November 21, 2018
Daniel J. Burke,
HUD, Office of Multifamily Housing
Midwest Regional Center Director,
Ralph Metcalfe Federal Building
77 West Jackson Boulevard
Chicago, IL 60604-3507
RE: Arts Apartments at Music Hall aka Richmond Village (HUD Property ID 800017160)
Dear Mr. Burke:
Affordable Housing Advocates (AHA) understands that the Arts Apartments at Music Hall, also known as Richmond Village (HUD Property ID 800017160) is under contract with potential new owners. In light of this, AHA urges the Department of Housing and Urban Development to ensure that any new owner is competent and qualified to meet the expectations of the existing Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Contract.
Affordable Housing Advocates is a coalition of housing providers, advocates and civic groups dedicated to ensuring good, safe, accessible, affordable housing in Greater Cincinnati. We understand that preserving our existing affordable housing assets, including properties with project-based subsidies like the Arts Apartments, is a key strategy in pursuit of that mission.
It is our understanding that while the Arts Apartments was being marketed, the seller’s brokers indicated repeatedly that any existing income restrictions or affordability components could easily be vacated. Any outcome that results in the loss of 83 units of assisted housing in our community is unacceptable.
As you may know, significant local data points to the deep and prevailing need for affordable housing. Some of that data includes: in Hamilton County there is a deficit of 40,000 units of housing available to households that earn 35% of the local AMI; the number of Hamilton County households in poverty has grown by 40% since 2000; for every 100 of the lowest income households in Hamilton County, there are only 28 units of housing that are both affordable and available; and 75% of homeless families seeking emergency shelter are turned away because the family shelters are full.
Given the data and what we all know anecdotally, we simply cannot afford to lose 83 units of rent subsidized affordable housing. It is our firm belief that HUD should only approve transfer of the HAP contract to a competent and qualified buyer, ideally one with experience owning and managing HUD assisted or other affordable housing.
Today we strongly urge HUD to work with local officials and advocates to make every effort to preserve the existing HUD assisted affordable units at the Arts Apartments at Music Hall.
Board President AHA
cc: Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, Cincinnati City Council