by Dorothy Puch Lillig
The Blue Star Certification Program is a joint effort by the Houston Police Department and the Houston Apartment Association created for rental properties of all sizes to help law enforcement officials and the multifamily housing industry work together to effectively reduce criminal activity in rental properties.
The awarding of a Blue Star designation means that the apartment community has successfully completed all three phases of the program to promote a safer and cleaner community with a higher quality of life.
Ramon Nunez is the community manager of three Blue Star apartments in the Spring Branch District. We asked him some questions about what the designation means to him, apartment residents and the community.
Q: Where are the three Blue Star apartments you manage?
- Jacquelyn Place Apartments – 7630 Amelia Road
- Johanna Court Apartments – 1928 Johanna Drive
- The Amelia Apartment – 2002 Johanna Drive
In 2017 we became Blue Star Certified Communities the first time and we recently got recertified in 2020.
Q: How long have you been community manager of these apartment communities?
Since January 2016 to current date. I worked overseas from 2009 to 2012 in Iraq for KBR during the Iraqi War. My job was in regional operations supporting the U.S. military including the Department of Defense, State Department, Special Forces and private contractors. I was very interested in the real estate industry so my family got involved with a few apartment investments. I later realized I wanted to learn more about how to operate and manage apartment communities. Subsequently, we became involved with a local real estate mentoring group to coach us along the way. We also became wholly involved with the Houston Apartment Association education programs including Leasing 101, Fair Housing Laws, Certified Apartment Manager Program, and the Blue Star Program. We desired to learn as much as possible and by doing so, the new skills assisted us to serve our residents thoroughly and make our community a better residence to call home.
Q: Tell me a little bit about what HPD Blue Star Certification means for these apartments, the residents and you as a property manager?
Accomplishing the Blue Star Certification means we are 100 percent committed in going the extra mile to help our three apartment communities and the area surrounding us as well. Our management team with Bravo Capital Management is committed to making our communities the best place to live in Houston. By strengthening our three apartment communities we are setting a higher standard for other multi-family communities to step up and follow in our footsteps. We have also taken initiative with the City of Houston and District A City Council Member Amy Peck to install speed bumps on two of our busy streets to reduce speeding.
Our residents realized we go the extra mile to make sure we perform to the highest customer service standards. Our courtesy officer answers residents’ inquiries swiftly. They realize by following the Blue Star guidelines set forth from HPD, our communities are at different level of management that actually cares about resident well-being and the community outside the gates.
As a community manager, our team understands we must perform at a higher level of professionalism, accuracy, and attention to our mission. We use the Texas Apartment Association lease documents and now a Blue Star Addendum for residents to execute before they move in. These documents, especially the Blue Star Addendum, explains how to be a good resident in the eyes of HPD standards. HPD is eager to work with us for additional training, outreach programs, or just to pay us a friendly visit us to see how things are going. Our HPD and Seal Security Officers are always welcome to stopover to say hello and grab a cup of coffee. We understand our first responders have a demanding profession and we momentously appreciate their commitment to serving the community.
Q: Do you live in Spring Branch?
Yes, we have lived in Spring Branch since the beginning of 2016 at one of the Blue Star communities. We now own a home in central Spring Branch since 2018. I was born and raised in Houston, TX. We love our University of Houston Cougars and Houston Astros. My grandparents and parents lived in Houston, so we identify ourselves as proud Houstonians.
Q: What do you see for the future of the Spring Branch District?
Great things! We have one of the most diverse and international melting pots in Houston and the Spring Branch Management District does an amazing job in promoting and helping the community transition to where we need to be as a top-notch district. The SBMD partners with many outstanding organizations like the Houston Apartment Association, SEAL Security, Harris County Attorneys, HPD, District A City Council Member Amy Peck and other stakeholders to brainstorm on how we can continuously make improvements for the residents, home owners, and business owners in the district.
When I think of Spring Branch, I think of a great location, community leaders who actually care, and a great place to call home. I feel we are blessed to have a trustworthy and dependable management district that responds to residents and profoundly cares about the beautification initiatives, success of local businesses, and the welfare of our residents.
Learn more about Blue Star Certification: http://www.houstontx.gov/police/multi_family/
Check out this video featuring Ramon and one of his apartment complexes: