After working for the late Michael Jackson, Faheem Muhammad and Michael Amir’s acquired knowledge over the years served as a launching pad to help underserved communities.
“Mr. Jackson was always mission-driven. Everything he did had a purpose, which was to do what he could to make the world a better place,” Amir told AfroTech in an email interview.
In the past, Muhammad worked for Jackson as head of security and Amir worked as the icon’s chief of staff. Now, the duo has found their contribution to fostering a more improved society by forging a business partnership alongside other close friends to create Oasis, a real estate investment, and development company.
Oasis has a focus on the South Side of Chicago, as they saw a clear pathway to revisit the demographics they often saw in dire need during their upbringing.
On Transforming The South Side Of Chicago
“My upbringing was very critical to my lens of the world. When we see women with their children, and we hear their stories about the slumlords and everything they have to go through, I understand what they’re going through [because] I’ve been there before,” Muhammad told AfroTech.
Amir also shared similar sentiments.
“I grew up seeing Black people struggle. Our communities were poor and our schools were underqualified. And what made it worse to me was that it was as though we accepted it. Like this was the life we had to live. And although a few of us make it ‘out the hood,’ the majority of Black people in our communities live an underprivileged existence. I always believed it doesn’t have to be this way and made it my life’s mission to do what I can to change that,” Amir explained.
How Oasis was birthed: The call to action would later spawn in 2019.
Amir and Muhammad began to establish their footprint in Chicago when they purchased and flipped a single-family home. Muhammed then conjured the idea to refinance the home and rent it.
Finding success with their initial real estate venture, they decided to follow this model once again. This time, with a focus on beautifying communities that are often overlooked by traditional financiers.
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“Coming to Chicago initially, our goal was to create more capital for our production business because we understood the power and importance of media and the impact it has on our communities. However, once we got into the process, we started seeing the opportunities to create a better living situation for particularly the Black community in Chicago. We did not come in with a plan to disrupt, but as we began to operate in the space, we begin to see these other opportunities,” Muhammad told AfroTech.
“We purchase real estate solely in underserved communities. This not only beautifies our communities but it brings up the property value of homes in our communities as well. Additionally, we tend to rent our properties to those from that community,” Amir also shared.
Oasis also aims to create a generation that will transition from being renters to owners.
To accelerate their vision, Oasis teamed up with the National Housing Services. The partnership will help their tenants begin a homeownership program in which they will be afforded resources to secure the very home they are renting from the company in five to ten years.
“To truly build generational wealth we have to provide the proper tools for the next generation to help them succeed. Real Estate is one of those major tools to build generational wealth. Our communities don’t have many opportunities when it comes to Real Estate. It’s a known fact that although Black people live in the Black Community, Black people don’t own The Black Community. So if we’re going to improve the communities we live in, we have to recycle our dollars in our communities, ownership in Real Estate is a major way to do that,” a statement from Oasis provided to AfroTech read.
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To further its mission of creating long-term wealth in the Black community, Oasis created the Build Program.
According to information provided to AfroTech, young men and women are encouraged to embark on a career in real estate and they are guided on how to purchase properties.
The information provided also said the program will help them learn trade skills, equip them in renovating homes, and help them with establishing an LLC. When they complete the program, the aim is that they leave owning property.
“We provide the students housing and on-the-job training rehabbing our properties. Students in the program get trained and certified in different trades such as carpentry, Plumbing, HVAC, electrical and other skills. These are skills that they can take anywhere and provide a living for themselves. Additionally, we group them in groups of 5, help them create an LLC, and put away money for them every month. At the end of the program, we use that money to purchase a property for them under their LLC. So not only will our students leave with a skill[set], but they leave owning a property,” Oasis told AfroTech.
Five Students Awarded $10K Through The Build Program
On Nov. 10, Amir and Muhammed saluted the Build Program’s first cohort and awarded five students, who founded their company — Nation Property Trades LLC — with $10,000.
“We see so much potential and greatness in these young men; we wanted to give them the head start we never had,” Oasis said in a press release provided to AfroTech.
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Through their programs, Oasis says it has helped over two dozen families with housing or job opportunities. Additionally, they plan on scaling to nearly 100 families in the next 12 months.
As the company looks ahead, it will work to raise $75 million in funding as it was approved to do a tier-two regulation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. In addition, Oasis is celebrating a new 34-unit property that it says was secured to support affordable housing.