Posts Tagged ‘Millennia Housing Management’

Al Lawson talks HUD reform at Jacksonville’s Eureka Garden

Monday, February 20th, 2017

U.S. Rep. Al Lawson visited Eureka Garden in Jacksonville on Presidents’ Day, and expressed optimism for the building’s current ownership, while suggesting that more comprehensive reform of HUD is needed.
Speaking to tenants in the 400-unit Section 8 complex’s community center, Rep. Lawson addressed the need for federal help allowing tenants to “make a different quality of life,” by making “funding available.”
The congressman will have an important ally across the aisle and in the Senate in this regard.
Lawson discussed a “sitdown” with an old friend: Sen. Marco Rubio, who has been an advocate of HUD reform for over a year, in reaction to the dilapidation at Eureka Garden and other properties once owned by Global Ministries Foundation.
Lawson asserted that Rubio, who said on many occasions that GMF had a “slumlord” approach to property ownership, committed to continue working on HUD reform.
“We want to make sure that they take care of residents,” Lawson said, and “make sure HUD has proper oversight” by “working jointly with HUD to make some changes.”
Among those changes: ensuring that federal dollars go into building maintenance, not into the pockets of ownership — something that was not the case in the past with GMF properties.
“It will take time,” Lawson added, “but we have made the commitment.”
Lawson also joins Rubio in believing that GMF should be held accountable for the conditions they allowed to happen at the Jacksonville apartment complex, though the mechanisms for that accountability are unclear.
Lawson also intends to engage the Donald Trump administration in his quest, vowing to get HUD Secretary Ben Carson to “come down and take a look.”
The Congressman’s approach to the residents of Eureka was jovial and joke-filled.
At one point, Lawson quipped that “every time I get a paycheck, I think about you.”
And at a couple of points, Lawson noted that apartments at

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Sale of Jacksonville HUD properties making progress, says mayor’s office

Friday, October 14th, 2016

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and senior staffers had another meeting this week with the potential buyer for some of the city’s most beleaguered HUD properties, and it went well, says the mayor’s office.
In September, Curry confirmed the interest of Millennia Housing Management of Cleveland, Ohio, —which has specialized in the low-income housing market for over two decades — in acquiring properties owned by Global Ministries Foundation.
Those properties had, especially in the last year, gotten national scrutiny for being in disrepair, with issues ranging from property-wide gas leaks to mold infestations and structural damage that compromised safety.
Curry’s office says the Thursday meeting was productive, and it seems the deal is moving toward completion.
Millennia, we are told via answers provided by Chief of Staff Kerri Stewart, is “finalizing purchase and sale agreement now with hopes to be in due diligence period soon.”
The due diligence period allows the potential buyer to do a final review of the portfolio of properties it is acquiring.
One issue with GMF’s ownership of properties such as Eureka Garden, Washington Heights, and Cleveland Arms was the insufficient capital committed to rehab; roughly $3,000 a unit, for rental apartments approaching half a century old.
Will Millennia commit to invest meaningfully in facility rehab?
Curry’s team is confident: “No commitments made, however, their track record speaks to the kind of rehab they perform.”
Indeed, Millennia has pledged significant resources to facility rehabilitation in the past, as a 2014 tax incentive application makes clear.
In acquiring a 160-unit Section 8 complex in upstate New York, the company pledged to spend $8.8 million on the “soft costs” of renovation. Pro-rated, this comes out to $55,000 a unit, as the company vowed to address a “multitude of capital needs” for the apartments, including kitchen and bathroom renovation and installing new windows.
There are still hurdles to overcome: in addition to the due diligence period, the deal,

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Lenny Curry discusses potential sale of Eureka Garden, other HUD complexes

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry was not necessarily identified with addressing issues with HUD properties in his campaign for mayor last year.
However, the man called a “governance mayor” by his head spokesperson, got into office and quickly found conditions at HUD properties — specifically, those involving Global Ministries Foundation — among the issues most in need of addressing.
GMF entered the Jacksonville market under the previous mayoral administration, under circumstances that seemed questionable at the time to members of the Jacksonville Housing Finance Authority.
Mayor Alvin Brown “bypassed the normal approval process through the city council and went directly to the mayor for approval” for financing, said Tripp Gulliford of the JHFA.
GMF ended up buying properties that included Washington Heights and Eureka Garden, and did not devote sufficient resources to renovate the mid-20th century multi-unit developments.
In fact, $3,000 a unit was all GMF — a putative nonprofit run by a minister and his family that shifted over nine million dollars from its nonprofit housing arm to its religious affiliate — had allocated for remediation of problems that had accumulated over decades.
HUD admitted its culpability in selling the properties to GMF. And part of the reason why was the concerted effort of city officials, such as Curry and Councilman Garrett Dennis, as well Sen. Marco Rubio. In the wake of his failed run for president, Rubio seemed to find a renewed purpose in calling attention to the federally subsidized squalor at GMF complexes in Jacksonville and elsewhere.
Rubio brought the problems found in these complexes to the floor of the United States Senate, pointing out the multi-state nature of the decay that GMF facilitated. From complexes in Memphis, where HUD pulled funding and destabilized the municipal housing bond market, to rodents and sewage in an Atlanta complex, to the neglect in Jacksonville, Sen. Rubio stayed on the task.
When Florida Politics covered Rubio at Eureka Garden, he was combative,

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