Thursday, May 30, 2013

Oakville Residents in an Uproar with St. Louis County

From where he's sitting in Columbus, OH, the uproar over the National Church Residences senior living complex on Telegraph Road is surprising to say the least, says senior project manager Eric Walker.

Walker started working on this project in 2011, applying to the HUD 202 Capital Advance Program during its final round of funding before the program was eliminated in a round of federal budget cuts. The project won funding to build housing for seniors 62 years and older earning 50 percent or less here in South St. Louis County.

 According to research, the number of seniors between the ages of 65 and 74 living below 50 percent of the average income is expected to more-than-double, from 2,500 seniors in 2000 to 4,300 in 2015.

The location on Telegraph Road was particularly, with a high walkability score and access to businesses for seniors who likely don’t drive or have personal transportation.  Attendees questioned this survey pointing out there are no sidewalks in this section on Telegraph and the closest bus transportation is a mile away.

Seniors who move into the three-story, 45-unit complex will put one-third of their income toward rent, up to $550, and government subsidy will offset the balance for the next 40 years, Walker said.

The complex on Telegraph Road will house seniors only, not their families. Of National Church Residence’s 300+ homes around the country, less than 20 also house families. The typical National Church Residences resident is a 79-year-old woman.

National Church Residences was founded by a reverend and four Presbyterian churches, but the organization does not affiliate with a religion, and residents are not screened for religious preferences while applying.  

Councilman, Steve Stenger, was a no-show at a meeting of 300 residents of Oakville at St. Johns Church on May 29.  As one resident put it, "I don't think the group was really against the building, but the fact that St. Louis County did a lousy job in not properly notifying residents.

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