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CHR’s annual report points to turnaround

By Staff | Jun 3, 2015

The annual meeting for the Below Market Rate Housing Review Subcommittee received positive news from the Community Housing and Resources board, regarding the current standing of the program Tuesday, May 26.

All 74 units CHR offers is at full capacity, with 20 already approved individuals on the waiting list. Better news, for the first time in years, the program has opened reserve accounts.

It bodes well for a program which was barely treading water just three years ago, but a major turnaround has ensured CHR’s survival on Sanibel.

“We have a strong involved board and overall we are more cohesive,” said CHR Executive Director Kelly Collini. “We continue to have improved, fiscal health.”

When Collini came aboard CHR three years ago, the private donations fundraising goal was $75,000. Now, that number has been raised to $126,000, which is “on target.”

The budget for CHR in near $1 million, with total income reported in 2013-14 was $1,202,940. Almost half of the income is collected by rent, which numbered at $569,896.

Collini added rent collection has gone well, with a very high percentage of rent collected from the residents.

Other income sources for 2013-14, include home sales (limited equity ownership) at $174,000, utilities at $69,515 and public support at $389,529.

Donations, grants and fundraisers have been up the last two years. In 2011-12, there was a total of $335,544 raised and in 2012-13, $359,095 was raised.

“The partnerships we’ve formed within the community has been really important, because Below Market Rate was initiated by referendum by this community and that’s what people wanted,” said CHR Board President Richard Johnson. “The partnerships we’ve developed with some of the organizations here, are noteworthy.”

The biggest fundraiser CHR holds is the Mardi Gras event, which took in a total of $27,622.90. Tenant Assistance Income, which is funded with private donations, was $3,800 in 2014.

Other 2013-14 fundraising development stats include: grants at a total of $23,930; public support from four mailings was $37,644 for a grand total of $106,485.

Total expenses for 2013-14 was $876,362, which shows why CHR has been able to start reserves.

“Last year, we started to collect some reserves and it’s vital to secure dollars for future,” Collini said. “The CHR staff has done a great job with occupancy rate, which is high and rent collection rate, which is high. All this leads to strong operating support.”

As far as rent, the average for a studio apartment was $481, a one bedroom $566, a two bedroom $696 and three bedroom $914. Overall average rent for a CHR unit in 2014 was $685.

There are 117 total residents in the CHR program, including 35 children.

“Our residents are the heart and soul of our program,” Collini said. “We have great diversity and good group. More than ever, I see this change in the program, where it’s much more of a partnership between staff and residents. A large amount of residents are volunteering on the island and they are taking pride in their homes.

“We are in good fiscal health, with great families and a good board. The program is in excellent condition.”