Fraser affordable housing complex looks for way to fund mold remediation
August 1, 2008
The Fox Run Holdings Inc., the general partner of workforce housing units in Fraser, is searching for ways to remediate mold contamination costing the project money it doesn’t have.
Discovering mold in various crawl spaces of the 64-unit housing project this spring led Fox Run management to allow tenants to break leases and move out if they wished.
As many as 23 of the units now sit vacant, costing the project a $36,000-plus shortfall in lost rent.
It was found that a total of 26 units have “varied degrees of fungal growth,” including 16 with “minor mold.”
Fox Run board members are using a $30,000 Grand County Housing Authority grant toward clean-up efforts. The board’s immediate goal is to mitigate those with mold to a lesser-degree and make them safe to rent to aid the project’s cash flow.
In July 14 minutes from a special board meeting on the issue, the Fox Run board stated it has a draft of a release form for tenants to sign relieving the housing authority board and Fox Run of any liability.
“The only units that will be left vacant are those that have major mold,” the minutes state.
In all, complete remediation of all mold-affected units is estimated to cost $92,851, according to Housing Authority Executive Director Jim Sheehan. To permanently fix the problem so that is does not return, meaning attention to drainage and more advanced ways to keep water out of unit crawl spaces, that estimate jumps closer to $262,000.
“We put sump pumps in units last May to help keep the water from collecting in the crawl spaces,” Sheehan said.
It was hoped a Colorado USDA Rural Development grant would come through to help cover the cost of a permanent fix to the mold problem, but no funds were granted, according to Sheehan.
Fox Run board members have been looking to the project’s limited funding partner, Housing Outreach Fund, for a safety net.
Housing Outreach invested nearly one-third of the cost of the project when it was built , around $2 million, with limited ownership interest for a 15 year period. By doing so, the limited partner gained tax credits for building affordable housing.
“We’re still working with the funding partners (The project’s mortgage lender Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, the Colorado Division of Housing and Housing Outreach), hoping they can step up to the plate and help us deal with this,” Sheehan said.
A Colorado Division of Housing Community Development block grant was key to the $7.3 million project when it was built, allowing it to keep rents below market value.
As much as $3.4 million is still owed on the 6-year-old project.
The Fox Run board is contemplating refinancing to help open up funds.
The board also plans to meet with the towns of Winter Park and Fraser, Grand County and Winter Park Resort for other solutions.
Aggravation of drainage issues may point to snow storage on Wapiti Drive on the hill above Fox Run buildings.
“If we had our druthers, the (Fox Run) project would be sitting on a different site with perfect drainage,” Sheehan said.
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