We had the honor of being a guest on the Accessible Housing Matters podcast with Stephen Beard. Each week, Stephen hosts a discussion on accessibility and housing to inspire people to be an advocate and create real change. With over 1,800 properties owned across the nation, helping nearly 8,000 individuals with disabilities live safe and independent lives, we have real estate solutions care providers need.
Welcome to Accessible Housing Matters. I'm your host, Steven Beard. I'm a real estate agent and an “Accessibility Specialist”. I got into real estate to be the agent for people with disabilities and their families. Through my work, I've met 1000s of people. And now I want to share what I've learned. Each week, my guests and I will talk about accessibility and housing. Over time, I'll explore many different aspects of the subject from a wide range of perspectives. Together, we'll learn about some pretty cool stuff, and inspire you to new ideas, discussions, and actions, that will really make a difference. Because accessible housing matters.
Hello, everyone. Today I'm delighted to welcome Matt Mumma to the show, Matt is the president of Scioto Properties, which is doing some really interesting work in real estate development space around housing for people with disabilities and their families. Welcome to the show, Matt.
Matt Mumma 01:06
Thank you for having me, it's an honor to be a guest.
Steven Beard 01:09
So Matt, tell me what Scioto Properties is all about.
Matt Mumma 01:13
Yeah, we've been an organization now for over 20 years. And we provide impact real estate solutions to help improve the outcomes of individuals served, that live in the homes that we own and leased to direct care providers. And we try to find efficiencies for providers, you know, we take a lot of pride in not being a landlord that simply sits back and collects a rent check. And we currently serve, you know, not only the developmental disability industry, but we also provide supports and services -housing supports and services to individuals with traumatic brain injury, behavioral health needs substance abuse, Adult Day Services, in-patient rehabilitation, and then we also do some small senior care homes.
Steven Beard: 01:59
In your case, a provider of services to someone with developmental disabilities, maybe in some sort of in home support provider, or company that, in some way serves these clients is also going to be involved in providing their housing, there isn't like a separate distinct thing. And they come to you. And you guys lease, lease space apartments, basically, to the their clients is that the way it is?
Matt Mumma 02:25
Housing, housing of all really all different types. So, in our 20 plus years, as an organization, we've grown to have over 1900 properties in 40 states. And so, we're really all over the space in terms of what types of real estate we acquire, and we lease back to health care providers, it could be a, you know, a larger intermediate care facility for individuals with developmental disabilities. Really, nationally, the push has been to get away from that to get into community based, accessible housing for people with disabilities. So that's been a huge focus of ours. So… I see ICFs of all different shapes and sizes, licensed group homes, single family homes, and then apartment buildings. That's one of the new concepts that we really have, you know, grown attached to really from the standpoint of it allows us as a housing provider that supports individuals with developmental disabilities, it allows us to move them from larger institutionalized settings out into community based settings, you know, where it's, it's really fully integrated with the general public, and we can make the apartment spaces fully accessible for individuals with disabilities.
Steven Beard: 03:34
Do you ever provide housing support direct to consumers, or rental opportunities direct to consumers?
Matt Mumma: 03:42
Yeah, so one of the big things that we focused on with the developmentally disabled population is that is an organization we've not specifically serviced, you know, individuals directly that have developmental disabilities. And that is the largest growing market that's out there for you know, that that's desperately in need of housing. So, you know, we have historically supported providers, but have really, we've had to really, really re-evaluate over the last couple years our service model, and how can we better serve that population. So, individuals that are very high functioning, that whole community employment, they have benefit money, they can pay rent, and, you know, they may, you know, with a roommate or two, that can be tremendous successful if they just have the right type of housing that's accessible to help them meet their needs in public. So, we've really started to focus on that population, and trying to find housing solutions to where we can lease directly to individuals with disabilities as opposed to directly to the providers
Steven Beard 04:43
and you are in 40 states, right?
Matt Mumma 04:46
We are 40 states, soon to be 41.
Steven Beard 04:50
So, really can you tell me what state you're going into?
