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Working in the Church Hill Central Neighborhoods in Bloom

03/21/2007 9:20 PM by

Tonight’s Union Hill Civic Association meeting featured presentations on the award-winning Church Hill Central Neighborhoods in Bloom (NiB) by Better Housing Coalition, ElderHomes, Housing Opportunities Made Equal, and Southside Community Development and Housing Corporation.

Church Hill Central Neighborhoods in Bloom map

Church Hill Central Neighborhoods in Bloom map (click to enlarge)

Better Housing Coalition, around since 1988, is responsible for numerous new construction and restoration projects in and around the Church Hill Central NiB area. Their first project in Church Hill was the Jefferson Mews (across from Jumpin’ J’s). The bulk of their work has been in Fairmount, though they are finishing up in that area and have moved east into the area along O/P Streets around 26th/27th Street (behind Sunny’s Market). Most of their homes are sold to folks making 60-80% of median income (around $37,000/yr). In addition to managing the building/renovation, they offer help on downpayments to keep property affordable. They offer some market-rate housing, which helps to fund other projects. They are responsible for the new house going up behind Jefferson Mews, which has been designed to fit in with existing housing stock. In addition to offering quality affordable housing, aother of BHC’s stated goals is sustainability, to offer homes that are comfortable, affordable, healthy, energy-efficient homes.

Next up was a representative from ElderHomes. Since 1992 ElderHomes has been as “owner-occupied rehab company”, helping folks get their houses up to housing quality standards. Funded in part by the city, they can also provide work towards energy efficiency and have an Emergency Home Repair program that makes available up to $5,000. Another success for ElderHomes is a volunteer minor home repair program. About 2 years ago they began doing single-family home rehabs. They will soon be be rehabbing a house and and building 4 new homes on the 800 block of North 27th Street.

Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) has been working for the past 35 years or so “to assist families in making good choices”. They are not involved in building or renovation, but instead offer housing services and home-ownership counseling. Funded by localities, some of HOME’s programs have income limits, some do not. They offer grants for purchasing in the NiB areas; they’ve made downpayment assistance on 4 programs in the Church Hill Central NiB so far this year. They also offer classes on landlord-tenant training, landlord-tenant counseling, and money management classes. All of these are free services, regardless of income. In addition, they offer additional assistance to city of Richmond employees that fall within income guidelines.

Last but not least was the Southside Community Development and Housing Corporation. Working out of southside since 1989, they are probably the largest CDC in the city of Richmond. They’ve been involved in new construction and rehab, with significant work in Blackwell. In addiiton to working in the city, they also have programs available in Henrico to folks earning 80% or lower of the AMI. They also offer income-independent assistance for police officers and sheriffs deputies to purchase property. They have a new city-wide program beginning next month using Hope VI dollars. They also offer home-buyer education monthly and have plans for new construction in Church Hill.

The meeting was held from 7-8pm at the Cedar Street Baptist Church at 23rd and Cedar Streets.

A presentation by Lieutenant Jack King of Sector 111/First Precinct to start the meeting described a slight drop in crime, with nothing dramatic to report.

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