All employees deserve to be paid on time. And everyone needs a stable place to live.
Financial problems at United Faith Housing pose a threat to employees and senior-living residents, alike, at Vermillion Place and Harter House. Both are located along Main Street, and both provide services for seniors who need assistance.
Vermillion Place and Harter House offer affordable living options for seniors with limited budgets, providing a crucial service in downtown Anderson.
After employees at the facilities complained publicly that they haven't been paid on time in recent weeks — and at least four of the employees resigned — Bob Reeder, chief executive officer of United Faith, addressed financial difficulties faced by the nonprofit organization.
According to Reeder, 12 empty apartments, each counted on for $450 a month, are at the root of the problem.
“Rent is generated by residents,” he said in a news article published July 27 in The Herald Bulletin. “It’s that simple, and it’s that scary.”
Harter House and Vermillion Place have fallen $7,000 behind on utility bills, as well, and have been placed on a payment schedule by Anderson Municipal Light & Power.
Reeder spoke in late July to a group of residents, family members and employees. He pledged that workers would receive paychecks last weekend.
At the meeting, concern over the plight of the facilities was clear.
“This breaks our hearts,” worker Carrie Roman said while fending off tears. “We don’t want to leave. We love each and every one of you.”
Denise Hall expressed anxiety about possibly having to find a new home for her mother.
“I can’t leave her here if there’s no one here to take care of her,” Hall said.
Reeder vowed that he and the board of directors would do all they could to keep Vermillion Place and Harter House operating by applying for federal housing grants, meeting with church groups and hosting open houses “to reaffirm our presence downtown and remind people of our place in the neighborhood.”
Reeder is right. United Faith Housing will have to find more community partners and tap every available funding source.
People's jobs — and their homes — are at stake.