USC Price Graduate Uses Real Estate Expertise to Combat Homelessness

Photo of Frank Byrd, USC student
For Executive Master of Urban Planning graduate Frank Byrd, a main draw to the USC online program was its vast network of influential faculty, staff and students. (Photo / Courtesy of Frank Byrd)

During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, real estate agent Frank Byrd realized it was time to make a change in his professional life.

Two years later, in May 2022, he was officially a proud graduate of USC’s Executive Master of Urban Planning (EMUP) online program and preparing to tackle a new role at the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA).

No stranger to career pivots, Byrd originally studied philosophy and fine arts before entering the real estate and urban planning sector, a shift that was sparked by his 10 years as the facility director for the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks.

From there, Byrd obtained his real estate license and became enthralled with development and acquisition, working with multiple brokerage companies and startups over the years, including Redfin.

Hoping to expand his knowledge in the field, Byrd went on to earn a Certificate of Completion from the USC Ross Minority Program in Real Estate in early 2020. But when social distancing orders forced people into their homes, he was determined to further specialize his education.

“I made the decision at that point to really try to push my real estate career towards real estate development, and so I applied for the Executive Master of Urban Planning at the USC Price School of Public Policy. I was ready to take my career to the next level,” he explained.

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