Affordable housing Pheasant Glen apartments switching to student housing

A switch from residential apartments to student housing may leave some State College families searching for a new place to live.

According to Office of Adult Services Director Natalie Corman, the Pheasant Glen apartments, which offered three- and four-bedroom apartments at affordable housing prices, will soon be converted to student housing.

Pheasant Glen is off Blue Course Drive near the intersection of Circleville Road in Ferguson Township.

The conversion, Corman said, will mean a rent increase. The apartments traditionally have been offered at below-market values — about $1,000 for three bedrooms and $1,100 for four bedrooms — but prices could rise as high as $2,000 for a four-bedroom unit.

Some families may be able to cope, she said, but for 13 families with Section 8 housing vouchers, this could drastically out-price what they can afford.

“We’re concerned about these families’ ability to afford the units as the changes come about,” she said.

For anyone new moving into one of the more than 90 units, the rent change will take effect immediately, she said. Current renters have until their leases end before the price changes.

Corman said she’s been in contact with some of the families and many want to stay. To be clear, she said, no family has been asked to move.

“It’s not a displacement,” she said. “It’s a gradual look at if families can afford to live there at that rent.”

The 13 families using vouchers doesn’t include the many families that were able to live affordably at the complex due to tax credits, she said. Rent costs were based on income.

The county has lost roughly 300 affordable-housing units since 2012, she said, and it’s getting very difficult to find units.

“The location this is happening in is a location where there is a lot of opportunities for employment, education and family services,” she said. “When you keep having to move families out of there, that affects the families and the school districts.”

Corman said adult services has been in contact with the owners and with Housing Transitions, the housing authority, Youth Service Bureau and others.

According to the Centre County Recorder of Deeds, the property was sold to PGRE LP in November for $7.2 million.

Pheasant Glen Manager Mary Adams said the name of the complex would be changed to Blue Course Commons.

Housing Transitions Executive Director Ron Quinn said his organization will work with the owners and the housing authority to assist those who need help, but with a specific focus on the 13 families with vouchers.

“We hope to ensure that if rents are raised, there’s consideration for the tenants so they can remain there,” he said.

The tenants have received a letter informing them of the changes, he said.

At this time, there’s no indication there is going to be a need for additional housing, he said. He said he hopes the families will be able to negotiate new leases and move forward without a need to relocate.

“If housing is an issue,” he said, “a case manager will be there to assist anyone in finding stable housing.”