Iron County Housing Commission to sell 56 public units

CRYSTAL FALLS — The Iron County Housing Commission plans to sell 56 public housing units as part of a shift away from having to administer sites scattered throughout the county.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development had encouraged public housing authorities to assess the expense of maintaining such properties compared with other options, as funding in the past several decades has not kept pace with costs, ICHC Executive Director Victoria Webb told the Iron County Board in a memo in April.

ICHC’s affordable housing portfolio — with buildings of various size, types and materials — is spread throughout 645 square miles. The ICHC has one maintenance person to tend to these properties.

“The expense, time and personnel necessary to manage the scattered site portfolio has proven to be a large strain on ICHC’s budget and resources,” Webb wrote in the memo.

With HUD having approved ICHC’s application to sell 51 sites with 56 units, the agency intends to put at least some of those properties on the market later this summer.

The ICHC already has met with tenants about the coming sale, Webb said. Those residents are being given the first chance to purchase, Webb told the Iron County Board in April.

Many of them are taking that option, Webb said Friday. Other properties are being bought by landlords who intend to allow tenants to remain.

ICHC will work over the next 90 days to relocate tenants who don’t want to buy, with the goal of having them in different housing within 120 days, Webb said, adding that only about a dozen didn’t have a plan yet in place.

Some may be allowed to stay at the properties past the July 8 deadline, she said.

The ICHC still will retain Pleasant Valley Apartments in Crystal Falls, which has 123 bedroom units with rents based on income, Webb said in an interview. The agency also offers 169 rent vouchers that can be paid to private landlords and has applied for another 56 to compensate for the properties to be sold, she said.

One benefit of the voucher, she added, is the person can take it if they move elsewhere, outside of the ICHC’s area.

Webb did acknowledge Iron County, like much of the rest of the nation, has a shortage of affordable rental properties.

She said she was “not confident” they would be able to find enough alternative housing to offset the units being sold. But the housing they oversee has to be kept to a certain standard, one too costly to continue, she said.

“We can’t afford it,” Webb said. “We can’t maintain it.”


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper *

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today