Como by the Lake residents celebrate new owners

 

Alan Arthur, CEO of nonprofit housing developer Aeon; Janet Troutman-Simmons, chair of the tenant’s group at Como by the Lake apartments; and St. Paul’s Ward 5 councilmember Amy Brendmoen were on hand Jan. 14 to celebrate Aeon’s purchase of the apartment building.

Alan Arthur, CEO of nonprofit housing developer Aeon; Janet Troutman-Simmons, chair of the tenant’s group at Como by the Lake apartments; and St. Paul’s Ward 5 councilmember Amy Brendmoen were on hand Jan. 14 to celebrate Aeon’s purchase of the apartment building.

Residents of Como by the Lake apartments packed the social room of the building during a reception Jan. 14 that celebrated their new landlords and the end of fears that they may have to move.

Nonprofit housing developer Aeon closed on the purchase of the building on Jan. 4. This story began last April when residents were informed that the owners of the building, which houses mostly elderly and disabled residents, was selling the building and not renewing the Section 8 contract which gives federal subsidies to help keep rents low.

Fifty-seven of the 99 units in the 30-year-old building are under a Section 8 contract.

With the help of the tenants organization, HOMEline, Brendmoen and other elected officials, and District 10 Como Community Council, the tenants organized and got their news out in the city and neighborhood press. “We became important to the community,” Troutman-Simmons said.

In August, Aeon announced a purchase agreement had been signed and the organization closed on it Jan. 4.

Arthur said he was “impressed by the fortitude of the residents” when they came into his office last spring and said, “We need your help.”

“We are excited to start on this journey together,” he said, “but this isn’t just about Como by the Lake. It’s happening all over the country.” Section 8 contracts are expiring and residences that had been kept affordable for low-income residents are disappearing.

That has prompted Brendmoen to work with Rep. Betty McCollum to gather a list of all Section 8 contracts in St. Paul and the state that are nearing renewal and work with the owners to keep them in the program, “so we can prevent the alarm that happened here,” she said.

 

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