Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority

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The Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority (CRHA) is a quasi-governmental entity separate from the City of Charlottesville that receives its funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). CRHA does, however, receive federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds from the City for capital projects and other specific programs.

Functions

The CRHA manages 376 public housing units in Charlottesville and administers approximately 300 Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) rental units that are supported through federal funding. It has an annual budget of approximately $4.5 million.

Approximately 2,000 people are housed through these subsidy programs. Participants typically pay 30% of their income for rent and HUD pays the rest. While 70% of the public housing households have an annual income under $10,000, 13% have income under $3,000 per year according to the CRHA.

In order to encourage homeownership, the CRHA provides loans through the Housing Opportunities Program to assist families in purchasing homes if they do not qualify for large enough mortgages. Additionally, through their Down Payment & Closing Costs Assistance Program and the Housing Choice Voucher Home Ownership Program the CRHA helps low income families with down payments and closing costs.

Since 1978, the CRHA has been headquartered in the basement of Charlottesville City Hall. [1]

History

Council passed a resolution calling for an April 15, 1954 referendum on creating a housing authority. [2] The vote was close with 1,105 voters approving the authority, and 1,069 voting no. [3]

Early development timeline

  • Early 1958: The CRHA estimated it would cost $1.95 million to redevelop the area. $1.6 million to purchase the land, $200,000 for site improvement and $150,000 for planning and administration. [4]
  • January 1959: The CRHA began a survey of "substandard" housing to determine the number of affordable housing units it would build. Director George Price told the Daily Progress the survey would be confined to "substandard dwellings occupied by Negro families." Seven African-Americans were hired to do he work and had letters of introduction stating the purpose of their visit. [5]
  • April 1959: General Assembly passes a bill requiring a voter referendum before a public housing project could go forward. [6]
  • Summer 1959: CRHA abandons plans to use site on Cherry Avenue and Fifth Street SW [6] Plans to build at South First Street were also abandoned.
  • October 1959: The federal Urban Renewal Administration approves relocation report but withholds funding due to uncertainty over whether those displaced would be rehoused elsewhere. [4]
  • November 19, 1959: Junior Chamber of Commerce rejects Vinegar Hill proposal [7]
  • January 18, 1960: CRHA selects 18-acre site near south end of Ridge Street for 200 black families. The site was to be bounded by Ridge, Hartman's Mill Road and the city's southern boundary with Albemarle County. [6]
  • January 21, 1960: State Senator Edward O. McCue Jr. introduces legislation for referendum bill in case 1959 struck down as unconstitutional [8]
  • January 27, 1960: Chamber of Commerce and Retail Merchants Association endorse Vinegar Hill redevelopment. [7]
  • May 23, 1961: Charlottesville holds referendum on whether Cox's Row area of town should become a public housing site[9]
  • January 28, 1960: Young Men's Business Club endorses resolution supporting activities of CRHA [10]
  • February 13, 1960: Daily Progress reports that the CRHA hired realtor James M. Marshall to appraise properties in an 18-acre area bounded by West Main Street, Preston Avenue and Fourth Street. The Atlanta based Harland Bartholomew and Associates was retained to assist in final planning. The work was to have included engineering for new streets and utilities. [4]
  • May 23, 1961: Charlottesville holds a referendum on whether Cox's Row area of town should become a public housin site. [11]

Redevelopment-era timeline

2005

Noah Schwartz was hired as executive director. [citation needed]

2006

Schwarz gave an assessment of his first year in office on July 17, 2006. He pointed out that HUD does not cover the full cost of raising the agency and so it is short by at least $100,000 every year. [12]

In November, the CRHA was notified that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has taken the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program off a list of "troubled" programs. [13]

2007

The CRHA began community meetings on the topic of forthcoming redevelopment.

The agency placed ads seeking a new position of director of redevelopment. The position remained unfilled as the year came to a close. The job was to have helped coordinate the day-to-day activities involved with creating and implementing a master plan. [14]

2008

The CRHA hired a prevention specialist in January 2008 partially funded through a $20,000 grant from the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation. Schwartz believed that having a CRHA staff who doesn't work in lease enforcement would be good for the agency as they prepared for redevelopment. [15]

By the end of the year, Schwartz told C-Ville Weekly that he was worn-out and he left the position on December 12. [16]

2009

On March 12, 2009, it was announced that the CRHA will receive around $797,000 from the federal government as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in order to improve and modernize some aging public housing buildings. [17]

2010

In August 2010, the CRHA voted to approve a master plan to shape the future of the city's public housing stock. A final draft is expected to be finished in the spring of 2010. [18]A Residents' Bill of Rights guarantees that no resident will be displaced during the redevelopment process.

In December 2010, the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation awarded CRHA $10,000 for salary support for a resident services coordinator position[19].

2011

On October 3, 2011, City Council was asked to allocate 140,000 in the Charlottesville Housing Fund towards the purchase of two properties in order to redevelop them as part of the CRHA master plan. One is located at 204 8th Street NW and will be purchased for $60,000. The other is 210 8th Street NW and will be purchased for $80,000. Both sales were well under assessment. The ultimate goal is to develop the whole block, even though the city does not own all of it yet. The city cannot directly purchase the properties, but will buy them on behalf of a non-profit. [20] The Charlottesville chapter of Habitat for Humanity holds the deed for the properties.