Matt Mumma 04:53
Yeah, we're really looking at Arkansas, we have had a lot of great, a lot of great discussion with the state of Arkansas. It's not been a market we have typically served we had a great meeting recently with large provider in the in that market as well as the state of Arkansas about opportunities. They have, over the next three years 1000s of individuals coming off the IDD waitlist, who are going to be in need of community-based housing. And so, as a housing provider that really supports individuals with disabilities and trying to make housing affordable and accessible to them. We want to be a large part of that. And so had a lot of great conversations with folks in Arkansas. And we expect that to be our 41st state here in the near future.
Steven Beard 05:35
So you guys buy property that you lease out? Or do you guys are you a sub or us Are you subleasing property?
Matt Mumma 05:44
So we don't sub lease. So, we essentially we can acquire homes off the market, we can custom build properties, that's one of the things that we also do. So, we work with, you know, several provider organizations across the country that like construction as an option. And so, I actually had a meeting this morning with a provider in Pennsylvania about construction as a service model. And we had a good discussion about, you know, housing inventory, and just some of the struggles with housing currently in the market with, you know, lender rates the way they are, and just the lack of poor-quality housing that's out there. That's not only quality housing, but, but it's also accessible to individuals with disabilities. And it's just very poor right now. And so, one of the things that we've done is we can do ground-up construction, whether its stick-built, or manufactured housing, and we can really do it to the point where it's accessible from the, you know, from the forefront of the construction to where we really deliver it over to the provider and the individual with disabilities. It's really kind of custom built for them based off of what their needs are.
Steven Beard 06:48
I've heard about interviewed some guests, I've had guests on my show who are doing the building housing and developing properties, and it takes a long time. So, I guess I have a number of questions first, the first is, how many two questions first of all, how many people are you serving? How many people are getting housing through the housing stock that you create or provide? And then second, are people in your housing typically living in buildings that you have built that provide this housing or are they living in apartments that you have bought condos that you have bought? And stuff like that? Where it's one offs?
Matt Mumma 07:21
Yeah, great question. So, you know, typically, you know, we try to re-evaluate on an ongoing basis, usually annually, just the number of individuals that we've been able to help serve. And right now, it's probably over, it's between probably 7- and 8000, individuals with disabilities that we've been able to help serve out in community-based setting. So, you know, we take a lot of pride in that we hope the number continues to grow for decades to come. But it's a number that we're passionate about. And it's really what we're all about, you know, impact real estate, we want to continue to be impactful and what we what we own and serve as many people as possible. In terms of, you know, the types of real estate, you know, we've been able to build ground-up anything from a single family home to, you know, larger traumatic brain injury facilities, you know, that serve considerably more than just a four or five person, single family home. Predominantly, the real estate that we own across the country is single family homes, that are leased directly to service providers who provide supports and services directly in those assets to individuals with disabilities.
Steven Beard 08:30
So does your company modify the homes for any either government set or provider desired, architecturally accessible standards?
Matt Mumma 08:41
We do. So that's another service area that we really take a lot of pride in. So not only do we have the ability to buy a home off the market, but we also have the ability to, to basically rehab it or renovate the home to make it accessible, whether it's widening doorways, so individuals with wheelchairs are able to pass freely, you know, we can do ramps, we can retrofit bathrooms to make them accessible to individuals with disabilities. So, we really have the, you know, the construction capabilities to really rehab any property across the country.
Steven Beard 09:15
That's very cool. Do you have any projects that you've developed? That's one of the things that have been coming up a lot on the interviews I've been doing recently is the idea of Inclusive Housing, where you'll build an apartment structure or environment with multiple housing units in it's that where only a certain portion of them will be for the providers clients. And the rest will be for a general population, perhaps low income, but certainly a general population. I've heard about this. Recently, I heard about a really cool project in the DC area called Main Street, which has built this I don't know if you know about Main Street, but in any case, do you do any kind of development of things that are sort of getting… catching that trend in the market?
