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United Way of Lancaster County


City Housing Authority transfers 95 properties to affiliate in $6 million transaction

The Lancaster City Housing Authority has completed the transfer of its 95 “scattered site” residential properties to a nonprofit affiliate, a move intended to put them on a more sustainable financial footing.

Barbara Wilson

A deed filed with the county late last month records the sale of the properties for $6 million to Cross City Properties LLC. Cross City is a subsidiary of Partners With Purpose, the nonprofit that the housing authority founded in 2019, authority Executive Director Barbara Wilson said.

The authority loaned Cross City the $6 million for the transaction, a related mortgage filing shows. The plan eventually calls for Cross City and Partners With Purpose to secure a conventional mortgage through a bank or other lender.

The authority remains the property manager for the 95 sites. For tenants, the one difference is that their leases will be handled through HUD’s voucher program going forward.

Wilson told One United Lancaster last year that transferring the properties to the nonprofit would provide more access to funding for maintenance and renovation. As a nonprofit, Partners With Purpose is entitled to apply for public and private grants that housing authorities cannot access.

In the near term, Partners With Purpose is receiving $377,730 in HUD funds through the city of Lancaster to repair and renovate four of the units: 234 Juniata St., 538 St. Joseph St., 253 West Walnut St. and 515 Church St.

Across the U.S., an estimated $70 billion is needed to renovate public housing, the National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates. Because Congress has shown itself unwilling to appropriate the funding, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development has begun allowing more flexibility in public housing ownership models, including the nonprofit-affiliate arrangement that the housing authority has created with Partners With Purpose.

The authority envisions Partners With Purpose acquiring more properties, becoming a “one stop shop” for affordable housing, Wilson told One United Lancaster last year.