that at all times the mix of residents at Welch Plaza meets
the terms of the property’s tax abatement and loan.
“There’s a lot not to forget,” said Barry Blanton, CPM,
and president of Lorig Management Services.
In addition to running the usual credit and criminal
background checks conducted at any residential building,
managers at mixed-income sites must certify applicants’
income. Often when people change jobs, they must be
recertified to ensure they are still eligible to live in the development. At Channelwood Village, Hite processes an average of 50 income recertifications a month. Annual recertifications in the late fall push it as high as 80 a month.
Sometimes the government agency overseeing the project prefers the information electronically, even if there’s
no way to transfer it easily, Cipollone said. In those cases
property managers enter residents’ information into their
own systems and then key it into the agency’s system,
effectively doubling their work load.
On top of the paperwork there are the inspections.
Channelwood Village hosts inspectors each year from
HUD’s Real Estate Assessment Center, the Assisted
Housing Services Corporation, Ohio Finance Housing
Agency, Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing and the
city of Akron. Cipollone deals with three or four inspections a year at her properties. Since each can take 30 days
to prepare for, her site managers spend between a third
and a quarter of the year prepping. She likes to dream
about the agencies developing a single, universally accepted inspection process.
Mixed-income communities often provide social services
that wouldn’t be available at a standard development.
McCormack Baron Ragan in St. Louis manages mixed-income properties in 19 states, and the company’s Vice
President, Claudia Brodie, said it is important for property
managers to meet with owners before signing a contract
to establish the owner’s expectations for the site, and then
square them with the reality of the budget.
Ideally, mixed-income communities generate enough
rent that, after paying rent, utilities and payroll, there’s
enough left over to hire a social services coordinator,
Brodie said. A social services coordinator can organize
after-school programs for neighborhood children, train
low-income residents to use computers, help people find
childcare—whatever residents need.
It’s imperative that
everyone is treated
the same. A person
can’t tell from the
curb which home
cost the market rate
and which home is
—BARRY BLANTON, CPM®
If there’s not enough money for an
on-site coordinator, property managers refer residents to nonprofits in
the community. They also partner
with local players. At a McCormack
Baron Ragan property in St. Louis, for
example, students from Washington
University’s social work school do
internships at the site.
“We in the property management
business don’t see ourselves as social
service providers,” Brodie said. “We
want to hook up with someone [else]
who does it.”
Property managers are generally
responsible for enforcing social norms,
such as ensuring apartments are cared
for. Hite said she’s had to teach a few
people about cleaning their stoves,
as “grease and open flames don’t get
along,” for example. Punitive mea-
sures can be used, but Brodie said
they try to temper those measures by
offering help. For example, if a teen-
ager is dealing drugs from a grand-
parent’s home, the manager might
write up the violation but also link the
grandparent to a social worker who
could help resolve the situation.
“We make sure that we’re working
it from both ends,” Brodie said.
Because they are on site every day,
property managers can alert own-
HOuSinG viSi T