Affordable senior housing facility located in West Fargo available to those age 62+ who meet income requirements
By Jim Palmer
The need for affordable senior housing continues to rise each year in the Fargo area as more and more retirees are trying to make ends meet on limited income. This summer, there will be a brand new option in West Fargo to meet the needs of low income senior households.
Monterey & Brighton Place Apartments, an 85-unit affordable senior housing community, will open its doors on July 1, 2021. The four story apartment complex, managed by the Housing Authority of Cass County (HACC), is located at Sheyenne Street and Eighth Avenue West in West Fargo.
“The complex will have generous one and two bedroom units equipped to meet the needs of seniors,” said Derek Johnson, Deputy Director for HAAC. “Features include washer and dryer in unit, walk-in closets, large kitchen and living rooms, two elevators, ground level heated garage, and 24/7 controlled access to the building.” Eighteen of the units are fully accessible for individuals and families with disabilities.
Amenities at Monterey & Brighton Place include a large community room and several other community spaces including an activities/entertainment room, a wellness/exercise room, game room, salon and a party room with a kitchenette.
“We have partnered with Valley Senior Services to serve a lunch Monday through Friday as part of their Community Dining program,” said Johnson. “We will also have an activities director coordinating a variety of activities and outings for residents.”
To be eligible to live at Monterey & Brighton Place, households must have a member who is age 62 or older, with family income at or below 50% of the Area Medium Income (AMI). The income limits are $31,300 for individuals, $35,800 for two person households, and $40,250 for three person households.
Once approved, households will pay 30% of their adjusted gross income in rent. The remaining amount will be subsidized by the Housing Authority with a Section 8 Project Based Voucher. Beyond the rent, tenants will only need to pay for electricity, as all other utilities will be provided.
“We strongly encourage individuals and families who meet the income criteria to apply. While the building will open July 1, 2021, we will continue to maintain a waiting list for future vacancies.
The need for low-income senior housing is at an all-time high, said Johnson. “There are wonderful senior living communities throughout the Fargo-Moorhead area,” he said, “but many are far too expensive for seniors with little more than Social Security and maybe a small pension.”
Johnson said he spoke with one applicant who is currently receiving around $1,600 per month in Social Security income and is paying over $850 in rent and utilities. “If she moves into Monterey & Brighton Place, her portion will be around $480/month in rent and utilities. The shift for a person in this situation will be life changing,” said Johnson. HUD defines affordable housing as housing in which the occupant is paying no more than 30% of gross income on housing costs, including utilities.
“In addition to the housing being affordable, residents will also receive amazing amenities -- the community spaces, daily meal option, the heated parking, exercise equipment, a beauty shop on site -- this will be an invaluable asset to the community,” he said.
This project is over five years in the making and includes funding from a variety of federal and state sources, including Low Income Housing Tax Credits, HOME funds, Housing Incentive Funds, and Community Development Block Grants. Sixty outdated Public Housing apartments were located on the site of the new development, and those residents were offered a Housing Choice Voucher and relocation benefits so demolition could take place and the land could be prepared for the new build.
“The previous residents were offered the opportunity to relocate and could go anywhere they wanted to, with the Housing Authority providing rental assistance and paying moving expenses. A few went out of state, but most stayed in the area. Any of those residents who qualifies will be able to apply to move back into this new facility,” said Johnson.
As construction wraps up on Monterey & Brighton Place, HACC is moving ahead on the next phase of its redevelopment plan, Sierra Townhomes. This new development will provide 38 units of affordable housing to families and seniors.
“Right next to this new senior community will be a brand new complex called Sierra Townhomes. It will be made up of five buildings with 8-10 townhomes in each. They will include 1-2-3-4 bedroom units -- some for elderly, some for households experiencing homelessness, and the remaining for families.”
“The Monterey & Brighton Place site originally held 60 units of Public Housing and has been replaced with 85 new apartments. Sierra Townhomes will replace 24 outdated units of Public Housing with 38 new homes. The net increase of 39 affordable homes is significant in meeting the growing demand in the area.”
Demolition of the buildings on the future site of the townhomes is nearly complete. Then the property will be prepared for construction, which is expected to start in April. There will be a green space area with a playground and walking paths; along with a new parking lot located between the two new developments. Sierra Townhomes is slated to open in the summer of 2022.
As for Monterey & Brighton Place, the finishing touches are now being applied. Over the next few months, the apartments will be finished, the community rooms will start taking shape and the elevators will be installed before final inspection and grand opening takes place this summer. Once opened, HAAC will relocate its offices to the main floor of the new building. Their current office is in the Highrise building across the street from Monterey and Brighton Place.
Construction of Monterey & Brighton Place and Sierra Townhomes is being completed by Roers Companies. The architect for the two projects is Foss Architecture + Interiors with Beyond Shelter, Inc. as the developer for the project.
Johnson encourages anyone interested who meets the income and age requirements to fill out an application soon, as leasing efforts will begin in April for the July opening. Applications can be downloaded from www.casscountyhousing.org, or they can be picked up at the HACC offices at 230 8th Avenue West, West Fargo. Interested parties may also call the office at 701-282-3443 and an application will be mailed out to them.
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