Sunday, August 30, 2015

Camden AIDS transitional housing project stuck in grant limbo

As the June deadline approached for Dooley House to finish its AIDS transitional housing project, the nonprofit's contractor is in a legal fight with the city, holding up the project.

Camden AIDS transitional housing project stuck in grant limbo

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As the June deadline approached for Dooley House to finish its AIDS transitional housing project, the nonprofit's contractor is in a legal fight with the city, holding up the project.

Dooley House, a struggling Camden nonprofit that provides social services to adults and children with HIV and AIDS, secured a federal grant last year for transitional housing for people with AIDS. But the city has been holding up $153,000 of federal grant money that should have gone to Philadelphia-based developer Seven Caesars, which was contracted to perform the rehab work at 521 Cooper St.

The city, which administers federal housing grants, made the first two payments last year for a total of $193,805. But after a review of the receipts submitted and payments made, the city said there was " lack of uniformity of documentation." In march, Seven Ceasars filed a complaint in Camden County Superior Court against the city and Dooley House alleging breach of contract and other counts.

On Apr. 23, County Superior Court Judge Faustino Fernandez- Vina ordered the city to grant the remaining allocated funds to Dooley House.

But Seven Caesars has yet to receive a dime, said Laverne Hicks, site manager for the Hogan House project. Hicks is worried the project won't be complete by the June 30 federal deadline.

"There is a pending motion for reconsideration on this matter," said city spokesman Robert Corrales. He wouldn't elaborate on why the city is continuing to fight the matter.

"At this point they have no standing to not pay any money out," Hicks said, adding that the city's reconsideration request "doesn't stop the order."

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About this blog

Allison Steele writes about Camden’s schools, government and businesses. Most importantly, she writes about the city’s residents. She is a former crime reporter who covered the Camden and Philadelphia police departments for the Inquirer. A Philly native, she has been with the Inquirer since 2008.

Send comments, tips and story ideas to asteele@philly.com, call 856-779-3876, or reach out on Twitter @AESteele.

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