The Iowa Finance Authority on Wednesday awarded housing tax credits to Spencer Manor, a 52 apartment independent senior living community in Spencer, Iowa. Following this award, Community Housing Initiatives (CHI), a Spencer-based nonprofit that acquired the property in 2015 will complete a major renovation there.
Work at Spencer Manor will begin next year after CHI completes similar ongoing work at Sunset Apartments located a few blocks away. Both of these properties serve seniors (Spencer Manor can also serve younger people with disabilities) and feature site-based rental assistance, meaning the rent residents pay is dependent on their income.
"The Spencer Manor renovation is a second huge win for Spencer after we were funded in a similar way to renovate Sunset Apartments two years ago, and it's incredible to be able to refresh these properties basically back to back," said Matt Hauge, CHI's Director of Marketing and Communications.
"What this means is more of our neighbors have a safe, secure place to live in their later years. Everyone can take pride in that," he said
Rental assistance makes living at Spencer Manor and Sunset Apartments affordable to extremely low income households, which is very important because Iowa has a severe shortage of housing affordable to people in this group whose household income is at or below $24,600 year.
Among extremely low income households in Iowa, housing frequently eats up more than half the family budget, leaving few resources to cover medical expenses or other emergencies. In Iowa, about 22,600 senior households and 18,100 households with a person with a disability are extremely low income according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
"We need more apartments that are affordable for our seniors, but we also have to keep what we've got. Spencer Manor was built in 1977 and the first part of Sunset Apartments was built in 1966, so both have built up needs we want to address," Hauge said.
For Spencer Manor, the Iowa Finance Authority awarded $507,104 in tax credits to the property each year for ten years. Community Housing Initiatives will work with investors to sell those tax credits, raising money to complete the renovation. Work at the property is expected to begin early in 2020.
"What you'll see us do at Spencer Manor is similar to what we have done at Sunset Apartments, which is improve accessibility at the property, address some health and safety needs, and add some new features to make seniors' lives easier like laundry in the apartment," Hauge said.
At Sunset Apartments, Hauge added, newly renovated apartments are already for lease with information available at www.sunsetspencer.com or by calling Community Housing Initiatives' Spencer office at 712-262-5965. Community Housing Initiatives is an equal housing opportunity provider and its communities are accessible to people with disabilities.