Preserving the Mission
There are many challenges that come with running a non-profit organization; providing needed services to the people you serve, dealing with the mountains of regulations that affect your day-to-day operations, and making sure that your communities are maintained at a high standard are just some of the things we expect our frontline managers to deal with on a daily basis.
What sometimes isn’t as obvious is the work done behind the scenes (in our National Headquarters and Regional Offices) to support the managers and preserve RHF’s mission.
For a long time, RHF’s initial focus was providing affordable housing for older adults, working with government agencies to build subsidized housing for seniors and investing in retirement communities offering various levels of care.
In more recent years, that focus has expanded to include affordable housing for people with disabilities and economically disadvantaged families.
With this focus has come the responsibility of advocating - for the people we serve and the programs we provide - to elected officials in the 24 states we have communities in and at the national level.
While we make our residents and staff aware of pending legislative issues that can affect them and who they need to contact to let their voices be heard - what isn’t necessarily as obvious is the thousands of hours that staff spends working with various national organizations who then propose legislation that will help us do the work we do.
On June 19, 2009 Dr. Joseph joined nine other witnesses to present his views on new preservation legislation being introduced to the House by Finance Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D - MA). He testified on behalf of the Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF) and as an active and longtime member of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA).
This legislation will focus on preserving the nation’s existing stock of federally-assisted affordable, multifamily rental housing and protecting low income residents from displacement.
This is not the first time that Dr. Joseph has been asked to testify before Congress. He has been advocating affordable housing issues in front of various legislative bodies for more than 30 years.
On October 12, 2008 at its national conference in Philadelphia, Dr. Joseph received AAHSA’s Award of Honor for his work throughout the years.
The Award of Honor, AAHSA’s highest award, is presented to a distinguished individual who has provided outstanding leadership to the national association and whose exemplary service and commitment to quality have advanced both the association and the aging-services field.
A Growing Need
Hand in hand with the mortgage crisis stories are news stories about the need for affordable housing in most communities throughout the country.
Everyone agrees that the need for affordable housing is growing for seniors on fixed incomes, working families struggling to make ends meet, and people with disabilities who need housing that can accommodate their needs.
Finding funding for that need has become more and more difficult. Nonprofit organizatons have had to find new and creative ways to acquire the necessary funding to help them expand their mission and serve the people who need them.
RHF staff is doing just that - working with various agencies, financial institutions and private organizations to find new sources of funding for this important work.
Providing for the Future
Two new RHF communities, an additional $15.2 million in new construction starts resulting in 113 additional units of affordable senior housing, are currently being built in California and Virginia - with the last community scheduled to be open in the Spring of 2011.
Preserving the mission includes being good stewards of the resources we have. More than $25 million has been spent on repairing and renovating our communities over the past two years.
It is also crucial that we look at our older stock of communities and determine what needs to be done to insure that they will be able to provide quality, affordable housing for the people we serve for decades to come.
While a significant percentage of the repairs were handled by on-site staff at the community level, large capital improvements were supervised by Project Managers from the national office.
Two existing RHF communities have just completed major rehabbing projects. MacArthur Park Tower in Los Angeles (183 units of affordable senior housing) had $9.6 million in renovations and Harbor Tower in San Pedro, California (180 units of affordable senior housing) had $9 million in renovations.
More than 15 older communities throughout the country are currently in the preliminary stages of determining what financing is needed to provide the funding necessary for rehabbing while still allowing the community to remain affordable for years to come.
The Largest Undertaking of its Kind
RHF just completed a $96 million refinancing of Angelus Plaza, the largest affordable housing community for seniors in the nation. More than $43 million is being spent on refurbishing the 1,093 units in the Angelus Plaza complex and approximately $55 million deposited into a housing trust fund.
“This project is the largest undertaking of its kind and will help us in continuing our mission of providing affordable housing,” Dr. Joseph states. “This transaction is designed to ensure quality affordable housing and services for seniors at Angelus Plaza for the next 55 years.”
Half of the money in the housing trust fund, or approximately $27.5 million, is slated for new construction, preservation of affordable housing, and the purchase of land for sale for moderate income housing in Los Angeles. With some of those funds, RHF is planning to develop recently acquired sites in Los Angeles for 160 units of affordable senior housing and 111 units of affordable family housing.
The other half of the funds will be available to RHF for funding affordable housing communities across the nation.