Governor McAuliffe announces $5 million in Vibrant Community Initiative funding
Montgomery County and the city of Richmond will each receive $2.5 million for a regional comprehensive community-based strategy to expanding the availability of affordable housing and creating more opportunity for community residents to succeed.
“The Vibrant Community Initiative channels vital funding to affordable housing in central Virginia, which in turn fosters economic growth and job opportunities for communities that need it most,” said Governor McAuliffe. “We want to ensure that every Virginian has the opportunities to succeed and this starts with investments at the local level in housing, schools, and infrastructure. By combining state and federal resources, this pilot program will serve as a foundation for future economic investments and local initiatives across Virginia as we continue to build our new Virginia economy.”
VCI combines multiple Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) funding sources to support local or regional comprehensive community-based projects including affordable housing, community development and economic development components. The initiative identifies highly impactful, transformational projects and then leverages several funding resources to streamline the application process, while also streamlining the project management and compliance processes. The Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) has partnered with DHCD to provide critical technical assistance and financial support.
“The Vibrant Community Initiative will make a meaningful difference in these two communities,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “This comprehensive approach will not only address affordable housing needs but also assist the development and execution of an economic and community development strategy that will create an overall better quality of life for their residents.”
A tiered application process was utilized to solicit proposals, and applicants were required to submit a letter of interest to identify the project and its key characteristics. A panel with representatives from DHCD and VHDA evaluated the proposals. Site visits were conducted for the five highest rated projects, and those five applicants all submitted final proposals for the $5 million program.
Richmond Housing and Redevelopment Authority and the Community Builders received funding for the city of Richmond project, which is focused on the Church Hill North and East End Revitalization. The Church Hill North/East End Revitalization is a comprehensive project that focuses on increasing opportunities for low- to moderate-income residents by building quality and affordable housing options for residents of a variety of income levels.
The project capitalizes on ongoing economic and community development work and leverages existing plans to address the East End business corridor’s needs and lack of community amenities. The VCI investment will fund the development of 220 units of rental housing for a mixed-income community, including 128 units of replacement public housing for residents of the nearby Creighton Court Public Housing development.
In addition, the VCI resources will be allocated to support homeownership opportunities for residents located on the site of the currently vacant old Armstrong High School.
The project in Montgomery County is the Old Prices Fork School Comprehensive Community Revitalization Project. This project is a multi-phased project involving the historic revitalization and renovation of the former elementary school to incorporate 32 units of mixed-income, multi-generational housing and new and innovative economic development opportunities through the establishment of the Old School Food Center.
The housing units will provide an opportunity for mixed generational living and support the sense of community and learning that has been a hallmark of the Old Prices Fork School. Additionally, the development of food processing, dining and retail opportunities will expand the vibrancy of the project not only to those living, working and selling products there, but also to the community and region.
The Old Prices Fork School will continue to be an integrated space and cultural touchstone of the Prices Fork Village, the county and the New River Valley.