Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Black History Month: Dorothy Richardson and Robert Fludd

Every February we celebrate and honor the contributions made by African Americans to United States History. Two individuals in particular have had significant impacts, both nationally and locally, on the work that Origin does.

Dorothy Richardson

Dorothy Richardson was a Pittsburgh, PA resident, who refused to allow her neighborhood to succumb to the long-term effects of decay and lack of public and private investment in the mid-1960s. Through her hard work and determination, she established the first Neighborhood Housing Services and laid the foundation for what is known today as NeighborWorks America. 

Dorothy’s vision of how to revitalize and preserve her neighborhood resulted, more than 40 years ago, in a new kind of community/government/private sector partnership, the first “Neighborhood Housing Services.” Dorothy’s success changed the nation's approach to urban redevelopment and spawned the new field of community-based development; the model of partnership she pioneered became the foundation for today’s NeighborWorks America network.  Origin SC is proud to be part of its network of more than 240 organizations, and in honor of Black History Month, we want to recognize Dorothy Richardson, also known as the “mother of community development.” Learn more about Dorothy Richardson here.

Robert Fludd

Robert Fludd is the director of the Liberty Hill Improvement Afterschool Literacy Program, located here in North Charleston, SC. In honor of Black History Month, Origin SC wants to recognize Fludd for his leadership within the community. 
“It doesn’t matter where you’re from – your background doesn’t determine where you’re going,” -Robert Fludd
At one point, Fludd decided to leave teaching for a better paying job at a Fortune 500 company, but he felt empty and dissatisfied. His father’s illness brought him back to his roots, and when Fludd’s father passed, he decided to resign from that position and pursue working on a political campaign for the then-Senator Obama. It was through this that Fludd mobilized community after community, with every precinct he worked in voting more than 90% for our current President. After President Obama’s election, Fludd was asked to be the President of the Liberty Hill Improvement Council.

Liberty Hill is the oldest community in what is now North Charleston, South Carolina. In 1864, one year prior to the official end of slavery in the United States, Paul and Harriet Trescot, “free persons of color,” owned 112 acres of land – called Liberty Hill. Once a vibrant, founding community, it is now an area of blight. 

In 2010, Robert Fludd identified a need in the North Charleston community after reading an article in the newspaper about how high school students in our area were reading at 3rd and 4th grade levels. It immediately sparked the idea of a literacy program focused on reading skills for those in elementary school. Within that first year, 100% of the students showed progress on their state MAP testing. The following year, the program added 20 kids. And they added math to the program at the request of the local schools. With the help of volunteers, the program grew to 60 kids in 2013, and the City of North Charleston began to assist with transportation from the schools to the after school program. The Liberty Hill Literacy Program is now a thriving after school program with more than 100 children from the Liberty Hill community and surrounding areas.  

Meet the Staff: Taylor Rogister


What drew me most to Origin SC was the many different ways the company helps it’s community. I like being involved with a company that is all about helping people better themselves.

What has surprised you the most about working at Origin SC?
All of the different programs the company offers to people for a better quality of life. I had no idea Origin offered so many different counseling/workshops. The workshops range in great number and could potentially help many different people.  

What is an experience that has really shaped who you are? 

A little over a year ago I was diagnosed with a pretty severe Auto-Immune disease. It has changed my life in a lot of different ways. It’s one of those things you think would never happen to you, until it does. It’s given me a very positive outlook on life. It’s taught me to be a fighter. Its taught me not to take things for granted and it’s also taught me that you never know what a person could be going through. Ever since being diagnosed I have become extremely sympathetic to people who have gone through anything life changing, and tried to build themselves back up again. It’s taught me to see the light in the dark for sure.  

How has Origin SC helped you in your career development?

Origin SC has helped my career development in a few different ways. I think the biggest thing working with the company is communication. Talking to a number of people all day about different things can definitely expand a person’s communication skills.  

What is the one thing in this world you are most proud of?

My biggest accomplishment in life so far is buying my own home. I became a homeowner when I was 20 years old. When I was in high school, my mom was really on top of me about working, saving money, paying my own bills, building credit, and basically preparing me to never have to depend on anyone for anything. I stayed focused and achieved this goal at a time that I could have easily gotten distracted and for that I am very proud. 

Homebuying Trends for 2017

2017 is bringing in a gust of fresh ideas, uncertainty, and new possibilities. The housing market is no exception to this. With record-low mortgage rates in 2016, the market saw a prosperous year with even higher expectation for 2017. Forecasters predict that millennials and baby-boomers will be the largest two age groups looking to purchase in 2017, and with that comes a slew of trend predictions.

More jobs are being created for workers ages 25-34 than any other age group. STEM centered careers which are primarily occupied by this age group are not only eliminating labor jobs but did not even exist at the turn of the century. The oldest millennials are in their mid -30s and are beginning to settle down and buy houses. A statistic from Realtor.com reports that 61% of potential homebuyers this are under age 35. Although trends with this generation showed a high tendency to spend rather than save, research now shows that millennials are more conservative with their money than previously assumed. Two-thirds of millennials are building up savings to purchase a new home within the next two years.

Millennials are looking to pay off mortgages quickly, with 77% reporting that mortgage rates are the most important factor that they are considering when purchasing a home. This group is seeing more homebuyers select the shorter 15-year plan as opposed to the standard 30-year plan. Other major factors include having solid savings for a down payment, paying off debt, and having a steady job. As far as features of the home, millennials are looking for lots of privacy, more space indoors and out, and safe, family-friendly neighborhoods. 

The parents of these millennials and baby-boomers are also on the radar for home buying. This generation spans from those just beginning to be empty-nesters to those transitioning into retirement. In both cases, baby boomers are looking to sell the homes that they raised their children in so they can start downsizing.

Due to these new faces in the home buying market and shifts in the nation’s economy, the population and price trends of housing markets across the country are beginning to shift. With a growing deficit in construction laborers, building companies must pay higher wages to compete for workers. Additionally, current immigration issues creates more uncertainty for the market with such a large immigrant population in this industry.  The cost to build new homes is predicted to continue to increase throughout 2017 as well as the demand for new building projects. Both of these factors result in soaring prices nationwide.

Midsized cities such as Charleston are continuing to grow as more young families find them more appealing than larger metro areas. Top-tier economic cities such as New York, Seattle, and San Francisco do not have the infrastructure development to keep up with the population growth, making it very expensive to settle in such areas. Such growth in smaller cities is both a blessing and a curse as they also struggle to adapt to the growing populations. In cities such as Detroit, St. Louis, and Minneapolis, Midwestern millennials are opting to settle closer to home as their cities and neighborhoods become more developed and offer well-paying jobs and affordable housing.

Needless to say, those looking to buy or sell should pay careful attention to home buying trends to ensure they are getting the best value possible. Not sure where, when, or how to start? Origin SC has a staff of experienced realtors ready to assist you with all of your real estate questions, concerns, and needs. To learn more about our homeownership resources, click here.