On February 1, City Council voted to raise the new supported affordable housing goal to 15 percent over 15 years, up from 10 percent, or 1,933 affordable units—residences that receive some local, state or federal support.
City Council’s definitions of low-income and affordable housing may apply to more locals and residences than one expects. “I think what we are also looking at is folks who are teachers and nurses and firefighters and the kind of core of our community,” says councilor Kristin Szakos.
Melissa Celii, grants coordinator for the city’s Neighborhood Development Services, said that although 10 percent is “extremely commendable,” the need of affordable housing in the city “is still great.” And the work isn’t cheap. According to City staff, increasing the ratio to 15 percent in 15 years will cost a total of $26 million, roughly $1.7 million per year.
City Council defines affordable housing as any unit where the occupant’s income is below 80 percent of the area median income and where no more than 30 percent of that income is spent on housing costs—rent and utilities. Those who meet the city’s definition, however, might be surprised at what falls within budget. For a single person, that translates to no more than $40,800, with a monthly housing budget of $1,020.
For a family of four, 80 percent of the median annual income is $58,250, with a monthly housing budget of $1,456. Minus $100 for utilities, the family could spend up to $1,356 per month in rent. According to the Blue Ridge Apartment Council, a luxury two-bedroom apartment at Walker Square with granite countertops, washer and dryer, and amenities including a gym and swimming pool goes for $1,200 a month.
For those who make 50 percent of the area’s median income—termed “very low income” by the city—things are dramatically different. A family of four at 50 percent of the median annual income could afford $810 a month, which could land them a unit in a duplex on Cherry Avenue. Fifty percent of the area’s median income for one person is $25,500, with a housing budget of $637 per month.
“I definitely think we need to support the poorest residents and make sure that it’s possible to have housing,” said Councilor Kristin Szakos at the meeting. “But I think what we are also looking at is folks who are teachers and nurses and firefighters and the kind of core of our community being able to afford housing.”
Here are the definitions, by the numbers
Low annual income, one person: No more than $40,800
Monthly housing budget: $1,020
Low annual income, family of four: No more than $58,250
Monthly housing budget: $1,456
Although Council ultimately voted to up the goal by 5 percent, Councilors David Brown and Satyendra Huja spoke in favor of a more conservative goal.
“I think 12 percent is a good place to go at the moment,” Brown told Council. “I’d rather set a reasonable number and be able to surprise ourselves by upping it when we realize the budget is capable of that.”
Councilor Holly Edwards urged councilors to think of adding affordable units as an investment. “We invest in our roads…we invest in our fire station and housing is another area of our infrastructure that we should make an equally wise investment,” she said.
In other housing news, the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority (CRHA) has moved away from its “troubled” status list, given by the Department of Housing and Urban Development for underperforming public housing agencies. Randy Bickers, CRHA’s executive director, told City Council that the agency scored 14 out of 30 possible points in 2008, with 18 points required for a passing grade. (Points are based on the state of buildings and housing units.) Bickers explained that a low score affected the eligibility of the agency to receive additional stimulus funds; in 2009, CRHA improved its performance and scored 21 points.
Governor Terry McAuliffe popped into Mincer’s on the Corner this afternoon because he likes to visit small businesses—and he needed a new polo shirt. “Extra large,” says McAuliffe. “I’m pumped.” He was in Charlottesville to speak to UVA scholars at the Center
When local photographer Christian DeBaun set out on a Scottish vacation with his wife in August, he never imagined he’d return to the United States an international superstar. “I’ve been getting emails and friend requests and phone calls from people all over the world,” DeBaun says.
Up the road, Culpeper County denied a permit in April to the Islamic Center of Culpeper, which wants to build a new mosque, and the Department of Justice is now taking a look at that action. Here in Charlottesville, members of the Islamic Society of Central Virginia, which cut the ribbon on its
At a heavily attended June work session, which C-VILLE referred to as a “war on weddings,” the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors and planning commissioners discussed proposed regulations for events at farm wineries, breweries, cideries and distilleries. Though the county’s Planning
Goonz sentenced Daniel Mathis, Mersadies Shelton, Shanti Shelton and Kweli Uhuru, members of the 99 Goonz Syndikate, each were sentenced in federal court September 19 to life sentences for the 2013 murder of Waynesboro reserve police captain Kevin Quick. Higher return on DUI checkpoint
In the ongoing melodrama between the city and Charlottesville Parking Center owner Mark Brown, a letter from City Manager Maurice Jones says there’s no way the city will sell its Water Street Parking Garage shares to or even work with Brown, who, perhaps not coincidentally, announced plans to
Matt Bowen came upon a juvenile buck “in its last throes” early Sunday morning, September 4, on Canterbury Road in his Bellair neighborhood. He contacted Albemarle County Animal Control to humanely dispatch it, and the next day, found the deer at the same spot, albeit with a bullet hole in its
Mike Sienda is a retired Army guy who now works as a federal employee at the National Ground Intelligence Center’s Rivanna Station, aka the “spy center.” Sienda is also a Donald Trump supporter, and at a recent rally he purchased two Trump/Pence signs and riveted them to the side of his box
Teens in trouble Three young men were arrested for the spate of recent muggings around UVA. Pendarvis Marquette Carrington, 18, was charged with two counts of robbery, two for use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Two 17-year-olds were
A federal judge issued an opinion last week that allows a lawsuit against Albemarle County and police officer Andrew Holmes to proceed on its racial profiling claim, while giving Holmes qualified immunity on claims he violated the plaintiffs’ Fourth Amendment rights when he showed up at their
Michael Mann, a former UVA professor and climate scientist whose work resulted in a lawsuit from former attorney general Ken Cuccinelli, will speak about his book, The Madhouse Effect, at 7pm September 15 at City Council Chambers. “Through satire, The Madhouse Effect portrays the intellectual
To forestall the inevitable confusion of people looking for Market Plaza on Market Street, the future Water Street home of City Market has been renamed West2nd. Under a broiling sun September 8, developer Keith Woodard announced the $50 million mixed-use project’s new moniker. “We’ll still have
Armed robbery season in swing Along with the influx of students come reports of muggings: September 4 around 11pm in the 400 block of Rugby Road; August 31 around the 800 block of Cabell Avenue; August 30 in the 300 block of Sixth Street SE; and August 21 around midnight in the 1500 block of
While only about one-third of more than 500 homestays operating in town are compliant with local rules and regulations, the city’s commissioner of revenue, Todd Divers, says proposed state legislation is slowing the process of tracking down offenders and demanding they pay up. The limited
C-VILLE took an in-depth look at the 3,700 hotel rooms for rent in Charlottesville and Albemarle in May, but with the August 29 announcement of a $26 million loan secured for another hotel on West Main Street, those looking for a place to stay in town can now count on another 150 chances to do
An item on the Albemarle Board of Supervisors consent agenda August 3 was to allow the city to put up a historic plaque in Court Square in front of the county’s courthouses. Only instead of rubberstamping the request, one supervisor took issue with the content, and others complained it was yet
“Bronco’s office is under renovation,” I’m told as I walk into UVA head football coach Bronco Mendenhall’s temporary office in July. “They’re adding bookshelves.” Mendenhall sits at the end of a long table in a conference room, surrounded by pieces of paper. He looks every bit the part of a
The tale of UVA students Elizabeth Haysom and Jens Soering, who were convicted in the 1985 double murders of Haysom’s parents, has long riveted central Virginia, and a new documentary reveals how the two saw themselves as tragic characters out of Shakespeare and Dickens. Initially Soering