HUDSON—The Hudson Housing Authority (HHA), which runs the income-restricted Bliss apartments in Hudson, voted on April 14 to go into debt. The loan will be for $950,000 for 36 months from the Manufacturers and Traders Trust Company (M & T).
The money will be used to “upgrade and/or repair” the residential buildings. The HHA Board of Commissioners has determined that the physical condition of the buildings is “below optimal standards and a substantial renovation… is desirable,” according to the board’s resolution supporting the loan.
The buildings consist of Bliss Tower and three low-rise buildings on the same grounds. Bliss Tower has 120 units, and the low-rises together have 15 units, for a total of 135 units. The loan will be a precursor to a larger, longer-term loan that could be used to pay for construction.
The HHA converted its official status to a RAD (Rental Assistance Demonstration) early last year. As a RAD, it can take out loans from the private sector.
The process of getting the loan includes transferring the HHA’s “real property to a new, wholly owned subsidiary: 41 North Second Street Housing Development Fund Company, Inc. (HDFC).” The housing authority board will appoint the new company’s board of directors.
The mission of the HHA is “to continuously improve, whenever feasible, the quality of life among its residents.”
The HHA will use the loan to fix, upgrade and, when necessary, replace elevators, roofing, and apartments, HHA Executive Director Tim Mattice has said. It will also replenish the operating funds that have been used to start these activities.
Mr. Mattice announced that the HHA has already rented out 8 of 31 apartments that had been empty. Six recently-vacated apartments now have new tenants. Two apartments that were off-line have been rehabilitated using existing operating funds, put on line and rented. That leaves 23 units still “offline” and will remain uninhabited pending rehabilitation.
‘It’s so hard to have those three-, four-, and five-bedroom units just sitting there.”
Commissioner Rebecca Borrer
Hudson Housing Authority
The eight newly rented apartments are all in Bliss Tower. Of the 23 remaining, 17 are in Bliss Tower and six are in the low rises.
Of the 17 in Bliss, four “should be leased on or before May 1,” Mr. Mattice said. He added that “we’re putting in a bid” for contractors to fix the remaining 13 units.
Six units in the low rises will remain offline while the HHA determines how to “rebuild” the buildings. These six contain some of the HHA’s largest family apartments.
“It’s so hard to have those three-, four-, and five-bedroom units just sitting there,” said HHA Commissioner Rebecca Borrer. But rehabilitating them would require expensive work.
The new debt will be a bridge loan to tide the HHA over while it applies for a larger, longer-term loan. The larger loan would reliably support the HHA’s maintenance and repair needs and finance more construction and development on HHA land.
Construction and development could include upgrading and rebuilding current buildings, erecting new residential buildings and constructing facilities for public and commercial tenants.
Decisions about this development will help the HHA write its next Five Year Plan, which is due to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development this year.
The housing authority is surveying tenants to find out what they would like the development to result in. The HHA Board is also reaching out to tenants and encouraging in-person meetings.
Hilary Hillman of the Hudson Conservation Advisory Board offered to research the environmental effects of proposed construction. “It’s important that it be designed with the environment in mind,” she said. For example, she suggested planting trees in parking lots to mitigate the stormwater run-off and the heat that cars generate.
Also on April 14:
· Commissioner Marie Balle was named HHA treasurer, after Commissioner Rebecca Wolff decided to relinquish that position
· In-person HHA Board meetings have resumed, although people will still have the option of participating by Zoom. Meetings are held in the Bliss Tower community room Wednesdays at 6.m.
The next full board meeting will take place May 12.