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.
Original headline Tinsley fired: DMB claims it didn’t know about alleged predatory behavior In a move that has Charlottesville and the music world reeling, the Dave Matthews Band fired longtime violinist Boyd Tinsley, 54, late last night following an explosive story in online music news site
With a turbulent start to the school year, the University of Virginia undoubtedly looks a little different than it did last spring. Although outgoing President Teresa Sullivan and the UVA administration were criticized for not doing more to protect members of the university community from last
Wineries are often considered the local rural area’s crown jewels, but the living isn’t always easy for those with homes near one. The hum of a giant fan at a Crozet vineyard has one neighbor at his wit’s end. “It is truly an outrage that my wife and I are subjected to this while outside […]
‘‘You gotta be kidding me, right?” That was Gwen Williams’ initial response when a manager at the local Wegmans approached her in her car on May 2, said he’d received a complaint that an African-American woman in an orange top was panhandling in the grocery store’s parking lot, and asked if it
The lynching of John Henry James in Albemarle in 1898 for allegedly assaulting a white woman was both horrific—and all too common in the era of Jim Crow. More than 4,400 black men and women were the victims of domestic racial terrorism between 1877 and 1950, according to the Equal Justice
Two years ago, City Manager Maurice Jones announced the hiring of Al Thomas, Charlottesville’s first African-American police chief, who abruptly resigned 20 months later on December 18 following a scathing independent review of the handling of the violent events of August 11-12. Today,
You can tell it’s spring when the birds return—and start crashing into the windows at Charlottesville High while drunk on Japanese pagoda tree berries. Avid birder Walker Catlett, 17, a junior at CHS, saw cedar waxwings flying into windows, and so far has documented at least eight dead and
Baltimore’s imperial wizard of the Confederate White Knights of the KKK did not appear in court wearing his shiny Klan robes. He didn’t wear the prison stripes from previous appearances, nor did he wear the bandana and tactical vest he sported August 12 when he was videoed firing a Ruger SR9
Growth area Pantops, with its increased density and worsening traffic, has long needed a fire and rescue station, and one has been on the books maybe dating back to Thomas Jefferson, joked Albemarle Fire Rescue Chief Dan Eggleston at the official opening May 7 of Pantops Public Safety Station
Kathy Yowell-Rohm spoke softly as she pleaded guilty May 7 to felony cruelty or injury to a child and operating a home daycare without a license after police found 16 children at her Forest Lakes residence last December. One adult is allowed to care for a maximum of four children at a daycare,
In the second trial of the week for the brutal August 12 attack on DeAndre Harris, a jury deliberated 35 minutes before entering a second guilty verdict May 3 for an out-of-towner here for the Unite the Right rally. Georgia resident Alex Michael Ramos, 34, sat expressionless
Photos and text by Natalie Jacobsen Editor’s note: Check back daily through May 9 for updates on the local delegation’s visit to Winneba, Ghana, to explore the origins of slavery and the preservation of history at one of the main points of the Transatlantic slave trade. Spirits
She frequently wears a green quilted vest—and her campaign has high production values, perhaps fitting for a former “60 Minutes” producer. Two weeks before the 5th District Democratic convention May 5 in Farmville, and after 23 caucuses, Leslie Cockburn amassed the most delegates in a field of
The woman whose accusations jailed former Food Lion manager Mark Weiner for two and a half years before he was released, and led to the defeat of then-commonwealth’s attorney Denise Lunsford in 2015 was in court April 27. Chelsea Steiniger accused Michael Mills, the father of her two children,
A Charlottesville jury decided May 1 that a man from Ward, Arkansas, who took part in a brutal beatdown of a local black man in the Market Street Parking Garage on August 12, was guilty of malicious wounding, potentially setting the bar for three other assailants accused of the same
Next fall, residents of a new housing complex on West Main Street might have 99 problems, but their apartment won’t be one of them—or at least, that’s the verbiage that was handed out on keychains at Six Hundred West Main’s metaphorical groundbreaking ceremony last week. Despite pouring rain,
Spring cleaning As the weather warms, more people are outside and noticing just how trashy our scenic highways are. That’s when local groups that have adopted a highway under the Virginia Department of Transportation don their orange blaze vests and go clean up after their filthy neighbors.
A little more than two years ago, former C-VILLE Weekly co-owner Rob Jiranek was named publisher of the Daily Progress. Today, the announcement of a new publisher and Jiranek’s abrupt departure “to pursue other opportunities” caught many at the Progress by surprise. “I don’t have any comment,”
By Natalie Jacobsen A tale of two incidents at the University of Virginia School of Law library has prompted the administration to restrict access to students-only for the exam period, which ends May 11. On April 18, Charlottesville’s embattled whites-righter, Jason Kessler, entered the
When the student-run UVA Studio Arts Board asked New York artist Ed Woodham to bring his Art in Odd Places to the university, he wanted local artists to take part in the public visual and performance art, and the centerpiece of the two-day April event featured local theater artists Leslie