Thursday, January 31, 2013

RRHA receives new, competitive HUD award to redevelop Fay Towers


Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RRHA), along with U.S. Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott, Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Richmond Field Office today jointly announced RRHA’s receipt of HUD’s new and competitive Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) to redevelop RRHA’s 42-year-old Frederic A. Fay Towers senior housing building, located in North Jackson Ward.

RAD will allow RRHA and other recipients the opportunity to leverage private debt and equity to make necessary improvements to distressed affordable housing stock by converting properties to either project-based Section 8 rental assistance or project-based vouchers. RRHA is one of only two public housing authorities in the Commonwealth of Virginia to be awarded by HUD.

“RRHA is excited about the opportunities that will stem from this unique grant, including the ability to leverage funding resources to create greater quality, affordable housing in the City of Richmond,” said Adrienne E. Goolsby, CEO of RRHA.  “This is truly a groundbreaking approach to building strong public-private partnerships. It greatly supports the ongoing strategic and collaborative efforts of RRHA and the administration of Mayor Dwight C. Jones to positively transform public housing and grow strong, healthy and sustainable communities.”

Congressman Scott, who represents the 3rd congressional district in which the Fay Towers senior housing is located, added: “I commend the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority on being awarded one of the Department of Housing and Urban Development's new competitive Rental Assistance Demonstration grants. This new program will help preserve and improve thousands of affordable housing units throughout the United States.  Right here in Richmond, this new grant funding will assist RRHA in redeveloping the Fay Towers senior housing building, improving the quality of life for their residents." 

“Building quality, affordable housing for our community is part of the City’s strategy for becoming a Tier One City, and to succeed we need to continue to pursue all available resources to address the issues related to housing options,” said Mayor Jones. “We are encouraged by the support of the federal Administration’s decision to award the city this grant, as it aids us in continuing to build strong relationships with our private sector.”

RAD was officially announced last summer by HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan as a groundbreaking strategy to preserve tens of thousands of public and HUD-assisted properties by giving housing authorities the opportunity to convert their current assistance to Section 8 contracts for long-term sustainability. This conversion enables public housing authorities to leverage millions of dollars in debt and equity to address immediate capital needs and preserve affordable housing units. In the process, RAD will help create and support local construction jobs in and around the participating communities.
"HUD is delighted to work with RRHA to protect critically needed affordable housing for the residents in Richmond," said Carrie Schmidt, Field Office Director. "This is a market-based approach to help RRHA tap into private capital to preserve housing for some of our most vulnerable citizens."
RRHA’s physical needs assessment of its public housing stock shows that, over the next ten years, its approximately 4,000 public housing units will need about $160 million to keep the units in safe and decent condition for families, a figure well in excess of its projected $64 million in available capital funds over the same ten-year period.

RRHA continues to hold community meetings with the Fay Towers’ Tenant Council and the entire Fay Towers community on improving the Fay Towers building, which was constructed in 1971 and contains 200 units.  The RAD grant will allow RRHA to:

       Take advantage of additional funds to make substantial improvements to Fay Towers, including renovating or replacing the entire building.

       Convert Fay Towers public housing units into long-term Section 8 (vouchers) rental assistance units to comply with RAD program requirements.

       Offer Fay Tower community members an improved living environment and more amenities.

Construction on a new Fay Towers is slated for Summer 2014.

RRHA commits to full, timely communication and community engagement throughout the entire process. All activities are and will continue to be conducted in accordance with HUD regulations. 

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About RRHA 
RRHA plays a key role in assuring the City of Richmond's bright future and has been at the forefront of affordable housing community development for 70 years. RRHA is the largest housing authority in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The Authority serves nearly 20,000 community members through its Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) programs. RRHA also manages neighborhood redevelopment and conservation programs throughout the City of Richmond. For more information, visit www.rrha.com.