Lancaster, PA HDC Goes Regional
CPBJ Reports: The past few months have been busy ones for Housing Development Corporation. MidAtlantic, bringing a major expansion and a name change to the 40-year-old Lancaster nonprofit.
The group, commonly known as HDC, employs 130 people and it owns and manages roughly 3,000 affordable rental-housing units in 11 Pennsylvania counties.
A major part of that tally, as well as geographic reach, is thanks to a February deal HDC made with Pasadena, Calif-based Everest Properties.
The agreement added five properties — containing about 750 units — 20 employees and three counties under the HDC umbrella. It was HDC’s largest single-deal expansion, HDC President Michael Carper said.
Shortly thereafter, HDC Lancaster became HDC MidAtlantic to reflect the nonprofit’s plans to expand beyond the Keystone State.
Although those changes were momentous, they reflected the next step in HDC’s gradual evolution, rather than a sudden acceleration, Carper said.
“For as much of our history as not, we’ve been outside Lancaster County,” he said.
“It has been fairly typical that HDC has been invited by other communities to come partner with them to try to meet affordable housing needs. … HDC very quickly went from being (in one) county to being a regionally known nonprofit.”
One such partnership came with Presbyterian Senior Living, a nonprofit based in the Dillsburg area.
Although it’s the ninth-largest senior-living provider in the country, six years ago Presbyterian reached out to HDC because it did not have much experience in setting up affordable senior housing, said Jeff Davis, senior vice president and chief financial officer.
“We found that they’ve lived up to everything that was recommended and told to us by our business associates,” Davis said. “They’re pros. They have knowledge and they have a huge compassion and mission orientation that goes beyond just doing the job.”
There is tremendous demand for affordable senior housing, in part because developers typically can make more money doing other kinds of housing, Davis said.
A study about a year and a half ago showed a decrease in the amount of affordable housing in Cumberland and Perry counties, as well as an increase in the percentage of income residents must use to pay the rent, said Christopher Houston, executive director of the Cumberland and Perry County Housing and Redevelopment Authorities.
HDC’s properties range from 30-year-old senior-living high rises in downtown Lancaster that HDC is revamping and planned artist housing in Allentown, to a rent-to-own community in affluent Manheim Township.