In 2005, when I was a planning commissioner for the city of Troy, Michigan, there were no clear rules allowing for in-home daycare. My fellow board members were adamantly opposed to this practice, but as a mom, I couldn’t understand why. At a public hearing on June 29, 2005, I stated the following:
“This is not just a childcare issue. This is an all-generation issue. Working parents need support. I could not afford to live here without two incomes. I am a working mother…. Our ordinance is out of date.”
Months and months went by with no clear plans on how to move forward. Finally, the group came up with a plan of action. It sounded good in theory; however, the way it was written made it almost impossible for an in-home daycare to actually obtain approval from the city. When it was my turn to vote, I stated that I approved the plan only to get it out of the hands of the planning commissioners and onto the City Council’s agenda.
The final hearing with the City Council was scheduled for August 9, 2005. I asked to be placed on the agenda for the meeting, which was also broadcast on TV. I explained to the City Council that I had only given my consent for this proposal to pass because I was the only planning commissioner who wanted -home daycare to be available in Troy. I provided a summary of which parts of the ordinance should be removed to allow in-home daycare to become a possibility.
The head of the planning commission was at home getting ready to go to bed when he heard my explanation on TV. He was so upset that he got dressed and drove to the meeting to share his displeasure with my comments. He stood in front of the City Council and angrily told them I didn’t know what I was talking about. The Mayor, a female and former schoolteacher, told him to stop talking and sit down. An hour later, the City Council approved the ordinance with my suggestions.
Fast forward to the recent Covid-19 pandemic, when not much was happening in the office sector. Daycare providers found their way to me. It started with one woman who was referred to me by MWF. Then, I was introduced to IFF, where I helped write a presentation for daycare providers on how to find commercial space. We taught them how to lease or buy a building for their use. Before long, I found myself working on several daycare locations. As this practice grew, a Real Estate Investment Trust with the goal of increasing daycares nationally identified me as their exclusive real estate representative here in Detroit. I’m not sure how all of this happened, but I’m guessing the universe brought this sector to my attention based on my passion as one working mom to help other working moms.