The Asbury Park Housing Authority is moving forward with plans to sell the Boston Way apartments [shown above] and relocate its current tenants.
The authority approved a resolution at its meeting last night allowing interim executive director William Snyder to apply to the federal department of housing and urban development [HUD] for disposition, or selling, of the property.
Boston Way consists of about eight buildings with more than 120 one-to-four-bedroom apartments, Snyder said. Currently, about 50 of the apartments are occupied.
The structures are in need of so much repair, the housing authority decided it would make more financial sense to sell Boston Way, Snyder said.
“The cost to fix up these buildings … is a couple million dollars,” Snyder said. “Where [is the authority] going to get that money? The buildings continue to deteriorate and there’s no way of fixing it up. It’s not going to get better. It’s only going to get worse.”
Snyder will send an application for disposition to HUD. If HUD approves, the housing authority will apply for relocation vouchers for the current tenants. Tenants will seek new market-rate apartments and as they move out, the housing authority will give them vouchers.
The vouchers function through the Section 8 housing subsidy program. Tenants pay about 30 percent of their adjusted income toward rent, while the authority pays the rest directly to the landlord. The housing authority will help the tenants find new housing, Snyder said.
When the last tenant moves out, Boston Way will be placed on the market, Snyder said. He is unsure how much money the property will draw.
The tenants are also able to move into other public housing units in Asbury Park, but the overwhelming majority would prefer to move out into market-rate apartments, Snyder said.
Boston Way is one of four family housing structures in Asbury Park. The other three are Lincoln Village, Washington Village and Asbury Park Village. The housing authority also maintains three senior citizen housing structures at the Robinson Towers, Lumley Homes and Comstock Court, Snyder said.
Proceeds from the sale of the property will directly benefit other family housing units, Snyder said.
After paying the costs of selling the property and moving the tenants out, “all the money would go back into fixing up the other buildings,” Snyder said. “We don’t want to take it and spend it. We want to get the most bang for our buck. Those other buildings need a lot of work.”
This work could include new boilers, roofs and doors, among other things, Snyder said.
“We really want to freshen [the buildings] up and make them look like they’re as good as anything that’s in Asbury,” he said.
Originally, the housing authority intended to demolish and dispose of the property, until the board realized they lacked the funding to demolish it. Instead, they will sell Boston Way as-is.
Snyder considered using the proceeds from the sale to offset some of the authority’s debt, but he does not feel HUD would approve such a use of the funds, he said.
The authority hopes the tenants will be out in less than a year because the heating system at Boston Way is “in very bad shape,” Snyder said. “We want to get out of there before the winter comes again.”
Disposition of Boston Way will bring the city’s current count of 583 units down by more than 120.
“My number-one concern of residents living there is safety, security and quality of life,” Snyder said. “There is a petition signed by almost every one of them saying they’d like the voucher as soon as possible.”
Tenants can move to a market-rate apartment within or outside of Asbury Park, Snyder said. For those who move outside of the city, the housing authority can either continue to pay their voucher or pass it along to another housing authority.