Progress comes at a cost though, as some residents will have to go
A senior living community in Hopkinsville is about to be refurnished with new floors, paint and appliances thanks to a multimillion dollar tax credit, but not every resident there is welcoming the move.
That’s because a requirement tied to the funds will effectively alter the income threshold for living at the Friendship House of Hopkinsville, forcing more than a half dozen residents there to find new homes.
The Friendship House was recently awarded $3.46 million to fund renovations of all apartment units, common areas, mechanical systems and building exteriors. The work is set to begin next month and should be complete by December, according to a news release.
The Friendship House is a 61-unit apartment complex for older adults on the campus of Christian Care Communities on North Drive. The facility is getting the credit through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program administered by the Kentucky Housing Corporation.
Director of Housing Bruce Smiley said Thursday that the money is much needed, as the facility hasn’t been renovated since it opened in the early 1980s, but it does come at a steep personal cost for some of his residents.
As part of the requirements to receive the renovation funding, Christian Care Communities will have to abide by guidelines set by the IRS and enter into a partnership with Homeland Inc. and the Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing. Homeland Inc. is a company based out of Leitchfield that provides property management services to those in the rental housing industry.
“That was one of the big concerns when we did decide to go this way,” Smiley explained of the new requirements. “We didn’t realize that we were going to have quite this many affected, but we have been working with those, trying to find the ones that are not going to qualify to live here find suitable housing somewhere else.”
Smiley conceded there are eight residents at Friendship House that he knows of who will have to relocate, as their income or assets put them above the new requirement for living there.
While Christian Care Communities was a federally subsidized property to begin with, Smiley said, the IRS requirements mandated they lower their income threshold for living at the Friendship House. Smiley wasn’t happy about the change, but he said it was the only way to get the facilities at Friendship House back up to date.
“That is the drawback,” Smiley said. “Going with this tax-funded credit was about the only way we could do that.”
The release also states that the project will “create positive economic impact through local job creation” and Smiley said the work will be done by Walbuck Construction, also of Leitchfield.
Among those who have to find a new home, though, are the 96-year-old parents of Ted Stamper.
“This fund is directly linked to income restrictions,” Stamper read from the notice they received March 7.
Stamper doesn’t live in Hopkinsville, and he said that knowing that his parents were well cared for was a comfort to him, and he wishes they didn’t have to move.
Stamper described the news of their impending relocation as “difficult,” and said he was concerned that another facility might not offer his parents the kind of convenience and services that Friendship House has provided.
Stamper said his parents were fed every day, a part of a community and if they ever needed help, there was always someone at the facility to lend a hand.
“In my opinion, the people that have been here forever should be grandfathered,” Stamper said. “But, that’s not the case.”
When asked if his parents had found another place to live yet, he said they had not. So far, Smiley said they have been able to relocate three of the residents in some of the facility’s garden homes.
“We’re still looking,” Stamper said of his parents, adding that their time at the Friendship House has “been a wonderful experience” for them and for him.
“It’s just awful they have to leave,” he said.