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SNAP easing away from apartment business

Sat., July 24, 2010

Agency selling some, ceding control of others

SNAP will sell three small apartment blocks and hand day-to-day responsibility for 11 others to an independent manager, the nonprofit organization’s director of housing opportunities said Friday.

Ray Rieckers said the change will save SNAP an estimated $145,000 per year in management expenses, costs the agency cannot afford as it contends with a downturn in contributions.

He said Coast Property Management Co. has administered the SNAP-owned Riverwalk Point complex on Upriver Drive for about 15 percent less than it would cost the agency to manage those 100 units. Everett-based Coast oversees 10,000 housing units, and has its own collection agency and other capabilities in-house, he said.

Tenant service has improved under Coast, and the units are better maintained, Rieckers said.

“What we’re better at is providing social services,” he said.

Coast has already been given responsibility for two more SNAP projects, Greene Court at 3207 E. Carlisle Ave. and Windsor Court at 9523 E. Eighth Ave. The agency is in discussions with Coast and one other company regarding the remaining nine properties, Rieckers said.

They are Resident Court, 1203 W. Fifth Ave.; Collins Apartments, 204 S. Wall St.; Sinto, 907 and 916 E. Sinto Ave.; Alexandria, 623 S. Howard St.; and Avondale, 229 W. Second Ave.

Also, Patrician, 102 E. 2nd Ave.; St. Anne’s, 2111, 2117 and 2127 E. Pacific Ave.; Bellamy, 2108 E. First Ave.; and Strawbale, 2527 E. Eighth Ave.

The 11 properties contain 190 units, home to 278 people. All are subsidized.

Rieckers said the independent managers screen tenants using state-set criteria, place them, evict them, and take care of upkeep. SNAP monitors performance, and provides grants for improvements, he said.

Rothrock Properties is the sales agent for small properties at 4708 N. Napa St., 613 W. Knox Ave. and 1124 W. Maxwell Ave., Rieckers said, adding that SNAP intends to retain the proceeds for development of more housing units for the disabled.

SNAP spokesman Ron Hardin said the agency has been looking at all its operations, but no other changes are being made.

“This has been a real challenge for us,” he said. “We have to look at every possible angle to watch our bottom line.”

Hardin said the most unfortunate aspect of the changes is the layoff of eight staff members, although efforts are being made to place them elsewhere within the agency.


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