Stratford Housing Authority October 24th Zoom Meeting
Senior Housing Financials and Ella Grasso Facility
The Stratford Housing Authority Opens wait list for Senior Housing November 7th, 8th and 9th, with the Section 8 wait list expected to open in early 2023, however, no dates have been selected yet.
The Authority applied for and received an Emergency Safety & Security Grant in the amount of $250,000. This money will be used to replace outdoor lighting and install security lighting at our federal family development.
Lucia Smith, Stratford Finance Director, presented the Management Plan for MR-71 (Meadowview Manor) our 100 state family units. This plan includes a CHFA recommended $50.00 base rent increase, which we have not had since 2018. Our projected total revenue for MR-71 is $949,556. The anticipated total operating expenses for the year are $812,360, with a projected operating income of $137,196. The Authority proposes to apply $214,956 from its reserves toward the door key fob capital improvement project.
Smith reviewed the Management Plan for E5, 179, 201,(Shiloh Gardens and Lucas Gardens) our 113 state elderly units. This plan also includes a CHFA recommended $50.00 base rent increase. Our projected total revenue for E5, 179, 201 is $864,856. The projected total operating expenses for the year are $681,377, with a projected operating income of $183,479. The Authority proposes to apply $242,884 from its reserves toward the door key fob capital improvement project.
Paul Hoydick reported that the maintenance staff has been busy with inspection work orders and vacant units. He estimated that there may be a total of 65 vacant units this year. The staff is currently working at full capacity.
Commissioner Findlay stated that several of her elderly neighbors are having difficulty with the step at their back door leading outdoors. She asked if it was possible to have ramps installed. Hoydick stated that because of the code requirements of the ramps, they would not be allowed here because they would be covering the walkways.
Commissioner Devitt suggested placing a railing alongside the step for those that need it. Hoydick stated that grab bars can be installed outside by the back door, and have been in the past, but the tenant must first complete a reasonable accommodation request. Commissioner Devitt stated that since this is a facility for the elderly, a grab bar is a safety feature that should be installed as a matter of course, and not only with a reasonable accommodation request.
Commissioner Findlay also stated that the wording in the Project Manager’s memos that are sent to the tenants regarding their rent recertification sound threatening and make some tenants nervous. It was stated that many tenants do not abide by the submission deadlines for their paperwork and required documents, and the Project Managers are working under strict timeframes for the number of recertifications they must prepare each month. Liz Sulik replied that she will speak to the Project Managers about the letters because it is never our intention to offend or threaten our tenants.
Chairman Crudo reported that he spoke to State Representative Joe Gresko about the Ella Grasso property, who expressed to the Chairman that he is also frustrated with the length of time this process is taking. Chairman Crudo was informed that this property is deed restricted for either senior housing or veterans housing.
Commissioner Devitt asked if we have received an answer to whether or not the Authority will have to compete with private developers if Stratford gets this property. Chairman Crudo stated that he was told in a previous conversation that it would be a competitive bid process. Commissioner Devitt stated that several commissioners have been fairly emphatic that they do not want this project railroading ahead with us having to compete with private developers without having a chance to sit down and discuss this with the Mayor. She added that as long as she is on the board, she wants to emphasize that we should be informed if this will definitely be a competitive bid process, and if it is not, we need to request a seat at the table. Chairman Crudo assured Commissioner Devitt that he will make certain we know ahead of time.
Commissioner Daponte asked if we can invite State Representative Gresko to our next board meeting. She believes that one way to avoid the issue of competitive bidding is to ask the state to transfer the deed directly to the Stratford Housing Authority. This way, we would have a more compelling case than the Town of Stratford, given the state’s emphasis on affordable housing. Chairman Crudo stated that he will extend the invite to State Representative Gresko.
Commissioner Daponte asked that given the fact that we are running surpluses at the present time, and even though they are not guaranteed in the future, are we doing everything we can to serve the population.
Sulik stated that we are looking at our 5 year plan, and just received our CNAs which will be used to make the determination as to what needs to be done sooner rather than later.
Commissioner Daponte questioned if we should be trying to obtain more family units, and Liz stated that they looked at several properties; however, there is not a lot of available land in Stratford.
Chairman Crudo added that they looked at three different sites, but none of them were viable for one reason or another. Sulik explained that she wants to research the possibility of demolishing our family developments located in the flood zone, and rebuilding; but is not sure if the capacity would be greater. We continue to seek opportunities to increase our housing stock, which is a main goal of our strategic plan.