This country has depended upon public housing for many years no and it is something which many wonderful people work on every day, on order to help out those in need. One such professional who works within public housing is executive Martin LaMar who, alongside the head of the board here in in St Louis, Missouri, Mr.Gefe, dedicates his life to ensuring that we have a high class public housing group which everyone can rely on. People like Martin do a brilliant job for a number of communities but as you can imagine, a position like this is not without its challenges. We were fortunate enough to speak with Mr. LaMar about the challenges that he faces as manager of a public housing group, especially in the metropolitan area of St. Louis, Missouri.

Managing Volunteers

A public housing group such as this depends on its volunteers to keep it going, to work with the residents and to perform a whole range of tasks and responsibilities. It is the volunteers who ensure that hedges are trimmed and that ever blade of grass is cut, it is also volunteers who cover care for the residents. As you can imagine it is difficult to manage volunteers because they cannot be contracted, so each day can bring with it challenges with regards to those who give up their free time to help. Beyond this volunteers must be trained and managed, which can cause headaches.


It goes without saying that in order to create affordable housing someone has to pay for it and whilst public housing groups can rely on state and federal funding, it is not always forthcoming. Very often there is a lot of red tape and requirements to perform before the money comes in which often takes up much of the staff’s time within the public housing group. Beyond the funding which a public housing group receives from government, they also rely on donors and private funding, something which needs to be managed by the team within the group. Whether writing a letter, making a phone call or going to a meeting with a potential donor, it can all take time, effort and energy.


Martin spoke to us for a while about the number of legal challenges which him and his team face, either from within the housing group or form an external source. A perfect example of this would be when there is land in a particular city like St. Louis, Missouri which the group has been given the green light to build upon, and then a wealthy developer comes in and tries to perform a land grab. Courts almost always rule in favor of the housing group but that doesn’t make the process any less painful and time consuming for the members of staff at the group.

These are just a few of the many challenges which the management of a housing group must face as they try to offer affordable housing to all.