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.
More than two months after hearing evidence regarding violations at last year’s Lockn’ Music Festival, the Virginia Board of Alcoholic Beverage Control has arrived at a decision in the case, and it’s bad news for the Nelson County event’s organizers. “…only one
Best place to live, best college town, most walkable: Charlottesville’s been praised as all of the above. Its latest accolade, “America’s happiest city,” has generated headlines the world over, and with good reason. We’re not talking about a list cobbled together by interns at a travel
It’s a humid July day, and UVA fourth-year Henry Ilnicky just wants a sandwich. From where he’s standing on 15th Street, Ilnicky could walk under a train trestle and through a third of a mile of busy Corner streets to reach his destination: Take It Away on Elliewood Avenue. But he saves over
Inside the Gothic-revival sanctuary on Market Street under sunlight streaming through stained-glass windows, a woman is getting a massage. Flowers decorate tables in the dining area, where the day’s breakfast menu offers an omelet with meat, mushroom and onion, grits, granola and yogurt, using
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. Charlottesville’s HUD Community Development
Literacy Volunteers Holds Record-breaking July Tutor Training Last Saturday, Literacy Volunteers hosted one of its most successful summer tutor trainings yet. “July is historically a tricky month to pull in a large numbers of new tutors since many people are on vacation,” said Executive
A Nelson County Circuit Court judge sentenced Randy Taylor to two life sentences in prison for the abduction and murder of 17-year-old Alexis Murphy, whose body has never been found. Taylor has maintained his innocence, but during the July 23 sentencing hearing, his attorney said Taylor would
Just how much are we looking forward to the July 28 kick-off of the federal corruption trial of former Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen? Well, let’s just say that any visitor to Odd Dominion headquarters over the next six weeks will encounter a giant “Do Not Disturb” sign and the
Two dozen family members and friends sat in Albemarle Circuit Court July 22 for the sentencing of 53-year-old Mark Weiner, who was convicted of abduction with intent to defile in May 2013 and has been jailed since his arrest in December 2012. But instead of a sentence, Judge Cheryl Higgins
Headliners like Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Willie Nelson, and Widespread Panic are onboard for this year’s Lockn’ Music Festival in Nelson County over Labor Day weekend. Not onboard so far: the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control, which has not issued a decision from a May 16 hearing
Charlottesville’s City Council voted 4-1 Monday night in favor of replacing the aging connector between downtown and Belmont with an “enhanced bridge” as opposed to an underpass—an option that would have routed traffic below existing rail lines, and enjoyed vocal support from
A recent U.S. News and World Report ranked the University of Virginia Medical Center and Martha Jefferson Hospital among the best hospitals in the region and state, based on a three-year average of data used to compile the list. In the 2014-15 ranking, the UVA Medical Center was second in
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 Architectural Review Board meets
Charlottesville police today announced the arrest of 43-year-old Uriah Bashun Lofton for malicious wounding in a July 7 stabbing case that sent one person to the hospital. Police were called to the 600 block of 7 ½ Street SW for a stabbing at approximately 1:30am, according to a news release.
The former Peabody School teacher accused of assaulting the wife of 57th District Delegate David Toscano waived her right to a preliminary hearing—the proceeding to determine if there is sufficient evidence to go to trial—by appearing in court Thursday. The case will now proceed in front of a
It’s been a year since parents checked their kids’ cubbies at Barrett Early Learning Center and found the letters announcing the board’s abrupt decision to close the preschool that’s been known for its diversity and affordability for nearly 80 years. The new board and staff are making long term
The company that owns or controls most of the public parking spaces in downtown Charlottesville is readying itself for a takeover by a local businessman in a move with major implications for the future of development in the city. According to an announcement sent to the company’s shareholders
Two companies are floating plans for natural gas pipelines through Central Virginia, and while community groups and conservationists are raising environmental concerns about both, it’s outcry from historic preservationists in the Piedmont that could form the earliest challenge of the
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 Charlottesville Board of Architectural Review
Former longtime Albemarle County Circuit Court Deputy Clerk Dayna Awkard pleaded guilty Friday morning to the embezzlement of nearly $14,000, according to court records. Awkard, a 24-year employee of the circuit court clerk’s office, resigned on March 21, shortly after a tip from an unnamed