Our plan preserves an affordable housing development, relinks it to its neighbors, and secures its financial health
After decades of shrinking public funding, every US housing agency struggles to pay for the maintenance of aging public housing. The nonprofit Piedmont Housing Alliance faced an even tougher task: its deteriorating housing in downtown Charlottesville needed a complete overhaul, and it had promised residents that no one would have to leave the site during reconstruction.
Working with those residents in an unusually intensive process, we drew up a plan to capture the value of the downtown location by adding hundreds of market-rate units along with additional affordable ones. That mix would generate enough value to fund high-quality replacement of every existing home. It would call for a dramatic upgrade of open spaces, unusually complex phasing (to honor the no-displacement pledge), integrated stormwater controls to end site flooding, and the addition of both a community center and preschool. The plan also ends the 11-acre site’s isolation, reconnecting it to surrounding neighborhoods and downtown.
Most important, the plan assures decades of financial stability for Friendship Court and keeps every resident in housing they can afford—in the heart of an opportunity-rich neighborhood.
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