Council to hold work session on changes to how affordable housing funds are reviewed and selected

Charlottesville City Council now begins each regular meeting with a 4 p.m. work session today to review reports. They will review the final report from the firm HR&A on the use of the Charlottesville Affordable Housing Fund (CAHF) since 2010. A previous Council created the fund in 2007 and the most recent one agreed last July to pay HR&A $165,000 to audit the CAHF as well as create a program for inclusionary zoning. There was an initial report at the final Council meeting in December. (Council briefed on affordable housing funds, December 31, 2021)

“Since 2010, the City of Charlottesville has administered a total of $46.7 million in funding to support a variety of affordable housing initiatives across the city, drawing from the city’s General Fund, Capital Budget, Housing Trust Fund (CAHF), and federal HOME and [Community Development Block Grant] funds,” reads the introduction to the report Council will review. (meeting info)

The second phase of the report makes sixteen recommendations that draw from the affordable housing plan adopted by Council in March last year, such as making substantial changes to how the Housing Advisory Committee is structured. A new CAHF committee would be set up to oversee the funds and make recommendations to Council. (read the new report) (read the Affordable Housing Plan)

HR&A also believes the city needs better metrics to determine if investments in affordable housing are getting the desired goals. 

“The City should set annual production goals for housing development and affordability, as well as ensure that housing policies and programs, and decision-making processes are intentionally designed to overcome the past history of racial segregation and ongoing inequities,” reads recommendation number six. 

The city has not had a housing coordinator since the summer of 2020 when the past occupant of the position became the executive director of the Charlottesville Housing and Redevelopment Authority. Many of the recommendations call for new staff to ensure projects are on track.

CDBG Task Force meets concurrently  

For some reason, the Charlottesville Community Development Block Grant Task Force meets at this exact same time as this 4 p.m. Council work session. Perhaps part of the confusion in this community is overlapping meetings such as this one. This group also makes recommendations on how a portion of the city’s affordable housing money is spent. Wouldn’t the nine members of this body as well as staff benefit by directly hearing the HR&A report, and what Council’s decisions might be about its future? Either way, I will record both. (meeting info)

Before you go: This article was originally posted in the Week Ahead for March 21, which was originally published as part of the Charlottesville Community Engagement newsletter. That work is supported by the Piedmont Environmental Council, but you can add yours my making a contribution through Patreon.

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