POAH Preservation of Affordable Housing
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 22, 2003
Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH)
POAH RECEIVES $3 MILLION INVESTMENT FROM JOHN D. AND CATHERINE T. MACARTHUR FOUNDATION
Funding is Part of 10-Year, $50-Million National Affordable Housing Initiative
BOSTON, MA – Preservation of Affordable Housing, Inc. (POAH), a national non-profit organization based in Boston, will be able to more than double its portfolio of affordable housing units thanks to a $3 million grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The Chicago-based MacArthur Foundation has launched a 10-year, $50-million effort to support and preservation of affordable housing. The money will be used by POAH and other recipients to acquire, refinance, and renovate rental housing that might otherwise become too expensive or run-down to remain available to low- and moderate-income households. Expressing her “profound gratitude for this generous support,” Amy S. Anthony , Executive Director and President of POAH and former Secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Communities and Development, said the MacArthur investment “will allow us to take major steps to advance our housing preservation objectives.” She added, “POAH has taken on a special role in affordable housing. Our primary mission is to acquire and renovate affordable housing units that are at risk of being lost to the public that needs them. We face the very real danger in this nation that many of the precious few affordable apartments that now exist will disappear unless we act to save them.”
“ Massachusetts is no exception, Ms. Anthony noted. “While the Commonwealth urgently needs new affordable housing, policymakers too often forget that the preservation of existing low and moderate income units is by no means guaranteed.” She pointed to POAH's acquisition earlier this year of the 283-unit Salem Heights Apartments, where the property had been in danger of being converted to high-market-rent apartments. “Had we not been able to step in, with the help of the City of Salem , market forces would have priced those units beyond the reach of their existing tenants.” “Preservation and affordability must be cornerstones of sound housing policy,” Anthony continued. “If we rely only on new production and ignore existing affordable units, we may find ourselves always taking one step back for each step forward.” Ms. Anthony concluded, “Stepping in to take over such properties is what we do at POAH. Not only will the MacArthur funds allow us to acquire additional properties, it will allow us to develop an organizational structure that will sustain affordable housing units for the people who need them over the long term.”
“Virtually all of us, at one time or another have relied on rental housing, and for millions of people, affordable housing is a necessity,” said Jonathan F. Fanton, president of the Foundation. “Through this initiative, the Foundation expects to directly support the preservation of 100,000 existing affordable rental units in urban, suburban, and rural markets; encourage additional preservation investments by public and private sector sources; and stimulate public policies that give a new generation of owners the motivation and means to preserve at least one million affordable rental units in the decade ahead."
POAH currently owns or manages more than 2,500 affordable rental units in three states. The Foundation envisions that number expanding to 7,000 or more units in 10 or more states in the Eastern United States. One of the nation's foremost experts in housing finance and policy, Ms. Anthony has been active in the industry for more than 30 years. Preservation of Affordable Housing, Inc. acquires, financially restructures, physically rehabilitates, and manages subsidized housing developments, particularly “at risk” properties, as a long-term owner.
Originally part of the National Equity Fund (NEF), it was spun off as an independent entity in 2001. In addition to Salem Heights, POAH's property portfolio includes: Country Club Village, Springfield, MO (98 units); Deerfield Village, Carthage, MO (60 units), Glenwood Manor, Springfield, MO (119 units); Hawthorne Place Apartments, Independence, MO (745 units); Houston Plaza, Adrian, MO (34 units); Maplewood Manor, Web City, MO (66 units); Monroe Estates, Lebanon, MO (74 units); Oakland Park Tower, Troy, MI (297 units); and Belle Maison, Detroit, MI (280 units).