned a “degree” in people and social skills by being “hands-on” that goes beyond formal training and education,” he asserts.

Furthermore, Michael highly recommends establishing good relationships with all internal and external stakeholders to achieve greater and substantial success.

The Future of Affordable Housing is Bright

It is said that Dr. Michael C. Threatt is one of the best and brightest to hit the scene in recent years. Dr. Threatt’s proven track record reflects the successful and innovative administration of affordable housing programs. This has gained him much recognition and respect across several industries and academia.

Michael plans to continue working as DH’s Senior Vice President & COO. ” I will continue to work closely with HUD’s Office of Policy, Development & Research (PD&R) to monitor and provide statistical analysis of the MTW Landlord Incentives cohort activities. I understand the importance of thinking outside the box, focusing on best practices, providing creative housing solutions, and designing innovative policies that can be replicated throughout the country,” he says.

As the Principal & CEO of Elevate Housing Solutions, LLC, he will continue to coach and consult services to landlords, real estate investors, property management companies, and PHAs.

Furthermore, he wants to voice the concerns of all Section 8 Program stakeholders, find answers, and add value to the affordable housing community and real estate industry through his Roof Talks Podcast, LLC. “I also plan to continue performing TED-style presentations for real estate associations and investor groups, PHA conferences, affordable housing advocates, elected officials, colleges, and universities,” he says.

But that’s not all. He also plans to host in-person live training events and offer online training for landlords, PHAs, and real estate investors through the ‘My Landlord Liaison, LLC training platform.’

As a published author and next-generation transformational leader driven to create economic opportunities within the community through affordable housing programs, neighborhood revitalization, and real estate development. On a personal note, Michael wishes to continue increasing his cash flow by investing in short sales, foreclosures, real-estate owned (REO), value-add, tax lien, and turnkey investment properties. “I have already started to work on my second book on Section 8 landlord real estate investment strategies,” he shares excitedly.

As for family, he looks forward to enjoying life with his wife, Dr. Jennifer Mozee Threatt, his three high school daughters, and two poodles. “We plan to travel more to see the world’s wonders, balance work and life, and enjoy quality family time with some R & R,” he concludes.

Read Digital Version.

Visit Elevate Housing Website.

Contact Michael C. Threatt on LinkedIn.

Michael C. Threatt Exeleon Magazine

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