At a time when affordable housing options are in short supply across the country, the 400-year-old community of Hopewell, Virginia is making plans to improve and expand its workforce housing stock. Thought by some to be the nation’s oldest continuously occupied settlement, the City of Hopewell and the Hopewell Housing Redevelopment Authority (HRHA) are actively working to improve the community’s affordable housing inventory.
Using funding from the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) new Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, HRHA and Community Housing Partners (CHP) are teaming up to redevelop a 30-unit public housing community called Langston Park Apartments. The funding of the redevelopment is significant in that it will be the first in the state financed by the RAD program using the highly competitive 9 percent Tax Credits administered by the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA).
As the nonprofit owner, developer, architect, and contractor of the Langston Park Apartments, CHP will use environmentally-responsible practices and products to upgrade the five-and-a-half-acre community to 56 energy-efficient EarthCraft-certified rental homes for area families. Located at 1011 Winton Churchill Drive, the mixed-income project will involve demolition of the existing out-of-date units and construction of 26 new two-bedroom apartments, 26 three-bedroom apartments, and four 4-bedroom apartments. The community will serve families and individuals earning at or below 50 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), with 30 of the apartments receiving residents with HUD project-based rental assistance through the RAD program.
David Schultz, CHP’s vice president of development, stated, “CHP is honored to have been chosen by HRHA as the Master Developer for Langston Park and we are excited to have received the first two RAD awards in Virginia. The final piece of the funding puzzle came together this week when Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) awarded our partnership 9 percent low-income housing tax credits to help revitalize this important community asset. Without their support of this project, the revitalization of Langston Park would not have been viable.”
Executive Director of HRHA Steven Benham said, “There is a need for quality affordable housing in Hopewell. Most of the existing public and low-income housing in the city is functionally obsolete, although much effort is being put into maintaining this stock. Our partnership with CHP and VHDA begins our process of changing the current face of affordable housing for our citizens. I am grateful for the hard work by so many involved in getting us to this point. I eagerly anticipate our continuing progress towards creating a quality community for Hopewell residents.”
The RAD program is a central part of HUD’s rental housing preservation strategy that was initiated in September of 2012 and provides a mechanism for housing authorities to convert public and assisted housing properties to project-based or long-term Section 8 rental assistance communities. The program allows properties to be redeveloped, rehabilitated, and financed as stable, long-term assets.
The LIHTC program is administered in Virginia by VHDA and encourages the development and rehabilitation of affordable rental housing by providing owners with federal income tax credits for units meeting the program’s requirements.
Construction at Langston Park Apartments is expected to begin later this year.
About Hopewell Redevelopment and Housing Authority (HRHA)
Created in 1939, the Hopewell Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s mission is to promote adequate and affordable housing, economic opportunity and a suitable living environment free from discrimination. One of HRHA’s goals is to revitalize its complete housing portfolio and be a catalyst for the revitalization of housing in the city of Hopewell and the Tri-cities region.
About Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA)
VHDA is a self-supporting, not-for-profit organization created by the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1972 to help Virginians attain quality, affordable housing. VHDA provides mortgages, primarily for first-time homebuyers and developers of quality rental housing. It uses no state taxpayer dollars, but raises money in the capital markets to fund its loans. VHDA also teaches free homeownership classes, and helps people with disabilities and the elderly make their homes more livable. VHDA works with lenders, developers, local governments, community service organizations and others to help put quality housing within the reach of every Virginian.
About Community Housing Partners
Community Housing Partners (CHP) is a 501(c)(3) community development corporation established in 1975 to serve the needs of low-income and low-wealth individuals in the Southeast. Our mission is to create affordable, green, sustainable housing opportunities and services for the people and communities we serve. CHP’s activities include real estate development, architectural design, construction, energy services, homeownership, property management, and resident services. We are a chartered member of NeighborWorks America, and a member of both the Housing Partnership Network and the Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises (FAHE). To learn more about CHP, visit www.communityhousingpartners.org.