REF: A “Long” gravy train of government funded housing

EDITOR’S update, July 3, 2018;

We have recently been advised that the LNP article meant to include the cost of the renovation of the Long home as part of the $17.8 million expense. The extent and cost of the renovation was not provided to us.

The LNP article stated:

“Totaling 64,000 square feet, Long Crest will have 52 units for low- to moderate-income seniors over age 62. The project is budgeted at $17.8 million. Groundbreaking is tentatively expected in late 2019, Presbyterian Senior Living said.

“The complex will sit just north of the Long Home, a home for the elderly that closed in 2012. It will be renovated and serve as support space and community space.”

We stand by our contention: Luxury apartments can be built from scratch including all soft costs and ground for under $130,000 each, likely closer to $120,000.   So called “subsidized housing” costs half again as much and is a tax payer funded feeding trough for all who participate in the development.

Subsidizing rental rates (rather than construction)  for those with inadequate means stimulates the construction of conventional new housing at normal market cost for those better off financially. This makes less expensive older units available for the rental subsidy plans.

An example is the current Lancaster rental market which is close to being fully occupied. But several major apartment complexes are under construction that will cause significant vacancies in older complexes. Those units could be filled with Section 8 tenants. There would be at least as much housing, at a much lower cost to the public, and disbursed among the Lancaster community.

The public saves about a third to a half of the cost. Spreading Section 8 rent subsidized tenants throughout the community avoids disastrous ghettoization that has proven over the decades to result in poor acculturation of occupants and danger to their children.

We have taken Section 8 tenants at our New Jersey apartment complex and found little if any difference among tenants. However, New Jersey is more generous in is Section 8 subsidies making the program more practical.

The only government housing problems to our knowledge that have been successful are those for the elderly. In that case the specialized design and facilities are not likely to be found elsewhere and the grouping of the elderly is welcomed by them and provides opportunities for programs that enrich their lives.


By Robert Field 

LNP reports today “Long Crest senior housing project wins state funding.” (Sorry, once again a leading article isn’t posted on LNP’s web site nor can it be found by its search engine.)

LNP reports that $1.2 M grant in tax credits towards the $17.8M cost for 52 senior units.

$17.800,000 comes to $342,000 per apartment. If built conventionally in the free market, it should cost between $100,000 to perhaps, at most, $120,000 per apartment.

When ‘yours truly’ was building several decades ago, we were producing upscale apartments at about 80% of the cost of government subsidized units of far less space and appointments. Now the ratio appears to be about 40% of conventional cost.

Of course the whole idea of subsiding apartment development is nonsense. Section ‘8’ programs provide rent subsidies that make up the difference between what a person or family can afford to pay and the apartment’s market price. This gets the government 100% value for the buck and spurs more construction.

But there is no deep government troughs to feed all of the hangers on. Hence Section “8′ is minimized, often made impractical through regulations.

Meanwhile taxpayer money flows for subsidized housing to lawyers, consultants, brokers, appraisers, architects, engineers, sponsors, contractors and other.

A virtual feast! But the tax payers aren’t invited. Yet we get the bill.



Updated: July 3, 2018 — 2:25 pm

1 Comment

  1. I completely agree with your assessment, however this is hardly news unfortunately. I recall when Housing Development Corporation renovated the former Van Scivers department store for about $80,000 per apartment. That was in the mid to late eighties when two unit apartment buildings in Lancaster city could be bought for $50,000 to $80,000.

    “Non-profit” does not refer to the highly paid management of such organizations.

Comments are closed.