Matt Mumma 09:59
Yeah, we really see that as a trend that is continuing to grow, it's one that we've actively participated in. And, you know, a good example of that is here in our home state of Ohio, we acquired a 72 unit apartment building. So it wasn't ground up construction, but we, we found an apartment building that was for sale. And, you know, it just so happened to be in our home state, which was also great. And, you know, we looked at it, and we thought that it was a great opportunity for us to take some of the vacant units and, you know, quote, unquote, earmark them for individuals with disabilities. And, you know, we don't want to take 72 units, and basically just say, okay, here's an entire an apartment building that can be used by individuals with disabilities, because that's really not helping the system progress with basically just taking an entire apartment building and just throwing a bunch of people with disabilities in it. And we don't want to do that we want it to be inclusive housing that's community integrated with the general public. And so, you know, we've earmarked probably, you know, 15 to 20% of those 72 units to be available as they come open to individuals with developmental disabilities, and we'll make all the appropriate modifications needed to the apartment units to allow, allow those individuals to be better served. So, it's providing good housing, that's, you know, it's quality housing, because we only try to buy, you know, the highest level or quality of housing that's on the market, we can make it accessible to individuals with disabilities. And, also, it's really integrated with the general public, so you or I could rent an apartment there, if we so choose. And, you know, that's really what it's all about is trying to get away from institutionalized care.
Steven Beard 11:38
Yeah, no, it's really important. And we have such a shortage of housing to across the country that is accessible, which is, we talked about that on this podcast all the time. What about the trend towards smart homes and smart technology to provide that service providers, many of them around the country are embracing to serve their clients? Does that touch your world at all?
Matt Mumma 12:00
It does, you know, we partner with a company called Simply Home, I'll give a little shout out.
Steven Beard 12:06
I had I did an interview with them earlier this year.
Matt Mumma 2:09
Wonderful. Yeah. Wonderful company.
Steven Beard Jason. Right. Jason? Jason?
Yeah. Jason and Alan Ray, um, wonderful people wonderful company. You know, I think smart homes are really the wave of the future. You know, I talked about Arkansas earlier. And that's one of the discussions that we're having with them is how do we, you know, with all of the 1000s and 1000s of individuals that are coming off of their waitlist and their developmentally disabled system, how do you accommodate for all of them in the public, in public housing, or in apartments, or, you know, in single family homes, and for a lot of individuals, the only way to really be able to do that is to have the homes be.. to be smart homes, to allow them to, to be able to function as independently as possible with as minimal supports as possible. And one of the, one of the critical things that I see happening in the country, really, over the last several years has been just the crisis that healthcare service providers in the IDD space are having with staffing, it's beyond a crisis at this point. And as a result, smart homes and technology are really going the way of the future, in my opinion, in terms of being able to take individuals that are higher functioning, and can live in community-based settings, but they still need some element of care. That's where technology can come into play and make a huge difference. And if they have the right technology and the right real estate, it can really keep them in community-based settings as opposed to having to go backwards in the system to where they're living in licensed facilities or, you know, state run institutions. So, I really see it as the wave of the future.
Steven Beard 3:46
Do you think, though, that your developments, give a provider a leg up in integrating smart home technology and smart service technology into their service offering?
Matt Mumma 14:00
Yeah, I think so. I mean, we're all what's interesting about siloed, as a company is that, you know, in our 20 plus year history, as an organization, we have always had a president of the organization that came from the provider side. So, we really, you know, in my background prior to joining Scioto, about three and a half years ago, as I came from the health care, the DD service provider side where I was with the same provider agency here in Ohio for 20 years. And so, we understand the pain points of our providers, we understand the struggles that they have. And I think that, you know, having Scioto as a real estate partner where, we we've come from the provider side, we know the struggles that they have, and we don't want to be just the landlord that sits back and collects a rent check. We want to try to find ways to make the service system better, not only for the provider, but for what's most important, which are the people that receive services in the real estate that we own and the providers that we work with operate within. So, I think that that's one of the big benefits of working with, you know…us, versus an independent local landlord, that does just sit back and collect a rent check is that we understand the providers needs, we've actually provided direct care service delivery to individuals with disabilities. And we understand the service systems that are the real estate systems that best help to support people with disabilities in terms of making it affordable, accessible, and everything in between.
Steven Beard 15:31
You know, other types of conditions that might be perceived as disabling and are a part of your market. You mentioned that you support people with traumatic brain injuries, as well as behavioral health and substance abuse markets do, you have to have a different perspective coming from the DD world, in how you work with those providers, in what you're doing at, Scioto?
