As swanky new apartment buildings encroach on neighborhoods across Chicago and threaten to price out long-term residents, the city faces a pressing need for affordable housing. Roosevelt alumna Jamila Danzy (MS Real Estate, ’17) is rising to the challenge in a new role at her long-time employer.
When condo building becomes dangerous to its residents or its owner defaults on payments, a judge can “deconvert” the building into rentable apartments. Court-appointed receivers like Jamila are appointed to perform a judicial sale on behalf of the court. In partnership with a community-focused listing agent, she works to identify developers with a vested interest in the community who have the capacity to acquire, rehab and reoccupy the property.
Jamila works for Community Investment Corporation, a nonprofit mortgage lender that works to stabilize distressed neighborhoods and preserve affordable housing. Jamila began her career there as a program manager. After graduating from Roosevelt with as master's degree in real estate, Jamila accepted a new position at CIC — one that leveraged her expertise in real estate and her passion for policy.
Roosevelt spoke with Jamila about the Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate and her current role as condo program manager.
What brought you to Roosevelt University?
My current employer continued to offer me new employment opportunities in real estate acquisitions, homeownership and development. I honestly felt a bit like a fish out of water because I was a complete policy-head. I've always been fascinated by policy and how it has a significant impact on communities of color. While I wanted to excel, I was concerned that I didn't have enough experience and training specifically in real estate and real estate transactions.
Roosevelt University helped me to maximize the internal opportunities with my current employer while networking with fellow real estate students. I've always considered a quality education as a great equalizer. My time at Roosevelt University was well spent because it provided the support and confidence that I needed.
I’m very proud of my accomplishments and time at Roosevelt.
On her current role
Because of the real estate training and course work that I was able to take at Roosevelt, I qualified for an internal position with my current employer.
I sell court-ordered real estate properties, specifically working with residential properties that are distressed and have been deconverted by court order. The position requires that a court receiver manages the court asset, list the property for sale with an independent listing agent, calculate closing and liquidation expenses and distribute any proceeds per the proportionate share of ownership.
While there are several court receivers, my role as a condo receiver is unique in that I manage real estate transactions in partnership with the city of Chicago's Troubled Buildings Initiative (TBI) — part of the city's broader efforts toward occupancy and affordability. I'm responsible for marketing, selling and liquidating distressed court assets.
What is your favorite memory of your time at Roosevelt University?
My most memorable experience was meeting so many fellow students with similar professional experiences, training and interest in the real estate field. Most students attending the program for similar reasons: to enhance their training specifically in real estate to pair with their existing training in a related industry.
Any advice for prospective real estate students?
Hang in there. It is worth the experience. While I had to grit through several classes like accounting and stats — all courses that I haven’t had to think about since undergrad — I’m still very proud of myself and my accomplishments.