Last month I had an opportunity to present the Fundamentals of HOA Governance to several Board Members and Home Owners at the Community Center. The intention is to equip individuals on how an all-volunteer organization functions under Federal and State laws and our governing documents. The key to all decisions is all about timing. Understanding the process steps involved determines whether you participate directly or just influence.

We are living in very interesting times as we find ourselves totally overwhelmed with all of the political happenings at the national level. Does watching the news or discussion political topics with family members, friends, co-workers and neighbors increase your anxiety? If these things stress you out, perhaps it is time to refocus on action where you can make a difference. We have a lot of opportunities right here in our own community and potential activities requiring political influence.

Even though each of us would want to influence the decisions made at the national level, we may have our own challenges brewing right here in our own neighborhood. One of the best things I love about our neighborhood is how families come together when challenged; hurricane Ike comes to mind. Overnight we were all transported back in time nearly 125 years when the electricity went out. Hopefully, you didn’t have a boss chastising you the next day for being late to work. The reality was everyone in Houston understood the devastation and the impact to our routines. Empathy for each other came pretty easy and taking action was even easier.

Empathy seems to be more difficult when we get busy in our routine and tend to ignore something affecting others right in front of us. We convince ourselves, “I don’t need to take action because someone else will,” or “it is their problem, not mine,” or the most apathetic reason, “not my job.” Eventually, lack of action is like slow drips from a pipe eventually leading to a flood before you know it.

Google this interesting article found on Click 2 Houston about “Unlicensed assisted living facility still operating after the order to stop running.” This story is about how individuals start up a business operating in residential neighborhoods. Don’t waste your time by sending me an email questioning “how is this possible, we have deed restrictions.” By reading the article you find out “Operating an unlicensed assisted living facility, by itself, does not carry criminal punishment in Texas. Instead, the Office of the Attorney General pursues such matters via civil courts.” Even after a judge issued an order and fine, nothing has been done.

Attracting families to our neighborhood is a key strategy to maintaining our property values and not overburden our single-family community. So what can you do? Pay attention to the details around your home. Get to know your neighbors and new neighbors. Most families move in quickly after the SOLD sign is removed out of the front yard. A potential business typically requires more time to set-up and may require construction or renovation. You may notice multiple individuals and a variety of vehicles in and out. Take action by becoming that caring, but nosey neighbor. Take the time to question individuals you don’t know around your home. Remember, you live here and have a right to ask and know. The owner will have a compelling story, yet the employee or contractor another.

Once there are children or elderly residents as customers, shutting down this sort of business is nearly impossible. The money involved certainly makes one wonder why nothing gets done.

Get to know your Area Director and have frequent conversations about what is happening around your home. If there is something that needs to be done, it may be time to gather all the neighbors together. When we start caring about each other and take action when required, we are living in the best place in Northwest Houston.