Matthew Philbin just turned 30 years old on March 18. He celebrated his birthday by hopping into his lifted Dodge Ram truck and picking up one of his new tenants.
“I pick them up with their backpack, suitcase, duffle bag, shopping cart or whatever — drive them to their new apartment, and I give them their keys.”
Philbin, a South Crest resident near National Avenue, owns 86 apartment and residential care units. He’s rented out half of his units to former homeless San Diegans.
“They are people with housing vouchers from non-profit or government programs,” he said, “so I do get paid.”
Philbin purchased a property on 2nd Street in National City with 15 units. One of the tenants that moved in was a widow who had been living in a tent since losing her husband. The other was a homeless man who began taking classes at City College.
In 2014, Philbin "was the at-fault driver in a minor car accident which was ultimately dismissed by the judge.”
The sports news reporters had a field day with the incident, because Philbin’s father, Joe, was the head coach of the Miami Dolphins at the time. He was the offensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers when they won the Superbowl XLV in 2011.
In February 2016, Matthew Philbin got married; the following October he was discharged from the Army; two weeks later, he and his wife moved to San Diego.
He bought his first property at Grant Hill which had 11 apartments — with the backing from his parents. Then in May 2017, according to the Zillow website, he sold a house in Vista for more than $1 million. With his commission, he paid back some of the loans that he borrowed from his family and friends.
Last summer, Philbin bought a property in Lemon Grove for around $750,000. The project is called the Crestline Manor, on Crestline Drive. “I’ve been trying to get the permit approved for the remodel since last summer,” he said.
Dolph Gutzman, 65, is one of Philbin’s tenants that utilizes a walker. He’s an Army veteran that was homeless for 12 years prior to moving into the Nestor Apartments in January. “My rent is $1384 and HUD (Housing and Urban Development) is paying approximately $1000 of it.”
The complex is located on Hollister Street two blocks west of I-5. It has 13 apartments and it appears to be an older motel that sits behind the Motel 6 which is in front of the I-5 entrance on Coronado Avenue.
Philbin purchased the property in January for $1.9 million and has spent another $150,000 on renovations, which include updated kitchens and bathrooms, paint, floors and a $75,000 solar powered electrical system.
Gutzman sometimes misses his old lifestyle of sleeping on the sidewalks in East Village. “It’s too confining inside and there are times I want to come out here and roll out my blankets,” he said.
“If someone breaks even or loses money for the purpose of helping out the most down-trodden people,” said, Rafael Bautista. “I am sure that they will be repaid in immaterial ways.”
Bautista is a is a real estate and mortgage broker who advocates for rent control in San Diego.
“Matt seems to be putting rent control in effect without being told to,” Bautista said.