This edition of 5 Question focuses on the newest addition to the Rocket Community Fund team: Rob Lockett, Team Leader for Housing Stability. An Atlanta native who now lives in Detroit, Rob has deep experience in community engagement, health and housing. Given his ties to Atlanta and Milwaukee, he has the background and passion to scale our housing strategy in these markets. We sat down to talk with Rob about why he’s excited to join the team, and what he hopes to accomplish in his new role.
Rocket Community Fund: Why did you want to join the Rocket Community Fund?
Rob Lockett: The decision to join Rocket Community Fund (RCF) was deeply personal. The mission of simplifying systems which have historically worked against underrepresented residents for homeownership as a means of wealth creation is one I have been passionate about for some time. Too often, financial resources exclusively are the primary means in which issues receive attention. I believe an engaged partner network focused on neighborhood-specific programs addressing both immediate needs and the long-term stability of our communities is vital to the success of this work.
RCF: What excites you most about this position?
RL: I’m excited to take this work into neighborhoods where it is needed most, building upon successful outcomes we’ve seen in Detroit and in other parts of the country. I am specifically excited to bring this work to Atlanta, Cleveland, and Milwaukee; understanding the success of our systems change work will be realized in partnership with local organizations on the ground, executing on behalf of neighborhood residents every day. Such organizations would greatly benefit from the resources and expertise we bring to bear as the Rocket Community Fund, which is dedicated to funding programs and partners that support housing stability.
RCF: How will your previous experience impact this role?
RL: My service orientation and strategic thought leadership will inform my impact and serve as a basis for how the team will execute. We are in the platform solution business as a means of delivery for the areas we invest in; however none of it will be effective if we don’t root our efforts from a place of service to our local communities.
RCF: What are some of the major housing challenges facing America today and how can the Rocket Community Fund help to address them?
RL: Nationally, I believe we are in the middle of a perfect storm of housing affordability and economic opportunity crises for most everyday people. Affordability (an ever-moving target) has reached significant levels of disparity based on rate increases and inventory mix, and wage growth hasn’t moved significantly en mass for most Americans. When you add the historic access barriers created due to racially oppressive housing policies, you put large numbers of individuals on the outside of opportunity for homeownership. We want to bring awareness, resources, and education to this issue so that residents in our communities are able to afford and maintain stable housing for themselves and their families.
RCF: As a Detroit transplant from Atlanta, what about Detroit resonates with you?
RL: Detroit mirrors the city of Atlanta in a number of ways, so there’s an innate familiarity the city brings along with it. I appreciate the pride native Detroiters bring, which definitely feels like home. I am fortunate to bring a different perspective of engagement rooted in the same spirit of resilience and look forward to being a resource for the people here.