Chester Housing Authority takes control of two sites from private firm

Delaware County Times
March 26, 2018

Chester Housing Authority takes control of two sites from private firm

CHESTER >> Residents of Wellington Ridge and Chatham Senior Village can look forward to their properties getting caught up on deferred maintenance now that the Chester Housing Authority (CHA) has come in.

Pennrose Properties had been managing the properties since they opened more than 15 years ago, but ceded that responsibility to CHA on Jan. 3. Since then, CHA has been assessing short-term and long-term improvements that need to be made to improve the satisfaction and safety of the residents.

One of the first issues addressed at Wellington Ridge was the elevators. The elevators have been regularly failing in the three-story senior building, so CHA changed service companies.

“If you’re a senior and you live in a three-story building you’re dependent on an elevator,” said CHA Executive Director Steven A. Fischer. “You assume the elevators will be working all the time, so we needed to immediately address this issue.”

“We will also make some cosmetic improvements, which we believe residents will appreciate,” said Fischer. “People who live at our sites know we pay attention to detail, and now these new residents will also experience that same level of attention.”

Another area where residents will notice an improvement is in security. They will now have direct access to CHA Police around the clock. That change is already going over very well.

In addition to the short-term repairs and adjustments, CHA is reviewing the long-term capital needs for all the buildings. The agency’s practice is to stay ahead of the maintenance game so small issues don’t turn into larger ones.

Wellington Ridge and Chatham Senior Village sites were rebuilt during an era when the federal government was funding the replacement of aging and obsolete public housing “projects” as part of the federal HOPE VI Program. Originally known as the Urban Revitalization Demonstration (URD), it was developed and approved in late 1992 as a result of recommendations by the National Commission on Severely Distressed Public Housing, which was charged with proposing a National Action Plan to eradicate severely distressed public housing.

In many cases, the companies that developed new properties for housing authorities were offered the opportunity to manage them, as Pennrose Properties did. There were three HOPE VI rebuilds in Chester.

“When HOPE VI rebuilds were happening, CHA was under court receivership, and the current CHA administration was not yet completely in place,” Fischer said. “It’s rewarding to see how far the agency has come in these 15 years that we can now manage these properties and help improve even more residents’ lives”

Wellington Ridge is located at 300 W. 13th St. and includes 110 homes. The development is located adjacent to the Chester Charter School for the Arts, which was built last year on land formerly owned by CHA. The housing authority sold the 12.3 acre parcel so that the school and a new Dollar General store could be built on what is now a beautiful campus. The upgrades are helping to substantially revitalize Chester’s west end.

Chatham Senior Village is located at 1701 Edwards St. and features 40 apartments.

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