Rents at county senior housing apartments to increase 3 percent

Contributing Writer

Rents at Anoka County Housing Redevelopment Authority’s four senior housing apartment buildings will increase 3 percent in 2018.

Without objection, the HRA, which comprises the seven members of the Anoka County Board, approved the 2018 senior housing budget and rent increases at its meeting June 27.

The four senior housing apartments are The Willows of Ham Lake (49 units), Savannah Oaks in Ramsey (50 units), Chauncey Barett Gardens in Centerville (47 units) and The Oaks of Lake George in Oak Grove (52 units).

According to Karen Skepper, HRA executive director, each year the county works with Great Lakes Management, which operates the senior housing buildings for the county, and Ehlers, the county’s financial consultant, to put in place a budget for each property and recommend rents.

Key issues considered include rent increases based on current market conditions, striking a balance between affordability and financial self-sufficiency, cash flow and capital improvement budgets, Skepper told the HRA.

Three of the four properties were constructed through county general obligation revenue bonds, while The Willows in Ham Lake project was financed by city general obligation revenue bonds, but the HRA has pledged all or a portion of the levy it collects from its respective cities to fund project shortfalls, should they occur, according to Jessica Cook of Ehlers.

The goals of the annual budgeting process have been affordability and self-sufficiency for each project, which offers independent senior housing to low- and moderate-income seniors, with priority given to Anoka County residents, Cook wrote in a report to the HRA.

However, the senior housing buildings range in age from 13 to 22 years and are facing the need for increased capital improvements, she wrote.

Cook recommended “small but steady rent increases” that will compound over time to “generate stable long-term revenue and will also provide predictability for seniors and their families.”

County Commissioner Scott Schulte, who chairs the HRA, said he was “comfortable with the 3 percent rent increase.”

It’s fiscally responsible to make sure residents are not facing a 6 to 8 percent rent increase in the following year, according to Schulte.

“All the buildings are fully occupied and there are waiting lists,” Schulte said.