State Sen. Mike Stack and the presidents of three civic associations have written letters to the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, expressing their concern about a proposal to convert a six-story Holme Avenue convent into 44 apartments for veterans and other low-income individuals.
The civic associations that are taking the lead on the issue — Holme Circle, Rhawn Gardens, Winchester Park and Ashton Square — are not necessarily against the development.
The groups are opposed to the “general occupancy” and “homeless” listings on the application for development.
The 45,399-square-foot convent is located at 2723 Holme Ave. It is adjacent to, but separate from, Nazareth Hospital. The hospital has not taken a public stance on the proposal.
The Illinois-based Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth of the USA own the convent. An estimated 20 nuns who live there will move to another, smaller convent on the same grounds.
Columbus Property Management & Development Inc., aka 1260 Housing Development Corp., does not need zoning approval, but it is seeking state funding for the $11 million-plus project.
CPM promised at the Nov. 28 Holme Circle Civic Association meeting that all 44 units would be occupied by veterans, but its paperwork indicates that “other low-income individuals” could move into the apartments.
Opponents cite issues such as crime, parking and Section 8 vouchers as concerns. They are calling for a 99-year, legally binding agreement for a housing designation of “seniors only,” whether they be veterans or not.
Stack and the civic leaders addressed their letters to Brian A. Hudson, executive director of the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.
“Transparency is important and seems to be lacking in this application,” Stack wrote.
Other letters were written by civic association presidents Joe DeFelice (Mayfair), Mary Ann Cicalese-Kiker (Winchester Park) and Rich Frizell (Holmesburg).
Frizell, Cicalese-Kiker and her executive board asked Hudson to disregard the application statement that the proposal was “well received by the community.”
The Holme Circle Civic Association will meet again on Wednesday, Jan. 23, at 7 p.m., at St. Jerome school hall.
The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency is not expected to make a decision on funding until March. ••