It’s time for the long awaited return of “Ask the Staff” featuring our Director of Housing: Jeff Reeb!
What do you do for the Drew Lewis Foundation?
I’m the Director of Housing. I work with our contractors to ensure timely and on-budget completions of major renovations on houses we purchase in the Grant Beach neighborhood as part of the Drew Lewis Foundation’s Blue House Project.
I also work with our lenders to ensure our RISE members who qualify to purchase a home can do so in the most cost-effective way. I’m new to the position here so I’ve been reaching out to community members and learning how we as an organization can best collaborate with services offered by other nonprofits as it relates to affordable housing.
What do you enjoy listening to (music, podcasts, audiobooks)?
In high school and shortly thereafter I used to DJ so there is a lot of music I like and appreciate. Lately however, I am really enjoying a band called Lettuce, real funky and jazzy.
What is a hidden talent that you have?
I competed in a National Junior Olympic roller skating championship in 2000…and won Gold.
What are you currently watching?
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I love connecting with people and trying to foster a sense of community with all the different types of people in my life. We have an open-door policy at our home. We want it to be a place where people can engage, build community, and even find rest if needed.
My wife and our kids enjoy traveling to faraway places and seeing how other people live their lives.
Jeff showing off the new Blue House Project shirts with some of the BHP crew
So why work for the Drew Lewis Foundation?
I was a recipient of government assistance as a kid growing up in the Chicago area in the mid 90’s. It made all the difference and was a pivotal moment for our family. With that assistance we were able to move forward, past just surviving. I believe in making myself available for those who know that they need help but are unsure of just where to start. I enjoy helping people one step at a time with tasks that can seem overwhelming such as purchasing a home for the first time, budgeting, and investing.
Working in housing is rewarding because you get to see the neighborhood improve one house at a time and you are also able to see the trajectory of families’ lives change one home at a time.
If you could tell one fun fact about yourself, what would it be?
At a single sitting I once drank copious amounts of camel’s milk in the Sudanese desert with a nomadic Muslim people group called the Rashaida. There was a local businessman who was showing us his prized racing camels that he sells to his relatives in Saudi Arabia, and before I knew it he pulls out a large stainless-steel bowl, puts it on his knee (as he’s standing) and milks this camel dry.
Many of the people in our group were not interested in partaking and I was last to drink. I did my best to show my thanks by trying to finish all the milk, dripping down my face in the hot desert sun. It was fantastic!