Council signals support for affordable housing fund recipients

In the past six months, the city of Charlottesville has made changes to the way affordable housing projects are funded in the city. 

Every fall, the city will send out a Notice of Funding Availability announcing the different buckets of money available, including the Charlottesville Affordable Housing Fund. The CAHF was created in the late 2000’s. (City announces new funding opportunities for affordable housing projects, October 17, 2022)

“There have been process changes since the Office of Community Solutions was created and the Affordable Housing Plan was enacted by the Council in 2021,” said Alex Ikefuna, the director of the city’s Office of Community Solutions.

Those changes included creation of a committee separate from the Housing Advisory Committee that exists only to make recommendations on where the city’s affordable housing money should be spent.

Ikefuna was on hand at the Council meeting to present the CAHF Committee results.  This time around there is $835,000 in CAHF funding. 

“Staff received six applications from potential applicants totaling $1.72 million,” Ikefuna said. “Of these, five we are recommending for funding. The only agency that submitted an application that wasn’t funded was [Albemarle Housing Improvement Program].” 

A list of the six requests for CAHF funding, five of which were funded. AHIP did end up with $225,000 in the FY24 budget. (take a closer look)

I’ll get back to AHIP in a minute. For now, here’s what is recommended for funding in the CAHF. 

  • $187,500 to the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority for the Public Housing HVAC Equity Project that would bring air conditioning to existing units. The request had been for $450,000. 
  • $67,806 to Community Services Housing Inc. for rehabilitation repairs to preserve 34 existing units. The request was for $135,611. 
  • $225,000 to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville for their program to transition people to homeownership.  The request had been for $410,000. 
  • $167,972 to the Piedmont Housing Alliance for their project to purchase homes in the Orangedale section of the Fifeville neighborhood for re-sale. The request had been for $225,000.
  • $186,722 to Virginia Supportive Housing for the Premier Circle project. The request had been $250,000. 

Ikefuna said the CAHF Committee felt the AHIP application was not one of quality. He also said AHIP had not accessed $100,000 in previous funding and that the organization is having difficulty finding households below 60 percent of area median income to qualify for the program. 

“I don’t think that they have people on the waiting list that they are supposed to have,” Ikefuna said. “I am not sure how long it would take for them to go out and solicit or publish funding availability so they would be able to recruit folks that would take advantage of the situation.” 

AHIP had requested $225,000  from the CAHF for the next fiscal year, having received $162,500 in the current fiscal year. 

Another bucket of funding is the Housing Operations and Program Support which had $575,000 available. Applications through that process also go through a review process. AHIP had asked for $250,000 for their “Charlottesville Critical Rehab and Home Repair Program” but their request did not make it through the process. 

Nevertheless, Charlottesville’s final budget for FY24 does include $225,000 for AHIP after budget staff found additional revenue to support Council requests.  

This was Council’s first reading and the second will be on the consent agenda at the May 1, 2023 meeting. 

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 April 19, 2023 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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