Three years, more than $3 million dollars and many hours of hard work and dedication have ensured that Charter Oaks Townhomes will remain affordable for years to come.
The groups involved in the rehabilitation of the complex celebrated their accomplishments Wednesday afternoon and talked about the importance of affordable housing in the area. Charter Oaks is a 100 percent Section 8 housing block that makes it possible for low-income persons and families to have a safe place to stay.
MN Brokerage Group owner Harold Teasdale said the project began three years ago when someone asked him if he knew of anyone interested in a Section 8 housing project in Stillwater.
“I only live a few miles down the road, so I said yes, we were interested,” Teasdale said.
His group purchased the property and started the project.
“It was a three-year-long process from acquiring it to completion of the rehab, and it takes a lot of time to get tax credits awarded from the state. It’s very competitive and once we got the tax funding and the credit it only took 6 months to get it all done,” said Kate Mackin of MN Brokerage Group, which purchased the complex. “You have to realize that we must be able to preserve affordable housing. When previous owners decide to sell and when it’s sold, the new owners can choose to have rent at the market rate. When a group comes in like we did, we can keep it affordable. We worked with the city and state to make sure that it continues going forward.”
Charter Oaks operates under Section 8 with tenants paying 30 percent of their gross income to rent. The project targets households from 30 percent up to 60 percent of area median income levels. It’s 100 percent occupied and has a substantial waiting list. Four units in the building have been designated for long-term homeless and the complex is contracting with Lutheran Social Services to provide supportive services to this population. Long-term homeless are those households lacking a permanent place to live continuously for a year or more, or at least four times in the past three years.
The rehab of the townhomes involved a lot of infrastrucutre work, siding, roof, windows, ventilation and about a 35 percent redo of domestic heat or water, and replaced 25 percent of appliances. Asphalt work as well as landscaping in the playground area are the next phase in the project.
It’s been a long road but a relief for those who’ve worked on the project.
“What’s my reaction besides relief, you mean?” asked Tom Cooper, a Partner of MN Brokerage Co.. “It’s great for us to get a project done and it took a lot of time and effort but our goal is to keep safe and affordable housing available for people and we accomplished that here.”
Stillwater Mayor Ken Harycki made a short speech at the celebration saying the project was great for the community.
“It’s an important investment in the community for the future so it can be there for the next generation coming through and creates opportunities for citizens and kids my kids age to move into their first place or have a place to go to later in life.” he said.
When it comes to the issue of affordable housing, Commissioner of Minnesota Housing Resources Mary Tingerthal said both Democrats And Republicans are concerned and added that she was happy to help with the project.
“Congratulations on accomplishing this. I can’t tell you enough what a difference it makes for the citizens of Minnesota,” she said.
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