LRCD Completes Renovation Project on Ashland Apartment Complex
Virtual Open House Now Available!
Lakes Region Community Developers (LRCD) recently completed renovations on Ames Brook Apartments, a 40-unit apartment complex located on Ledgewood Lane in Ashland.
The property was built in 1975, and in an effort to preserve it as part of the Lakes Region’s affordable housing stock, LRCD purchased it in November 2016. It took three years for them to assemble the five million dollars needed for improvements. Construction began in July 2019.
LRCD’s vision is for everyone to live in a healthy home – one that is energy efficient, has excellent indoor air quality, and is free of any hazardous materials such as lead paint, asbestos, or mold. Ames Brook Apartments required significant rehabilitation to bring it up to LRCD’s healthy housing standards.
Working with Stewart Associates Architects, NorthPoint Engineering, and North Branch Construction, the renovation transformed the property inside and out, improving safety, accessibility, ventilation, energy efficiency and aesthetics.
Exterior upgrades included a new parking lot, new roofs, new windows, decks, additional insulation and more, while on the inside there are new kitchens, new bathrooms, and carpets replaced with low VOC vinyl flooring. The fire alarm system was upgraded and a sprinkler system was installed. In addition, two of the 40 units were converted into fully ADA compliant apartments, where none were available before. Common areas also received a face lift.
Ames Brook was LRCD’s first occupied rehabilitation project, adding a new layer of complexity to the process. Residents had to be relocated to new apartments, with some of them having to move twice. LRCD is grateful for their cooperation and good humor through 14 months of construction.
LRCD wishes to thank the following organizations without which the project would not have been possible: Raymond James Tax Credit Fund, New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority, Franklin Savings Bank, New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority, the US Department of Housing & Urban Development, the US Department of Agriculture – Rural Development, Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston, Rural LISC, NeighborWorks America and the Town of Ashland.
Ames Brook Apartments is managed by The Hodges Companies of Concord, who has provided third-party property management services for LRCD for 13 years.
“This was a challenging project, but we are immensely proud of it,” said Carmen Lorentz, LRCD’s Executive Director. “It’s so gratifying to hear from the tenants how much they love their new apartments.”
LRCD welcomes you to take a virtual tour of the new Ames Brook Apartments to see all the improvements. Visit LRcommunitydevelopers.org for the Ames Brook Apartments Virtual Open House.
LRCD Provides Masks to Residents
With a generous grant from NEF Housing Charities, Inc. LRCD was able to purchase and distribute two reusable cloth facemasks to each of our residents. We felt this was a small way we could help our residents stay healthy.
New Community Building Programs
In addition to building affordable rental housing, we are working to help our community members of modest means overcome other obstacles. Towards this goal we have created two new programs.
A persistent barrier for our working community members is reliable transportation. Watching hard-working families constantly struggle with transportation inspired us to research other transportation programs that have successfully addressed this need in rural areas to use as a model for a program in NH.
Over the two years, we have worked with Franklin Savings Bank, Grappone Automotive Group, and HOMEteam, our financial education partner, to develop a pilot program to address low-income residents’ transportation struggles. The program is called Take the Wheel NH. The objective is to get low-income families into reliable, fuel-efficient vehicles that they can afford.
Participants complete an online financial fitness class and work one-on-one with a financial counselor from HOMEteam. Once the financial education requirements are complete, HOMEteam refers participants to Franklin Savings Bank which has developed a specific lending program for Take the Wheel. Participants are not be penalized for low credit scores and loans will have a fixed low interest rate. Once a participant is approved for a loan, they are referred to Grappone. Grappone has designated a sales team member for this program who will know the program objectives and be informed of each participant’s budget. Cars will be new or certified pre-owned and fit participants family size and budget.
Take the Wheel NH is currently being offered to LRCD residents and employer partners.
Our annual Community Wellness Survey showed that 67% of our households don’t have dental insurance, 59% were not able to meet their households dental needs due to cost, and 43% of households need restorative dental care. Seeing a significant need for dental care we started work to create a Dental Assistance Program for our residents.
With funding, from NeighborWorks America, Northeast Delta Dental, and Speare Memorial Hospital - Community Health Grant, we are able to now offer the program to our residents. The Dental Assistance Program creates an annual dental resource guide, executes an annual campaign about NH Medicaid's dental options, and helps residents access the dental care they need by assisting them gain access to dental programs, finding a dentist, and providing financial assistance.
NH Housing Relief Fund
If you know someone struggling to pay their mortgage or rent because of Covid-19, please tell them about the NH Housing Relief Fund, which can provide one-time grants and ongoing assistance to help keep NH families housed.
Support LRCD With Tax Credits Purchase
$185,000 in NH Business Tax Credits Available
We moved into 193 Court Street, Laconia last summer, but the renovations are not done! Last, year, we did all the work we could afford to do to convert the vacant building into our headquarters and the hub of our community building & engagement work in Laconia. The items still left to do include: more insulation, new siding on the north and west walls, parking lot improvements, and landscaping. If your business pays NH business enterprise or business profits taxes in NH, you can redirect a significant portion of your tax liability to a local project like this. Please contact Carmen at CLorentz@LRcommunitydevelopers.org if you are interested in supporting the 193 Court Street Project.
Green Tip - 120 Degrees Fahrenheit
Many water heaters default to 140-degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius), but temps that high pose not only high energy costs but scalding risks to your family. Most water heaters operate just as efficiently at 120-degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius), and the lower temperature could also help increase the lifespan of your water heater.
For every 10 degrees you lower the water temperature, you can save between 3 and 5 percent on your water heater costs. Additionally, wrapping an insulating blanket around your water heater will help save energy this winter, possibly as much as 4 to 9 percent in water heating costs. Find them in your local hardware store.