Centennial has fallen into disrepair from water intrusion, shoddy construction, and mold. A recent report has placed the costs of repairs at $3.24 million. As the owners of these units attempt to study and adopt solutions, there has been a campaign of misinformation and distorted “facts” launched in order to place blame and full responsibility on the owners of these deed-restricted units and cast the owners as negligent and irresponsible. Many of you have seen the articles, commentary and quotes in the local media from reporters, City staff and Centennial’s developer. This will be our attempt to report the complete unadulterated facts of the situation and let you decide what course of action should be taken to keep Centennial as a viable affordable housing project or possibly condemn it and remove it and its current and potential owners from the affordable housing inventory. We encourage you to verify any information related in these pieces and formulate opinions on your own. It can be assumed that these articles will receive backlash from the same individuals who have previously put false information regarding Centennial into the public forum to serve their own ends. We will not attempt to engage in a battle of “spin”, but will let the record speak for itself.
The Centennial situation matters to more than just its current homeowners. Anyone currently in any affordable housing unit or hoping to be anytime in the future should take heed as they may be getting more than they can afford. Bid prices and HOA dues do not tell the whole story. The nature of our program is to offer homes at attractive rates and hope that expensive problems due to poor design or faulty construction don’t burn a hole through the minimal advantage to buying an affordable housing unit over remaining in the rental market or moving downvalley. Of course it behooves owners to fund capital reserves and maintain their property. No one would argue that. Our housing program is specifically designed for working class residents who cannot afford free market properties, but want to remain integral members of this community. While lottery winners should have been vetted as to their abilities to afford their mortgage and HOA dues, it has never been assumed that they have the resources to rebuild a substandard property. The rules of the deed-restriction place the financial burden for such a project entirely on the current owner absolving past and future owners of any responsibility. APCHA rules also prevent any increase in the resale value or equity of an affordable housing unit regardless of the expense incurred to keep the project at a basic standard of habitability and durability. Trying to finance a major reconstruction project on defective homes with deed-restricted property values is virtually impossible. Because of the restrictions APCHA places on capital improvements, major expenses necessary to maintain a basic structural quality are instantly a huge financial loss for the owner. While Centennial was one of our first attempts at affordable housing, The recent Burlingame project is a perfect example of a new development plagued by unrealistic and in fact irresponsibly incorrect cost estimates and over runs, poor construction and mismanagement, even after huge public subsidies.