A Look at 2020
Three months into 2020, covid-19 put everything at a standstill. People stayed home. Stores and businesses shut down in an effort to “flatten the curve.” And people all over the country found themselves either working from home, working long hours as essential workers or in many cases, not working at all.
In a new world with limited social interaction, we continued serving residents at our communities with new safety measures put in place. Housing counseling and financial services clients were began virtual appointments. The year was different to say the least.
Despite the logistical changes, work progressed as we continued to move our affordable housing mission forward. Below are some 2020 highlights.
In March, we suspended all evictions due to covid-19 and began waiving fees for late rent. This was in line with local and national efforts to aid renters, many dealing with financial uncertainty as a result of job loss.
One of the first actions we took to help residents and staff, was to establish an emergency assistance fund that allowed us to provide necessities and relief to current residents and staff. In May, we received $101,000 from the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation, allowing 290 households in our communities to receive rental assistance for the month.
Friendship Court Redevelopment
Prior to the pandemic, construction on Phase 1 of the Friendship Court redevelopment was to begin in spring 2020. In June, we announced that due to disruptions in the construction and financing markets as a result of COVID 19, construction would begin in the fall. Since then, the start date moved to 2021.
Virginia Individual Development Account (VIDA) program
In July, Piedmont Housing Alliance once again became an administrator of the VIDA program. VIDA is a matched savings program to help Virginians save for a down payment or closing cost for a home.
Carlton Views Added to Management Portfolio
Effective October 14, management of Carlton Views transitioned from Community Housing Partners to Piedmont Housing Alliance. This brought the total number of affordable housing units we are able to offer our service area to 703. Carlton Views includes 54 affordable housing opportunities.
Partnership with Virginia Supportive Housing and the Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless
In October, it was announced that we are teaming up Virginia Supportive Housing the Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless to build approximately 140 affordable apartments within two buildings and a mixed-use office building just north of Westfield Road on a site currently occupied by the Red Carpet Inn in Albemarle County. The community would house those experiencing homelessness.
The county Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of a proposed rezoning of the property in December.
While we were not in the office this year, we added a number of individuals to our staff. Charlene Green joined us as our new Deputy Director in February. We also welcomed a human resources specialist, a new real estate development manager and new leadership for community management – a director of a community management and a maintenance director. Two interns from UVA’s IPP program joined us as well.