Albemarle Supervisors approve nearly $3.3M in additional funding for projects at Southwood

There’s a lot of demand for funding for housing projects across the community, and Albemarle County set aside some of its share of the American Rescue Plan Act to provide support to nonprofit agencies. The county asked those entities to apply for funding for affordable housing projects last gal

“During the [Agency Budget Review Team] and [American Rescue Plan Act] processes we received requests for more than $20 million in funding support,” said Stacy Pethia, Albemarle’s Housing Policy Manager.

On April 20, the Albemarle Board of Supervisors approved $1.29 million from the FY22 budget for three projects. 

“That money went to the Albemarle Housing Improvement Program to preserve 41 affordable units,” Pethia said. “$625,000 went to the Piedmont Community Land Trust to create 12 permanently affordable new housing units. And $250,000 was awarded to expand the county’s current energy improvement program and that would extend that program for an additional 25 existing units.” 

Another $2.7 million from Albemarle’s share of ARPA was set aside for housing, and Pethia said much of that went to the Premier Circle project being developed by Piedmont Housing Alliance, Virginia Supportive Housing, and the Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless. 

On July 20, Supervisors were asked to approve funding for two additional projects. 

“The staff is requesting the Board approve $3.3 million in funding [and] $3 million of that will be given to Piedmont Housing Alliance to support their Southwood Housing project and $306,000 will go to Habitat for Humanity to provide temporary rental assistance for 40 Southwood families that need to be relocated during the redevelopment process,” Pethia said. 

That relocation will take place for two years as the second phase of Habitat’s Southwood redevelopment gets underway. The total project cost is $2 million, making the county’s cost about 15 percent of that total. Pethia said the relocation will be in a building being constructed as part of phase one. 

Pethia said Piedmont Housing Alliance’s Southwood Apartments will have 121 units in the first phase of the Southwood redevelopment. 

“Those units will serve households with incomes between 30 percent and 60 percent of the area  median income,” Pethia said. “The total project cost is $24.9 million.”

Pethia said Albemarle’s total contribution for that project will end up around 12 percent of the total cost, or about $25,000 per unit. The main bulk of the funding comes from the sale of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits but other sources include the National Housing Trust Fund and the Virginia Housing Trust Fund. Albemarle’s Office of Housing will also dedicate eight vouchers to the project. 

“That equals approximately $500,” Pethia said. “That will provide rental assistance to dedicated units for 15 years.”

Supervisor Ann Mallek asked what would happen after that 15 years. Pethia responded they would have to remain affordable for 30 years because that is the requirement under the Low Income Housing Tax Credits mechanism. 

Supervisor Ned Gallaway said Supervisors have to have a discussion about the future of the county’s affordable housing trust.

“We’re on the 20th day of the Fiscal Year and our affordable housing fund, which we’ve taken probably four years to get up to $5 million is now down to under $500,000 again,” Gallaway said. “That’s not bad because we’re using it but there’s still so much out there that we need to do.” 

Gallaway said the county needs to do more than rely on surpluses and one-time money. 


Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the July 29, 2022 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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