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CHR acquires truck; last LEO unit nears closing

By Staff | Aug 22, 2013

JIM LINETTE CHR is ready to set a closing date on its one remaining Limited Equity Ownership unit at 1491 Center Street. With two candidates interested in the unit, and awaiting a bank mortgage decision, CHR hopes to have the deal closed soon.

Less than a month after approving up to $6,000 be spent to purchase a service vehicle for use by the maintenance supervisor, Community Housing & Resources board of directors president Richard Johnson reported that vehicle has been acquired at a much lower cost.

“It’s a surplus (city) vehicle with quite a bit of rust damage to the bed from putting the police boat in and out of the water,” said Johnson. “A city employee read the story in the newspaper of our last meeting, put two-and-two together with the surplus vehicle and we have our service vehicle.”

Johnson went on to tell the board that a mechanic looked over the very low mileage Ford F-150 pickup and resourced for replacement parts.

“With parts and labor it will cost us about $2,500, much less than the $6,000 we were willing to spend,” said Johnson. “I’ve got the paperwork right here for licensing, titling and insurance ready to go.”

CHR’s maintenance supervisor had been using his personal vehicle for the past several years, resulting in considerable wear and tear. The executive committee decided it was time, fair and reasonable for CHR to provide a vehicle for use on the island and the occasional trip to the mainland.

Johnson also introduced John Lemmon to the board as a potential candidate as the 13th board member. Lemmon, who sat in on Monday’s monthly meeting, brings a marketing background and an interest in applying it to benefit CHR’s work in the community. The board, particularly the development committee, is interested in establishing a marketing committee to form a branding strategy aimed at its annual community solicitations.

The non-profit’s Limited Equity Ownership (LEO) program has been working hard in recent months to close a deal on its final available housing unit at 1491 Center Street. Two solid candidates are waiting for a bank’s mortgage acceptance, according to LEO committee chair Ray Pavelka.

“We are waiting on one piece of paper from the bank,” Pavelka said. “I hoped to hear today before this meeting, but it did not happen. Hopefully tomorrow, so that by Aug. 27 we can set the closing date. If that fails we have a backup candidate and we can get it done certainly by the end of the year.”

On a somber note, the board was informed that one LEO owner had passed away thereby making that low-income unit available.

“We are obligated to buy back that unit within 90 days,” said Pavelka. “The equity will go to the estate and we can then resell it to another candidate.”

Executive director Kelly Collini reported that there are currently eight vacant rental units available to applicants on the waiting list with the status of three to five additional applicants very close to approval for the waiting list.

Financially, CHR is operating “in the black” despite not achieving 100 percent rental collection for July, including renters moving out of three units still owing rent, according to board treasurer Melissa Rice.

The board also poured over the first draft of its 2014 budget figures. Income estimates were based on actual rent figures for the past 10 months and taking into consideration a 5 percent vacancy rate. Collini pointed out higher goals are established for public support through special events like the Mardi Gras, golf tournament, grants and rent assistance donations to a total of $101,000.

The board also authorized securing a local firm to make a claim on behalf of CHR against British Petroleum for losses incurred from the Gulf oil spill in Zone A provided no legal fees are incurred. The board is claiming that CHR renters suffered pay reductions and lost jobs due to the BP spill, ultimately costing CHR collectible rent.