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Crossings II postponed for at least a year, $670K to return to city

A proposed housing development for people who are homeless in Charlottesville has been shelved for at least another year.

Virginia Supportive Housing is relinquishing $670,000 of the money it received in the fall for The Crossings II project from the Charlottesville Affordable Housing Fund, officials said Friday.

The project is modeled after The Crossings at Fourth Street and Preston Avenue, a mixed-income development which provides a place to live for people who have been homeless.

Virginia Supportive Housing, a Richmond-based organization dedicated to solving homelessness, was working with the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority for The Crossings II at 405 Levy Ave. and 405 Avon St.

CRHA owns the property.

The project was estimated to cost about $14.7 million and have 80 units, including 12 accessible to those with disabilities. The units were to be available for people who make no more than 50% of area median income.

In October, the City Council allocated $750,000, nearly all of the year’s allocations from the affordable housing fund, to the project. Earlier this month, the council extended a deadline for Virginia Supportive Housing to receive rental assistance vouchers that was a requirement to get funding.

Former Mayor Dave Norris, who is CRHA’s redevelopment coordinator, said the biggest hurdle for the project was time.

Because of the zoning designation at the proposed location, Virginia Supportive Housing would have needed to go with a by-right development in order to receive necessary approvals required to apply for low-income housing tax credits.

But Norris said that a by-right use would only allow about 40 units on the site. CRHA and Virginia Supportive Housing agreed that there wasn’t enough time before the March tax credit deadline to navigate the city’s special-use permit process to receive approval for more units.

“I think we all agreed that we’re still excited about the potential for that site, but it has to be done right and we don’t want to force something through on a by-right model that’s not going to put the site to its best use,” Norris said.

Officials at Virginia Supportive Housing didn’t return a request for comment on Friday.

In October, council allocated the remaining affordable housing fund money, about $42,000, to the Albemarle Housing Improvement Program for critical rehabilitation and emergency repairs for low-income city homeowners.

At the time, city staff recommended that the council fully fund the original $600,000 AHIP request if Virginia Supportive Housing couldn’t secure the property for The Crossings II.

However, city spokesman Brian Wheeler said on Friday that the money will just be reallocated through the Housing Advisory Committee.

Wheeler also said that the $670,000 will be combined with any funds approved by council during its meeting on Monday for a new round of allocations.

The council will consider how to allocate its $5.8 million budget surplus during Monday’s meeting. City staff recommend providing $700,000 to the affordable housing fund. Mayor Nikuyah Walker said earlier this month, however, that she supported $500,000 directly to the fund and setting aside $200,000 in a housing reserve fund to build city coffers for bigger housing projects.

Source: www.dailyprogress.com

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