Preserving Housing in Reading: More Than Just the Nuts and Bolts

Affordable housing facilities face many challenges. Preserving and maintaining the physical structure of affordable multifamily housing facilities is a substantial challenge, financial stability is also vital to survival.

B’nai B’rith House of  Reading, Pennsylvania provides housing to a significant number of Berks County seniors. With 171 units located in the heart of downtown Reading, B’nai B’rith provides seniors with access to services and a ready made community that can help keep them independent and preserve their quality of life.

Built in 1976-1977,  the B’nai B’rith House was originally developed using construction bond financing from the Pennsylvania housing Finance Agency (PHFA), and operating support  from the  U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD).   Over time, operating expenses for the B’nai B’rith House outpaced revenue with the problem greatly exacerbated by the high interest rate (almost  9%) on the existing debt service. To make ends meet the B’nai B’rith House was forced to use  reserves set aside for long term capital needs.

With the representation of RHLS attorney Dina Schlossberg, Deputy Director/Senior Attorney for Multi-Family Housing, B’nai B’rith was able to negotiate a new loan facility from PHFA that significantly reduced the monthly debt service and that enabled B’nai B’rith House to replenish reserves to support the long-term stability of the property.

While Dina provided legal counsel, she could not help but share that she was incredibly impressed with the tenacious advocacy of B’nai B’rith leadership and its property manager Lou Danzico, as well as with the generous commitment of PHFA to  assist in the preservation of this very special property to so many seniors.

As a result of this refinancing, B’nai B’rith, which features efficiencies and one-bedroom apartments, will be available to serve low-income seniors for at least the next forty years.

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