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.
YMCA Kindercamp Registration Starts Soon For the first time, the Y at the Jefferson School will offer Kindercamp this summer at the Jefferson School City Center. The program is exclusively for children entering kindergarten in the fall. “This is a licensed camp that will be offered June 23
It’s an article of faith among top Republican strategists—both nationally and in Virginia—that the GOP desperately needs to improve its image (and vote totals) among women and people of color if it ever hopes to become a truly dominant political party again. Unfortunately, despite a slew of
When your hometown is burning and you’re thousands of miles away, what do you do? For locals with personal ties to Caracas and Kiev, the answer is: You worry, you watch Twitter, and you keep your phone charged. “I call every couple hours that it’s possible, when it’s daytime there, and I’m
D.J. Bickers remembers the last time the UVA men’s basketball team won the ACC title in 1981. He was in fourth grade and watched the final home game against Maryland at U-Hall with his father, a former UVA football player who instilled in his son a fierce loyalty to the school. “I have not seen
Albemarle County Public Schools parents and teachers spoke out in support of the school board’s $164.3 million funding request last week before the Albemarle Board of Supervisors. The division is $5.8 million short of what the school board says it needs. Cale Elementary principal Lisa Jones
Each week, the news team takes a look at upcoming meetings and events in Charlottesville and Albemarle we think you should know about. Consider it a look into our datebook, and be sure to share newsworthy happenings in the comments section. Take note—the weather may shift the below schedule.
Meet Literacy Volunteers Tutor Gail Rubin and her student Pamela In Gail Rubin’s six years at Literacy Volunteers of Charlottesville / Albemarle (LVCA), she’s worked with students from around the world, including Afghanistan, Tibet, Russia, South Korea, and most recently Chile. Her experience
Weeks after a January house fire killed a Keswick mother and her two children, grief-stricken husband and father Sadiqh Hussain expressed his gratitude to the community for an outpouring of support, including a fundraiser that has brought in more than $50,000. He dismissed questions about the
Nancy Tramontin has released a statement with details about her family’s relationship with the woman arrested earlier this week after allegedly attacking her. Tramontin, the wife of Charlottesville Delegate David Toscano, says she and her husband and son met Greene County teacher Claire
How much does it cost to have a car towed during a snowstorm? In Albemarle County, it can vary by hundreds of dollars because, unlike the City of Charlottesville, which caps wrecker fees, the county has no ordinance regulating towing. After the recent storm, that meant at least one county car
This story includes reporting from a previous article that ran last Thursday. The day before a marathon public hearing that wrapped with a local vote to oppose the Western Bypass last Wednesday, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) ended its year-and-a-half-long silence on the project by
Update: Wednesday 12:38pm Citing a conflict of interest, Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney Dave Chapman has recused his office from prosecuting the woman charged with breaking and entering, abduction, and malicious wounding in an incident involving State Delegate David
Our education beat coverage appears thanks to a partnership with Charlottesville Tomorrow. Legislation to change the state’s funding formula for Charlottesville and Albemarle’s education budgets has failed in Richmond. Known locally as the “Bell Amendment,” for local sponsor and Albemarle
Each week, the news team takes a look at upcoming meetings and events in Charlottesville and Albemarle we think you should know about. Consider it a look into our datebook, and be sure to share newsworthy happenings in the comments section. The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors holds a
As the results and ramifications of Virginia’s 2013 elections slowly unfolded, it seemed all but certain that the major political dramas attending the fledgling administration of Governor Terry McAuliffe would play out in the deeply divided chambers of the General Assembly. After (barely)
Wednesday was a big day for Bypass opponents. For weeks, all eyes had been on the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, whose new left-leaning, anti-Bypass majority voted to hold a public hearing yesterday on the controversial road. But the seven-hour meeting and the board’s ultimate vote to
A city elementary school teacher arrested on child pornography charges on February 10 will remain behind bars unless a forensic psychologist can determine that he poses no risk to himself or others if released on bond, Charlottesville Circuit Court Judge Jay Swett ruled in the second of two
Did the Bypass Truth Coalition violate state election law by advocating for the defeat of two Bypass-supporting Albemarle County Supervisors without proper disclosure of its finances? Lone remaining Republican Supervisor Ken Boyd thought so, and Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney Denise
The results of last November’s local and state elections were fuel on the ever-burning fire that is the debate over the Western Bypass. With a new anti-road majority on the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors—which appoints crucial voting members to the purse string-holding Metropolitan
It’s Wednesday morning, February 12, and all over Charlottesville—in fact, up and down much of the East Coast—residents are making storm preparations, snapping up groceries and rock salt by the ton. While the storm—dubbed “Pax” by the Weather Channel and “Snochi” by the Olympic-minded