By Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor
Torrington, Conn.—Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) and Mercy Loan Fund (MLF) have partnered to keep Torringford West Apartments an affordable property. Currently it is a 79-unit, all one-bedroom affordable housing residence for the elderly in Torrington, Conn., and according to the partners, a $2.9 million loan from MLF will allow POAH to maintain the physical asset of the property and ensure its long-term affordability.
Amy Anthony, president of POAH, called the terms of the financing “favorable” in a statement, but didn’t specify them. POAH has owned Torringford West Apartments, which were originally built in 1983, since it purchased the property in 2005. Had POAH not bought it, the organization says, the previous owners might have decided to convert the property to market rates that would have been unaffordable to fixed-income seniors.
The three-story, wood-frame property includes a large community room and kitchen, patios on the ground floor and landscaped grounds. Torringford West’s location in a quiet neighborhood that’s nevertheless accessible to downtown Torrington would have also helped it make suitable for conversion into a market-rate property.
Hundreds of developments like Torringford West were built in every state decades ago, using mortgages subsidized by the federal government. In return for lower interest rates, the private owners of these properties agreed to keep rents affordable for the duration of the mortgage period—and many of these mortgages are now paid in full, or are about to be.
The demand for affordable properties in the area is clear. Torringford West has historically maintained a two-year waiting list of income-eligible seniors. Most of the current residents survive on income from Social Security checks or other small monthly revenue amounts, with an average annual income of about $16,000. Torringford West also features various resident services to help residents continue to live independently in their apartments.
POAH, based in Boston, is a nonprofit that seeks, as its name states, to preserve affordable housing resources throughout the United States through creative financial restructurings, physical rehabilitation or redevelopment and long-term management. POAH owns almost 6,800 apartments in nine states and the District of Columbia. Mercy Loan Fund provides financing to nonprofit organizations to build or preserve affordable housing, and has made over 400 loans totaling $206 million since 1985.