Matt Mumma 15:53
Somewhat. So, the real estate looks a little bit different as you move into some of these, you know, adjacent markets as we, as we call them. So, you know, in our 20 year history as an organization, predominantly, we've owned single-family homes, but as we move into behavioral health, or traumatic brain injury, or substance abuse, you know, we could be acquiring a small outpatient treatment clinic, you know, we've acquired several of those, it could be a large, you know, traumatic brain injury rehab facility where they provide OT/PT, speech, therapy services to individuals that are coming in. So, it doesn't always have the residential aspect to it, it can. But the real estate is much more commercial as opposed to just being a single-family home. And so, you know, we've aggressively moved into those markets to diversify our portfolio over the last several years and have grown quite a bit just by trying to support and service those markets. So, the real estate looks a little bit different in those markets. You know, its provider issues are all the same across the country. Unless of the market, they all struggle with staffing. Right now. So…
Steven Beard 17:01
Yeah. So, on your website, it talks about Scioto to being unique being different than other companies like yours, some of whom I've spoken with on the show, what is the unique sales proposition? What is the unique thing about Scioto that you guys are proud of?
Matt Mumma 17:22
Yeah, I mean, we first we have a tremendous amount of respect for all of our competitors, just in terms of what they try to do day in and day out, which is the same thing as us, you know, provide, you know, quality real estate to people with disabilities, I think, you know, what really separates us and I mentioned this earlier is that, you know, we're not the landlord that simply sits back and collects a rent check. We're…we've invested a lot of resources in things like we have a Vice President of Government Affairs on staff now that is working from a legislative standpoint to try to,… try to figure out how can we improve housing nationally for people with disabilities to make it more affordable, more, more accessible, because of that position that we hired, I was very fortunate to travel to Washington, DC, late last year and meet with HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge, and have a conversation with her about housing for individuals with developmental disabilities and mental health disorders. And, you know, at the time, she had just been appointed to office, and she had indicated to me that that was the number one concern that she was hearing, you know, bar none above everything else that she was encountered to and her first, you know, months in office, she indicated that was the number one concern that she was hearing across the board was, was about housing. And so, we were fortunate to meet with her, you know, since then we've continued conversations with her office, in terms of, you know, ways to make housing more affordable. How do we address the housing crisis for people with disabilities? So, we don't just again, we just don't sit back and collect a check. We're doing those types of things. We also try to figure out because of our history of having, you know, a president that has led, you know, healthcare service provider organizations, we're also trying to figure out how do we help be a part of reinventing service delivery, but doing it in, you know, real estate settings that are again, accessible, affordable, and have the right layout, you know, the right footprint, a lot of times what we see are providers wanting to just go with the cheapest option, but the cheapest option doesn't always prevent the best health care outcomes for the people that they're trying to serve. And so, you know, with our background on the service provider side, we're able to just kind of take a step back from what it is they're wanting. And in many occasions, we make recommendations that put them in different ultimately put them in different types of real estate, to which they can be the most successful and if the providers that we help support are successful, then obviously the individuals that we're all collectively supporting are going to be successful and have better, better outcomes.
Steven Beard 19:57
So it's intrigues me that you're in so many state. So, 80% of the states seem to be a little over 80% of the state. And as I've interviewed people and talk to people from all over the country, I found that there's a lot of discrepancy between how states manage the whole issue of accessibility and housing. And I've recently learned that some states have structural barriers that make it really hard to develop accessible new accessible housing for people. Have you found that? And are there any states that you would point out as having a more challenging environment? And for that, it's hard for you to be at be able to be effective?
Matt Mumma 20:41
You know, I think it's a great question. I think every state is different. You know, there's 50 different,... I say that I feel like once a week, I say to someone, you know, Medicaid is really run by the states. And so we serve as a large Medicaid population. And so there's 50 different ways of managing Medicare.
Steven Beard 20:58
They don't even call it Medicaid in California, they call it Medi-CAL.
