Volunteer Organization Produces Another Affordable Seniors Housing Property in Alabama
AHEPA 310 Housing, an organization comprised of volunteers, has opened the doors of AHEPA 310-XII Apartments, marking the volunteer organization's development of a dozen apartment communities to accommodate low-income seniors.
By Barbra Murray, Contributing Writer
Daphne, Ala.—AHEPA 310 Housing, an organization comprised of volunteers, has opened the doors of AHEPA 310-XII Apartments in Daphne, Ala., marking the volunteer organization’s development of a full one dozen apartment communities to accommodate low-income seniors in metropolitan Mobile, through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 202 program.
Developed at a cost of just over $5.3 million, AHEPA 310-XII sits less than 15 miles southeast of Mobile at 1409 Pollard Rd. and adds 39 new units to the growing market of elderly in need of affordable housing in the area. Despite being built with a relatively low budget, AHEPA 310-XII is not your great-grandfather’s seniors housing community; the property offers all the amenities that modern-day seniors desire. Residents can avail themselves of offerings ranging from a community activity room to a computer and technology room to an exercise facility. “When we first started in 1983, we didn’t know then how important amenities are to making seniors’ lives better,” Nick Stratas, president of AHEPA National Housing Corp. and AHEPA 310, tells MHN. “Seniors can feel really comfortable living here. The design of the building is what’s best for seniors.”
AHEPA 310 has had a successful 28 years of creating housing under HUD’s Section 202 program, but the path to realization for these projects has not grown easier. The issue of money is, of course, of increasing concern. “There are such limited funds for the Section 202 program; the past year it had 37 units for the State of Alabama and 2,500 for the entire country,” Elmer Smith, president of E.E. Smith Co. and longtime consultant for AHEPA National Housing Corp., says, speaking to MHN. “This is like putting a band-aid on somebody who just had a leg amputated.”
HUD assistance, while certainly welcomed, is not nearly enough to accommodate the mushrooming need for low-income housing for seniors. And the funds have far less impact today than they did yesterday. “Every year, we’re just left with the same amount of money,” Stratas notes. “It’s only enough to build 37 units; before, we could build 50. The first project we funded in 1983 was approximately $1.8 million for 64 units. The last time we did a project of 50 units was in 2001.”
However, AHEPA 310 is determined to make a little money go a very long way. The organization is in the process of closing a $4 million loan and a $293,000 pre-development grant for its next project, AHEPA 310-XIII Apartments in Citronelle. “All of our seniors housing communities are full and have waiting lists, and the one in Citronelle will fill up really fast,” says Stratas. “We’re hoping to break ground within the next 30 days.” Additionally, the non-profit is also working on completing two new private FHA-insured loans for the refinancing of AHEPA 310-III and AHEPA 310-IV Apartments, two 50-unit properties located in Fairhope and Saraland, respectively. The savings from the refinancings will total roughly $836,000, which AHEPA 310 will utilize to bring the older properties into the 21st Century through upgrades.
“While Washington talks, AHEPA 310 works,” Smith attests. “They’re paying the government back with new private funding; they’re reducing the interest rate on their loans; they’re modernizing properties, which will reduce energy costs and provide 35 more years of these residences being available to seniors. So if there is anything else AHEPA 310 can do to help, just call.”