Being a member of a community means different things to different people. As such, when it comes to offering social programs and amenities, respective wants, needs and preferences can run the gamut. For board members and managers, having programs in place that cater to the collective—toddlers to octogenarians and those in between and beyond—can be a challenge.
“Social programming in a multi-family community can come about in a variety of ways,” says Cynthia Graffeo, director of client relations for the New York-based Argo Real Estate. “We have seen everything from residents volunteering to start a social initiative to board members suggesting to management that a committee be formed.”
Since a co-op or a condo property can be populated by a wide range of residents, board members, formed committees and managers often have to work in a collaborative fashion to ensure all residential requests are considered. For example, a young married couple raising children will likely have different wants, such as playrooms and daycare, than a retired couple who may prefer game nights and social outings to the museum.
“You have to be open and flexible with the people you are working with,” says Kaitlin Nelson, LMSW, the program director for the New York-based Goddard Riverside West Side. “While you may be educated in your position, these people (residents) are experts in their situation—in their life and they know what they want and need. You have to give residents some ownership in the process.”
Each Property is Unique
Robin B. Steiner, president of the White Plains, New York-based RMR Residential Realty, explains that his firm manages approximately 30 properties in the region. Every one, he notes, has different needs, especially those catering to an older demographic.