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The “Church Hill North” project is coming along!

This looks promising but we have some questions…

The space where the Armstrong High School once stood place is now a development for “affordable” housing. The project consists of 256 units total with, so far, 125 being built first. This is potentially an opportunity to have a thriving neighborhood if it’s run well.

It is nice to see some progress because, as reported by the Richmond Free Press in 2017, the Creighton redevelopment needed $4.9 million to cover the first phase of apartments. Surrounding the area there’s also not a lot of evident development happening by the East Lawn Shopping Center (also sold in August 2017). The proposed building would be part of this “Church Hill North Redevelopment project” which would also house “recreational and educational activities”. Not sure if this is still happening since T.K. Somanath stepped down.

Nevertheless, this area of the East End shows signs of continued growth as exemplified by the Sarah Garland Jones Center, the fabulous Front Porch Cafe, the Market at 25th and The Kitchen at Reynolds. This means more than ever that responsible urban development and organizations like Urban Hope continue to be part of the solution.

Now this looks promising, but we have some questions:

  1. What is considered ‘affordable’ and who defines that?
  2. Is this another form of public housing?
  3. This was deemed to be a replacement for Creighton Court, what’s going to happen to the current residents?
  4. What’s the status of fixing the roads in that area? The potholes on 31st are insane

*Updating article as we get information

  1. Low income housing tax credit program (Thanks Matt W.)


SA Chaplin 04/02/2019 at 8:21 AM

Just asking:

What should the City’s role be with regard to the availability of affordable housing (that is, if it is possible to even agree on a definition)?

Should it construct affordable housing?
Should it subsidize affordable housing?
Should it own and manage affordable housing?
Should it zone for affordable housing?

For my money (as a taxpayer) I would answer “No” to the first three and “Yes” to number 4.

Matt Waring 04/02/2019 at 8:44 AM

This is part of VHDA’s Low-income housing tax credit program. All information concerning affordability is public information. This development is also pursuing EarthCraft green building certification which is a positive for the residents and the community. Definitely an amazing and extremely large undertaking.

Boyd Moore 04/02/2019 at 12:20 PM

Thanks, Matt. I searched for several minutes to find out what the “affordable rates” were and it is like a rabbit trail to get to actual dollar amounts. Can you give us a link to the current rates under the VHDA’s rules?

Subsidized Homeowner 04/02/2019 at 12:25 PM

@SA Chaplin, you raise legitimate questions. But if you are a homeowner then you are receiving the government’s biggest housing subsidy; the mortgage interest tax deduction. Just sayin’.

tax payer 04/02/2019 at 3:20 PM

@Subsidized Homeowner, not to be too critical but most mortgage interest tax deduction is now pointless with the new increase to the personal deduction. If you haven’t done your taxes yet for 2018, definitely keep an eye out.

As for who is doing the subsidizing, the largest tax revenue for the city of Richmond is property tax, aka what SA Chaplin pays for the pleasure of owning a house and/or vehicle in the city of Richmond.

Insider Knowledge 04/11/2019 at 2:06 PM

HUD defines housing as being ‘affordable’ when you do not spend more than 30% of your income on rent and utilities. That’s hard for most people in most places.

HUD defines ‘low income’ as 80% of Area Median Income (AMI), and I believe the City approved a local definition of the same last fall (via Ellen Robertson).

2018 Richmond Metro AMI for a family of 4 = $83,200
80% AMI for a family of 4= $66,550; $46,600 for 1 person household = ‘low income’

(More affordability info

The LIHTC program used to finance this project dictates that incomes for the rental units must be at or below 60% AMI. This project is planned to have units set aside at 40%, 50%, and 60% income thresholds.

Income limits for rentals are $34,980 for 1 person or up to $49,920 for 4 person household. I think the for-sale homes will be a mix of 80% income limits and market rate.

Rentals could range roughly between $600-$1300 depending on # of bedrooms and household composition.
(Calculator tool to estimate

This is not “another form of public housing”, it is privately owned/operated. However, some units will be set aside specifically for current PH residents as a “project-based” voucher.

Current Creighton residents are supposed to work with RRHA staff and the project leasing company to qualify to move over to the rental or homeownership units. RRHA would have to comment on other relocation plans, I’m sure there are several overlapping/parallel strategies.

As for potholes…keep the dream alive!

Customer Relations 07/30/2019 at 10:29 AM

Hi, I work for RRHA and I can answer a couple of your questions – “Affordable” is defined as calculated at 30% of monthly income. That is how we calculate rent for our public housing residents, and how rent for residents of Church Hill North will be calculated. Is this another form of public housing? Yes and no. The long-term plan for the Church Hill North project is to create mixed-income development which includes both affordable income-based units (for seniors and for families) and market-rate units as well. The Church Hill North tenants will have the opportunity to request a choice mobility voucher after one year living in their unit, which means they could move else where if they wanted to, similar to the HCVP (Section 8) program. However, this is NOT a housing project. As far as what will happen Creighton Court’s current residents, they will be placed in other housing. Preference for RRHA’s Church Hill North apartments goes to current Creighton residents, some of whom have already been placed at other sites. If you’re interested in learning more about this project, there’s information on our website about the project. There are long-term goals of redeveloping or rehabbing all of our public housing projects with the goal of creating better housing opportunities for all of Richmond City’s public housing residents.
As far as potholes, I’m going to say RRHA isn’t paying for that. We don’t even have business cards for everyone in the TSO and HCVP office, so potholes? Those can stay. Haha.


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