For those not familiar with the history: In 1969, members of First Presbyterian and Stone United Methodist Churches, with support from each congregation, formed the United Housing Corporation for the mission of providing affordable housing for lower income households that would be eligible for government housing assistance through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The corporation secured financing and purchased property to build the 55-unit Fairmont Apartments. Subsequently, adjacent property was acquired and the 50-unit Fairview Apartment facility was constructed. Because they are separate properties there are two corporations. But one board oversees both.
Each of our churches appoint six members to the corporations’ board. The six serving from First Presbyterian are: Richard Deiss (president), Ross Feltz (secretary), Linda Bollensen, Howard McCall, and Glenn Thompson. One position needs to be filled to replace the late John Filegar. The members from Stone Methodist are: Debbie Knapp, Erin Lindsay-Means, The Rev. Sarah Roncolato, Jim Schlosser (vice president), John Shields and Robin Stockton.
The corporation is self-supporting and in a solid financial position. Bruce Hill of the real estate management firm Hill Cleary & Associates, of Pittsburgh, serves as the manager of the complex and oversees onsite office and maintenance staff.
A critical component of the quality of life for our residents is the additional ministry conducted by the separate Fairview-Fairmont Outreach Board. While the two churches contribute from their respective mission budgets, the corporations’ board contributed $38,252 to the outreach mission, in addition to space and maintenance/custodial support. Significant renovations were made to the space for outreach programming to reflect the changed goals and staffing described in the Outreach Board’s report on other pages in this booklet. The Outreach Board regularly presents a report on its activities at the corporations’ board meetings.
An important objective is to be continually improving the facility and the environment for the benefit of our residents and our neighbors. Apartments are improved as they become vacant, with onsite staff doing as much of the work as possible to be cost-effective. Various kitchens and bathrooms have been renovated and hot water tanks are replaced as we are able making for 40 replaced in the last few years. A major project began in March when staff began to replace ranges and refrigerators. Since then, this continuing effort has replaced 37 ranges and 25 refrigerators out of the 56 and 57 respectively on the schedule.
We are blessed to have good continuity with Pat Harmon, maintenance, and Dick Feydo, grounds, both having served for 10 years. Richard Bean, maintenance and custodial, having joined us in 2019.
The characteristics of those who call Fairview-Fairmont their home have remained pretty much the same over the last years. At year end:
· The total population including all age levels…….. 241
· The gender breakdown is 89 males and 152 females
· Female heads of households ……72
· Male heads of households …………17
· Racial count: White 184, Black 45, Mixed 12
· Number of youth 18 years of age and younger ……115 (This number accounts for 52% of the total Apartments’ population)
· Generally, average gross annual income for each household ………… $16,222
Vacancies at year end were 13 compared with 12 a year ago. There was 1 vacancy in our four-bedroom units, 9 in our three-bedroom units, 0 in the two-bedroom units and 2 in the one-bedroom units.
While there is a waiting list and constant applications for residency, many do not meet HUD’s and the corporation’s requirements. For example, during the year, 131 applications were received. However, 11 of those did not respond to contact & were withdrawn 9 were rejected for criminal background, credit history, bad references, etc., leaving 23 that were processed for move-ins.
There were 24 move-outs (3 were evictions) during the year, which means that the office staff of Manager Mary Wisniewski (31 years) and Jennifer Pittsenberger (ten years) keeps quite busy. This kind of turnover is expected because housing such as we offer, is meant to be a “hand-up” for families. When they have improved their situations and their incomes go up, they often move into more conventional housing for more space and more privacy.
The continuity of our management firm and staff is critical to the continued success of Fairview-Fairmont and its environs. HUD’s annual inspections consistently rank Fairview-Fairmont among the best performers in the nation. HUD evaluates not only the buildings and the site; it also checks the office records. Our HUD inspections consistently earn scores about as high as possible. Congratulation to our crew!
Richard A. Deiss, President
Ross Feltz, Secretary
January 6, 2021