Fluvanna County Receives Grant to Explore Affordable Senior Housing Options
In May, 2016 with Piedmont Housing Alliance’s help, Fluvanna County received a non-competitive, $30,000 Community Development Block Project Planning Grant from the Department of Housing and Community Development. The grant will “assess the need for senior housing and the suitability of converting the Columbia and Cunningham schools into affordable senior housing,” said Betsy Lawson, Project Manager at Piedmont Housing Alliance. “It appears that there is a huge need for affordable senior housing in Fluvanna County and we are hoping that the assessments will confirm this need. We are very excited with the possibility of developing new affordable senior housing with Fluvanna County and JABA.
The grant is in two parts. $3,000 is set-aside for the first part, which will fund initial activities of a community survey and an inventory of existing affordable senior housing in the region. Once we have successfully completed the initial activities, we will be able to complete an architectural assessment of the two schools which we estimate at $20,000, and a market study estimated at $7,000.
The survey that solicits information about age and income and opinions from seniors on specific housing concerns is available online here until Friday, July 29th. Questions regarding whether they can drive, own pets or what they would look for in housing are some of the feedback that seniors can provide to help with this process. Paper copies of the survey were disseminated throughout the county at local churches, restaurants and other public locations. Many local businesses seemed excited to help out. Betsy Lawson says, “A big ‘Thank you’ to Thistle Gate Vineyard, Crust & Crumb Bakery and Fork Union Village Restaurant for collecting surveys. For anyone who missed filling out a survey at these locations, the survey will be available online until Friday, July 29th.”
If the results indicate a clear need for affordable senior housing and that the schools are the best place for senior housing and Fluvanna County chooses Piedmont Housing as the developer, then in March 2017, we can apply for a $700,000 competitive grant from DHCD. Those funds can be used for design costs and site improvements. Piedmont Housing would enter into a joint venture with JABA and they would hopefully break ground on the project in 2018.
In the event that the schools do not provide the best solution to affordable senior living, Piedmont Housing will work to identify other housing opportunities for seniors in Fluvanna County.