September Housing residents ask questions

Staff writer

It seemed like the residents of Marion September Housing started their questions with minor items.

One woman asked about the possibility of getting a dishwasher — it is a possibility, although the sizes of the existing kitchens in the apartments limit what architect Larry Krier can accomplish.

Another person asked about lighted trays in lower cabinets, another possibility hindered by the existing cabinets.

One woman wanted to have her microwave on the counter, not above the stove — a viable option for residents.

Then it was a question about updating heating and air-conditioning units. Homestead Director Tom Bishop replied that the layout of the heating and air units would not change, but every system would be updated.

It took a while to get down to brass tacks — what are the residents going to do while the apartments are remodeled and how are rents going to be affected?

With 11 of the 20 units in September 1 in use, Bishop said the plan is to remodel the vacant units first and then relocate about six to seven residents into remodeled apartments while construction is in progress on their former residences. There is an option for residents to move back into their previous rooms after construction, although Bishop said most people prefer to stay in their relocated abode.

“I really need to move back for my feng shui,” Bishop joked.

The rent query was more complicated. Currently, nine of the 11 residents of September 1 receive rent assistance from former developer Rural Development Inc. Bishop said the plan in place is for Rural Development to give all 11 residents, and anyone who chose to move into one of the vacant September apartments, rent assistance vouchers. Like rent, the amount of each voucher is established through the resident’s income — the less income a resident has, the more money they will get in a voucher.

He could not say whether residents will pay more or less in rent. He said Rural Development raised rents, not accounting for rent assistance, for fewer tenants to about $636 a month. Bishop was looking at a range for each apartment from $255 to $300. He added that residents receiving rent assistance should receive the same amount in assistance after Homestead closes on the property.

Bishop said the deal could close as soon as June. He thought remodeling should begin this fall.

Resident Irene Brock was excited to hear about the upgrades. She has been living in September 1 for about a year and a half.

“I think it’s going to upgrade the community,” she said.

Frances Bezdek has lived in an outside apartment in the September complex for 20 years. Her apartment was starting to show signs of wear, with nails poking out from a wall. Her main concern was about updated heating and cooling systems, saying the house was too hot in the winter and summer.

However, she is pleased with her time in a September apartment.

“It’s a nice place to live,” Bezdek said. “If they do what they say, I’ll like that. Seniors now need a place to come to.”

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