UVA commits to ambitious affordable housing goal

university of virginia uvaUVA has established a goal to support the development of 1,000 to 1,500 affordable housing units in Charlottesville and Albemarle County over the next decade on land owned by the University and the UVA Foundation.

“As an anchor institution, we feel a responsibility to be a good neighbor. One of the most pressing needs in our region is affordable housing, and we are looking forward to doing our part to help increase the supply,” UVA President Jim Ryan said.

In order to keep housing costs down, the University will allow use of UVA or UVA Foundation-owned land for the development of affordable housing as part of a multi-phased approach over the next decade. The University will ultimately select housing development partners through a competitive process.

“The University has a substantial impact on the economy and vitality of this region,” UVA Rector James B. Murray Jr. said. “As a local resident, I am particularly excited about UVA’s role in tackling tough issues that affect local citizens, with a shortage of affordable housing being among the most pressing.”

To address affordable housing needs and other areas of focus for the community, Ryan and the President’s Council on UVA-Community Partnerships have announced the formation of four working groups focused on affordable housing, the local economy, early childhood education and the employment pipeline.

The four groups, which include members of the community and UVA representatives, are tasked with addressing the key issues identified in 2019 by the UVA-Community Working Group.

“Strengthening the relationship between UVA and the surrounding community continues to be one of my top priorities as president,” Ryan said. “We’ve made progress in the last year and a half, but there is still a lot of work to do. I’m grateful to the members of the President’s Council and the members of these newly formed working groups for their commitment.”

Last fall, Ryan asked the members of the UVA-Community Working Group, formed in 2018, to continue to serve in a more permanent capacity as the President’s Council on UVA-Community Partnerships. As the council continues its work this year, the four individual working groups will act on the following topics:

  • The Local Economy Working Group will examine UVA’s procurement needs and how they can be matched with local businesses.
  • The Pipelines and Pathways Working Group will look for ways to grow UVA’s employment pipeline, with the goal of improving access for underrepresented groups and ensuring that current workers have opportunities for promotion and growth.
  • The Early Childhood Education Working Group will work to increase access to affordable, high-quality educational experiences for children up to age 5, with an emphasis on training and supporting local early childhood educators.
  • The Affordable Housing Advisory Group will make recommendations related to housing goals, site selection, development strategy and engagement with community and housing partners to support the development of 1,000 to 1,500 affordable housing units.

These priority areas are also part of the University’s strategic plan, “A Great and Good University: The 2030 Plan” within the Good Neighbor Program, one of the plan’s 10 key initiatives.

The new working groups comprise community members and UVA officials who work on the front lines in these areas as well as people who are directly affected by these issues.

“We wanted the composition of these groups to reflect the principles of co-creation, shared power and accountability that have driven our work to date,” said Erika Viccellio, executive director of the Fountain Fund and one of the co-chairs of the President’s Council on UVA-Community Partnerships.

“The individuals in the groups were carefully selected to bring together people who normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to problem-solve side-by-side,” said Brennan Gould, president and CEO of the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation and the other co-chair of the President’s Council. “Each group includes community experts with lived experiences that are most proximate to, and most impacted by, the challenges these groups seek to address. By bringing this perspective together with nonprofit, business, philanthropy and UVA perspectives, these groups chart a new path forward for UVA-community partnership.”

Another top priority identified by the UVA-Community Working Group last year was paying University employees a living wage. In March 2019, UVA announced that it would raise its base wage to $15 an hour for all full-time employees as of Jan. 1, 2020, and followed up with an October announcement that major contractors who work on Grounds would join the University and pay the same base wage.

The membership of the working groups is as follows:

Local Economy

  • Destinee Wright, creative director, Destinee Marketing, and owner, Luxie Hair Services, working group co-chair.
  • Stephen Davis, president, Community Investment Collaborative, working group co-chair.
  • David DuRant, vice president of development, Asturian Group.
  • Quinton Harrell, founder & CEO, Heritage United Builders.
  • Jonathan Hohman, director of procurement, UVA Medical Center.
  • Mark Stanis, director, Facilities Planning and Construction, UVA.
  • Lorie Strother, SWaM contract administrator, UVA
  • NaKesha White, owner, Royalty Eats.

Pipelines and Pathways

  • Martha Trujillo, microenterprise community engagement specialist, Habitat for Humanity, working group co-chair.
  • Ridge Schuyler, dean of community self-sufficiency programs, PVCC, working group co-chair.
  • Shymora Cooper, housing quality inspector, Charlottesville Redevelopment Housing Authority.
  • Richard Hopkins, landscape superintendent, UVA.
  • Hollie Lee, chief of workforce development strategies, City of Charlottesville.
  • Kaye Monroe, vocational counselor and employer services, Virginia Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services.
  • Dawn Niles, community relations, UVA Health.
  • Siri Russell, director, Office of Equity & Inclusion, Albemarle County.
  • Catherine Spear, associate vice president, UVA Office for Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights.
  • Kelley Stuck, UVA vice president and chief human resources officer.
  • Martize Tolbert, client partner navigator, The Fountain Fund.

Early Childhood Education

  • Deborah Rogers, executive director, Barrett Early Learning Center, working group co-chair.
  • Amanda Williford, Research Associate Professor, Curry School of Education and Human Development, working group co-chair
  • Melissa Carter, Head Start director, Monticello Area Community Action Agency.
  • Tamara Dias, executive director, African American Teaching Fellows.
  • Gail Esterman, director of early learning, Ready Kids.
  • Toni Eubanks, nursery director, Sojourners Church; Friendship Court parent and resident.
  • Tricia Goyea, City of Charlottesville Schools preschool teacher, Venable Elementary.
  • Sarah McLean, vice chair, Early Education Task Force and Early Childhood Funders Network.
  • Debbie Shelor, Albemarle County Public Schools pre-K teacher, Greer Elementary.
  • Jessica Whittaker, research associate professor, UVA Curry School of Education and Human Development.

Affordable Housing

  • Jennifer (J.J.) Wagner Davis, UVA executive vice president and chief operating officer, advisory group chair.
  • Danny Abramson, member, UVA Foundation Board of Directors.
  • Robert Byron, member, UVA Foundation Board of Directors.
  • Kevin Chavers, member, UVA Foundation Board of Directors.
  • Kevin Fay, chair, UVA Foundation Board of Directors.
  • Harold Folley, community organizer, Legal Aid Justice Center.
  • Lou Haddad, member, UVA Board of Visitors.
  • Myrtle Houchens, former Friendship Court resident.
  • Jen Jacobs, executive director, Albemarle Housing Improvement Program.
  • Joy Johnson, chair, Public Housing Association of Residents Board of Directors.
  • Jim Murray, Rector, UVA Board of Visitors.
  • Louis Nelson, vice provost for academic outreach, UVA.
  • Stacy Pethia, principal planner for housing, Albemarle County.
  • John Sales, housing program coordinator, City of Charlottesville.

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