Medi-CAL That's right. Yeah. And so, there's every state has its nuances, they're all very different. And anytime we're working, or I'm talking to a different state, or a different healthcare partner in a in a state always have to put that state's cap on and think, Okay, this is the state of Michigan or Rhode Island, or whichever state it is we're talking to, and kind of go back to what it is that they require, or not only require, but what are the nuances that come up with real estate in that particular market. And some of the challenges I mean, there's definitely inventory issues in some states versus others. There are some states where I know that like new construction probably isn't going to be an option because of affordability. But if it's maybe if it's modular versus stick-built, it's going to be more affordable for, for that particular state. It's definitely a challenge for us, you know, being in 40 states, but again, we love working with, with every state, hopefully, it'd be 50. At some point, it's just you do have to take a step back and just think about how each state individually works, what the individual quirks are with each state, and what's the best way to structure you know, real estate deals that are productive for the providers that we work with, but will also most importantly benefit the individuals that we all collectively serve?
Steven Beard 22:18
So is there a state that is that you could point to that you'd love to get into if the environment were better and all those aspects?
Matt Mumma 22:28
You know, I mentioned Arkansas, Arkansas is a state that definitely has real estate challenges. You know, I see it as a state that has huge potential opportunity, it's just trying to figure out what is the real estate look like, they may not look like what it currently does in the state of Arkansas, we might have to adapt it or do some, you know, ground up or modular construction work to make it be something that will help to serve better serve individuals and community-based settings. So, it may not quite look like a single family home, and may look more like a you know, a duplex or something like that, that's going to be more, more affordable. You just kind of have to think through the nuances of each state. And but I kind of see it as the land of opportunity, you know, so there are challenges, there's challenges in California, everything is so expensive, but you just kind of have to put your you know, your, your best foot forward in terms of you know, what are what are the options? What do individuals specifically need? What can the state help support? You know, one of the things that we also try to do is try to talk to managed care organizations that are heavily involved in the IDD population, are there ways for them to help support it, because if they can help support it, maybe the end result will be less hospital admissions for people with disabilities and that's obviously cheaper for MCOs. And so, you know, there's some states that are very MCO-driven, where the IDD…
Managed Care Organization.
Okay, yeah, managed care organization.
So, insurance companies…so instead of maybe like a state that has, you know, like a Department of Developmental Disabilities, it's really more of an MCO or managed health care model, where you have the insurance companies very involved. And so, they very much have a vested interest when they're very involved in managing the system and trying to keep people out of hospitals. And so we feel that we can play a part in terms of, you know, what, what are the types of real estate settings that we can help design, build, buy, rehab,… that is going to be the most conducive to having the best possible outcomes for the people that we provide, you know, housing to, and in turn, it helps to reduce hospital recidivism rates, you know, that's cheap,
Steven Beard 24:46
Right…We're seeing CMS, the Center for Medicaid and medical getting around this a little bit more because there's a new programs I'm seeing pop up all over the country, including in California where you can use Medicaid funding to for people looking for housing, or on Medicaid or Medi-CAL, and I think that's, to a certain extent, could be really, really innovative as finally getting a more holistic perspective of what makes for a healthy life and healthy circumstance.
Matt Mumma 25:14
Yeah, I totally, that is a new initiative in a couple states. Now, I think. And I really, that really excites me, really, as a former provider, but also working on the real estate side. Now, I think that creates so many more opportunities for people to move out of larger facilities and to be integrated with the general public. So, I hope more states move in that direction, hopefully successful, we'll see how it plays out.
Steven Beard 25:38
Yeah. What about urban - rural, I mean, you talked about high cost of living and high rents, do you find that you're more successful developing housing in rural or suburban areas away from the major centers, because of the lower rents there?
Matt Mumma 25:54
You know, we really acquire real estate in every market, there definitely has been in this environment where real estate inventory is less than it used to be, you know, trying to find more affordable housing for us to lease to providers, and sometimes that is in more rural settings. You know, depending on the type of real estate, there could be more risk to us on the real estate side, if it's in a really, really, really rural setting. One of the things that it's really pretty interesting that we've seen over the last couple years is that as we've moved more and more into the behavioral health space, we've seen service providers that want to be in rural settings, just because they're, you know, they've had issues that have come up with individuals that they serve and their mental health diagnosis and, you know, things that have happened maybe in the community, where I think there's this perception that everybody with a developmental disability is going to be a sex offender. And that's just not the case. You know, I've known very few sex offenders that have, you know, IDD and so, you know, we do a lot of Fair Housing work, as well, and trying to try to really promote and support individuals with disabilities, behavioral health conditions. And in terms of urban and rural, you know, we really acquire real estate everywhere.
