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Independence City Leaders Help Celebrate Completion of $30-million Hawthorne Place Renovations

October 5, 2023

Hawthorne resident Keandra Robinson cuts the ribbon to celebrate the renovation of Hawthorne Place Apartments in Independence, MO.  Joining her for the ceremony are Independence Mayor Rory Rowland, City Manager Zack Walker, Aaron Gornstein, Sevara Davis, Josh Barrett, Jennifer Manulelua with CSL, and Roanoke Construction’s Kevin Buchek and Mike Duffy.

INDEPENDENCE, MO – October 4th, 2023 – Mayor Rory Rowland and City Manager Zach Walker joined the nonprofit Preservation of Affordable Housing, Community Services League, and construction partners to celebrate the completion of a $30 million renovation project at Hawthorne Place Apartments.

Built in 1967, Hawthorne Place is among the state’s largest affordable housing communities providing 745 affordable apartment homes for low and moderate-income families.

In 2020, POAH applied for and received an allocation of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) from Missouri Housing Development Commission and tax-exempt bonds from the Independence Industrial Development Authority to re-syndicate the property and finance a major rehabilitation. POAH's $30 million ($40,000 per unit) renovation program included upgrades to kitchens and bathrooms, unit flooring, HVAC and heating/hot water systems, improved ventilation, conversion of 13 apartments to fully compliant ADA units, common area and laundry room improvements, site repairs including parking lots and walkways, building entries repairs, and new playground equipment.

In addition, POAH completed a $3 million renovation of the existing community building as a pilot site for POAH's Trauma Resiliency Program. The design of a 4,000-square-foot addition was a collaborative, human-centered design process to develop and deploy trauma-informed practices within affordable housing. Management staff, local and on-site partners, and residents all provided input that impacted the design of the building which will further enhance the many valuable resources provided at Hawthorne. Jennifer Manuleleua with Community Services League explained how simple changes such as natural light and calming colors can make a big difference to someone dealing with a stressful situation as “it allows for safety – both physical and emotional safety.”  Keandra Robinson has lived at Hawthorne with her son and daughter for more than 8 years. She loves the changes to her apartment, especially the kitchen. Kendra has used the financial coaching services to better her credit rating and save money she hopes to use to purchase a home in a few years. “My children are my motivation,” she said.

“This is truly a blessing to our community,” said Mayor Rowland. “It provides people with an opportunity to grow and to have a real step-up in their lives.”

“Hawthorne Place has been and will remain a crucial source of affordable housing in Independence,” said POAH President and CEO Aaron Gornstein. “POAH was thrilled about the opportunity to implement meaningful renovations that will benefit the property and nearly 1,800 residents who call Hawthorne home.”