2012

Residents file suit over utility surcharges

In June 2012, seven residents filed a class action lawsuit in federal court against the CRHA claiming surcharges on utility bills were higher than allowed by law. [21] Their lawsuit was filed with help from the Legal Aid Justice Center and former city councilor John Conover.

2013

In February 2013, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a preliminary report that outlined several area of mismanagement at CRHA. The CRHA responded in March that it would address the issues. Meanwhile, the Public Housing Association of Residents complained that both HUD and CRHA both failed to take tenants rights sufficiently into account. [22]

In response to the HUD report, CRHA sought to increase the minimum rent from $25 to $50 and to increase late fees from $10 to $15. PHAR responded that such moves would be "barbaric." [23]

Later in the year, PHAR became concerned about the potential that CHRA would opt to become a pilot participant in HUD's "Rental Assistance Demonostration" project. That would change the financing structure between HUD and CRHA. [24]

2014

2015

2016

Personnel

Board of Commissioners

The CRHA is governed by a seven member Board of Commissioners that consists of at least two CRHA residents and one former or current recipient of Section 8 vouchers. The board meets on the fourth Monday of each month in City Council Chambers[25]

Staff

  • Grant Duffield, Executive Director

Former Directors

Communities

Charlottesville communities with CRHA-managed public housing include:


References

  1. Print: Council Okays Bare Minimum, Ray McGrath, Daily Progress, Worrell Newspaper group September 6, 1978, Page .
  2. Web. Charlottesville City Council meeting minutes, .pdf, Council Chambers, City of Charlottesville, January 18, 1954.
  3. Web. Charlottesville City Council meeting minutes, .pdf, Council Chambers, City of Charlottesville, May 3, 1954.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Print: Vinegar Hill Appraisals Started, Staff Reports, Daily Progress, Lindsay family February 13, 1960, Page .
  5. Print: Authority Begins Citywide Survey of Housing Needs, Staff Reports, Daily Progress, Lindsay family January 9, 1959, Page .
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Print: New Site Chosen for Housing Units, Staff reports, Daily Progress, Lindsay family January 18, 1960, Page 13.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Print: Businessmen Endorse Vinegar Hill Project, , Daily Progress, Lindsay family January 5, 1960, Page .
  8. Print: New McCue Housing Bill May Alter City Charter, , Daily Progress, Lindsay family January 22, 1960, Page .
  9. Web. Voting Heavy in Cox's Row Referendum, Staff Reports, Daily Progress Digitized Microfilm, Lindsay family, May 23, 1925, retrieved May 23, 2016 from University of Virginia Library. Print. May 23, 1925 page 1.
  10. Print: Business Club Backs Housing, Staff Reports, Daily Progress, Lindsay family January 29, 1960, Page .
  11. Web. Voting Heavy in Cox's Row Referendum, Staff Reports, Daily Progress Digitized Microfilm, Lindsay family, May 23, 1925, retrieved May 23, 2016 from University of Virginia Library. Print. May 23, 1925 page 1.
  12. Web. Council thanks heaven for Noah Schwartz, Jayson Whitehead, C-VILLE Weekly, Portico Publications, July 24, 2006, retrieved February 22, 2016. Print. July 24, 2006 .
  13. Web. CRHA Out of "Troubled" Status, City of Charlottesville, November 29, 2006, retrieved February 22, 2016.
  14. Web. [“Enormous Task” still needs leader “Enormous Task” still needs leader], Scott Weaver, C-VILLE Weekly, Portico Publications, January 8, 2008, retrieved February 22, 2016. Print. January 8, 2008 .
  15. Web. Housing authority readies for redevelopment, Scott Weaver, C-VILLE Weekly, Portico Publications, January 22, 2008, retrieved February 22, 2016. Print. January 22, 2008 .
  16. Web. "I am just worn out", C-VILLE Weekly, Portico Publications, October 27 2008, retrieved February 22, 2016. Print. October 27 2008 .
  17. Web. Housing authority awaits stimulus, Rachana Dixit, Daily Progress, Media General, March 13, 2009, retrieved February 20, 2016.
  18. Web. August 2010 Minutes, Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority, retrieved June 28, 2012.
  19. Web. More than $500,000 in grants awarded, Daily Progress, World Media Enterprises, December 15, 2010, retrieved December 15, 2010.
  20. Web. Allocation of Charlottesville Housing Funds Towards the Purchase of Properties on 8th Street and Page St. - $140,000, Kathy McHugh, City of Charlottesville, October 3, 2011, retrieved September 30, 2011.
  21. Web. Charlottesville public housing residents sue over utility surcharges, Daily Progress, World Media Enterprises, retrieved June 12, 2012.
  22. Web. Housing authority responds to report, Ted Strong, Daily Progress, World Media Enterprises, March 25, 2013, retrieved March 27, 2013.
  23. Web. Local housing authority met with opposition over proposed changes, Aaron Richardson, Daily Progress, World Media Enterprises, April 23, 2013, retrieved April 24, 2013.
  24. Web. CRHA to hold public meeting today on new avenue for funding, Aaron Richardson, Daily Progress, World Media Enterprises, October 10, 2013, retrieved October 11, 2013.
  25. Web. Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority - Commissioners, City of Charlottesville, retrieved November 3, 2014.

External Links

CRHA Website