Usually, when we have requests for rural, that's not because it's cheaper, it's really more of based off the population they're wanting to serve. They wanted to, they want to have it be out of city limits, just so they don't have to deal with maybe like Homeowners Association, or the worry or stress of fair housing issues coming up down the road. So, we have a lot of times where we're providers want to try to avoid that from the get-go. And it's actually sad. And it's unfortunate that, you know, there's just still a great misconception about individuals with developmental disabilities as well as mental health conditions that, you know, they're just going to be horrible for your community. And that's just it's simply not the case.
And I think it sounds almost sometimes the opposite, actually.
It is. Yeah, I mean, I've seen many situations actually nationally, where it's actually been a blessing that a group home has come into the community because they can get involved and be an active participant in the community. And I've seen that happen many times over my 25 plus years in the the IDD space.
Steven Beard 28:12
So, I'm glad you mentioned 25 plus years. So, what got you involved in this work first as a provider, and now in this developmental role, and why do you do it?
Matt Mumma 28:23
Good question. So, I actually stumbled upon the IDD industry. I don't think anybody that gets into serving individuals with developmental disabilities, you know, goes to college and says, Hey, I want to, I want to help support people with disabilities in group homes or in facilities. I had to do a practicum in college. And I had to select someone to to kind of partner with and so the person that I partnered with was Susan Arnowski, who was the at the time she was the Executive Director for Advocacy and Protective Services. And so, I started working at that agency, and it was it, was in a still the guardianship agency in the state of Ohio for individuals with developmental disabilities. And so, I did my practicum there, and they actually hired me out of college, and I fell in love with the industry in terms of supporting people with disabilities. And after about two or three years there, I really got the bug to work on the provider side and built a 20-year career with the same provider organization, based here in Ohio… fell in love with not only that company, but their mission and just serving people with disabilities really helped that organization to grow and diversify into serving different markets. And, you know, I hit the 20-year mark, and I was contacted by a recruiter about working at Scioto Properties. And at the time, I had been actually a 20-year customer of Scioto Properties. So on the provider side, I was actually working with Scioto acquiring homes, you know, developing them into group homes or intermediate care facilities, and I wasn't looking to leave the provider agency I was working with, but I was familiar with Scioto. I fell in love really, with what their mission was, the more I learned about it, I really felt that I can make a difference in trying to help, you know, get people out of institutionalized care and into community-based housing, again, that's affordable and accessible.
And so here I am, it's been three and a half years, and I've loved the challenge of moving into the real estate world from the provider side, but I definitely would say, you know, my 20 plus year career on the provider side has definitely helped out and I have providers all the time, tell me how much of a difference that it makes, it means to them to have a real estate partner that actually understands what their struggles are, and what they what they go through on a daily basis. And, you know, I take a lot of pride in that. So, you know, that's my story. It's kind of an interesting one, just in terms of, I just kind of stumbled into the field, but then, you know, I got the bug to work on the provider side and, and then having been a customer of Scioto Properties for 20 years to now leading the organization for the last three and a half. So…
Steven Beard 31:11
Well, that's great, Matt, and I wish we had more time to go even deeper. But I did have one last question. And if I have listeners who are interested in learning more about the model that you guys have and the work you're doing, how can they connect with you and with Scioto?
Matt Mumma 31:28
A great way to do that is just through our website. So our website is www.scioto.com. That's www.scioto.com. We've got a Contact Us section on our website that has all of our contact information people can reach out that way or people are can always feel free to email me at email@example.com
Steven Beard 31:53
Awesome. All right. Well, thank you so much for being my guest today.
Matt Mumma 31:56
Thank you so much. It's been an honor.
Steven Beard 32:01
I hope today's discussion was valuable for you. If you liked the show, don't forget to subscribe to the podcast so you don't miss an episode posted on social media, invite friends, and let me know if you have any suggestions for future topics. While you're there, I'd be so grateful if you leave me a review. Your feedback will help me to improve the show. Do you have a question about the show? Email me directly at Steven@ StevenBeard.net. You can also check us out on Facebook by searching accessible housing matters or by visiting our website at accessiblehousingmatters.com And all this can be found in our show notes. Join us next week for another great conversation about why accessible housing matters. Thanks for listening