Our Neighbors at Elm and Mountain Manor Apartments

By Tom Schroeder

Long before downtown living in Roanoke became popular again, St. John’s decided to invest in housing for our neighbors on Elm Avenue. In 1985, St. John’s, along with High Street Baptist Church, formed a corporation, Elm Manor Homes Inc., which purchased the Elm Manor Apartments located on the corner of Elm Avenue and 1st Street, right by the church. The purpose of the purchase was to provide affordable housing for low-income elderly members of the neighborhood through a HUD program. The HUD program required minority participation and High Street Baptist wanted to help us. 
   Several years later, St. John’s decided to grow the mission to help its neighbors through the construction of Mountain Manor, an apartment complex across 1st Street from Elm Manor on the crest of the hill. St. John’s goal for the construction of Mountain Manor was to provide low-income housing for neighbors with mental health needs. Once again, the church accomplished this mission through a HUD program. 
   About 15 years ago, changes became necessary for St. John’s and its two apartment buildings. The management company that handled these properties could no longer manage these types of HUD properties. Also, High Street Baptist, who had been more of a silent partner, was ready to step back. Fortunately, the board officers of Elm Manor Homes Inc. worked with Coordinated Service Management (CSM) to take over management of both apartment complexes. 
   Although these Manor apartment units are small, modest, and lack many of the amenities of more modern facilities, they are in high demand with happy tenants. In recent years, both apartment buildings, Elm Manor with its 23 units and Mountain Manor with its 15, are usually fully occupied with a waiting list. CSM has helped the apartments thrive. CSM helped the board combine both apartment buildings into one corporation and refinance the properties so that there would be enough capital reserve to make necessary improvements. CSM has found the resources to fund a service coordinator position that creates programs to help educate residents on health and nutrition and create programs for community building activities for the residents. CSM also has done a wonderful job keeping the facilities in top shape. At Elm Manor Homes Inc. board meetings, the board members hear CSM staff share stories of their interactions with the Manor tenants.      The board can tell the management team is in tune and cares very  much for the residents. 
   Over the years, St. John’s has hosted many events for our neighbors on Elm, resulting in people from both apartments worshipping at St. John’s and engaging with the church community. The children at St. John’s have reached out at the holidays with Christmas cards, and several St. John’s Troop 17 Boy Scouts have done their Eagle Scout Projects at both Elm and Mountain Manors. Members of St. John’s, the staff at CSM, and the residents of Elm and Mountain Manors are grateful for our relationships and neighbors.

The current board members of Elm Manor Homes Inc. are Tom Schroeder, Wayles Dandridge, Andy Douthat, and Ken Robison. 

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