Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Mayor Stoney Releases Update on the RVA Education Compact

Following the successful joint City Council-School Board meeting on June 26, a resolution expressing support for the launch of the RVA Education Compact was introduced by City Council on Monday, July 17 for potential adoption on July 24. A parallel resolution will be introduced by the School Board at its meeting on August 7.

The introduced City Council resolution can be found here.

The most recent version of the draft School Board resolution can be found here.

An accompanying letter from Mayor Stoney to members of City Council and the School Board can be found here.

The RVA Education Compact is a collaborative and coordinated plan based on the fact our government, schools and community must work together to meet our challenges and ensure a brighter future for our children. Mayor Stoney is looking forward to working closely with School Board and City Council to meet the needs of children in the City of Richmond, both inside and outside the classroom.

Mayor Stoney and City’s Department of Planning & Development Review Launch Richmond 300

To watch the full video of the event, click here.

This morning Mayor Levar M. Stoney and the Department of Planning and Development Review (PDR) hosted a launch event for Richmond 300 overlooking the entire city from the Observation Deck of City Hall. Richmond 300: A Guide for Growth is the city’s Master Plan. Richmond 300 will establish a 20-year vision for the city’s growth and be developed with extensive community input. In 2037, Richmond will celebrate its 300th anniversary. What do Richmonders want the city to look like when it turns 300?

"Richmond is growing, and we all share in the responsibility of managing how we grow,” said Mayor Stoney. "This is a massive undertaking that involves aligning the myriad of City Hall efforts – overcoming the segmented approach and breaking down silos – and having one road map for the growth of our city."

Richmond 300 will be developed with extensive community engagement. As such, there will be numerous ways to participate – some more time-intensive than others. A full description of engagement opportunities can be found here, but some of the engagement opportunities include:
  • Apply for the Advisory Team. The Advisory Team is the most intense way for a citizen to be engaged in Richmond 300. The Advisory Team serves as 1) a sounding board to help shape the content of Richmond 300; and 2) liaisons to the community by helping build awareness and participating in the plan update process. Members will be selected via an open application call, selected by the director of PDR, Master Plan Project Manager, Advisory Team Co-Chairs and a Special Advisor to the Mayor before being confirmed by the City Planning Commission. If you or someone you know meets the qualifications outlined in the application and has the time to commit to the Advisory Team, please consider applying. Applications are due August 21 and can be found here.
  • Serve as a Richmond 300 Ambassador. The Richmond 300 Ambassadors are volunteers who assist in spreading the word about the Master Plan and assist at community events. Email richmond300@richmondgov.com to volunteer.
  • Serve on an Advisory Work Team. These sub-committees to the Advisory Team will be established in 2018. More information will become available as the Master Plan progresses.
  • Join the Richmond 300 email list. Email richmond300@richmondgov.com to be added to the list.
  • Follow Richmond 300 on Facebook and Instagram. Share the posts with your friends.
  • Look for many more opportunities that will become available as the process continues. These opportunities will include mobile meetings, planner’s office hours, online surveys, town halls and more.
Please submit any questions you may have to richmond300@richmondgov.com.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Monument Avenue Commission Meetings Set

The Monument Avenue Commission has set the following dates for public meetings:

Wednesday, Aug. 9
6:30 p.m.    Location:
                   Virginia Historical Society
                   428 N. Boulevard

Wednesday, Sept. 13
6:30 p.m.    Location:
                   Virginia Historical Society
                   428 N. Boulevard

For contact information and more about the Monument Avenue Commission, please click here; for more about the Virginia Historical Society, please click here.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

HUD Awards City over $2.7 Million to Protect Children and Families from Lead and Other Home Hazards

Mayor Levar M. Stoney today announced Richmond and project:HOMES have been awarded a $2,710,314 Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to protect low-income children and families from lead and other home hazards.

Mayor Stoney extended his appreciation and congratulations to the city¹s Department of Economic and Community Development and their housing and neighborhood division project development manager, Dan Mouer, the Richmond City Health District staff and their program manager for the Lead-Safe and Healthy Homes Initiative, Dona Huang, the city's grant coordinator, Christopher Johnston and all those who worked with them on this grant application to secure funds to make low-income housing safer and healthier.

The over $2.7 million coming to the city is part of more than $127 million awarded by HUD to 48 state and local government agencies to keep families and their children safe from lead-based paint and other home health and safety hazards.

”Richmond is working diligently to serve all our citizens,” said Mayor Stoney. ”The important work done to secure this sizable grant paid off, and the resulting investment we can now make will tangibly improve the lives of our low-income residents.”

The grants direct critical funds to cities, counties and states in thousands of privately-owned, low-income housing units. The award includes Healthy Homes supplemental funding to help Richmond and other communities mitigate multiple health hazards in high-risk housing simultaneously, in conjunction with their lead hazard control activities.

The HUD announcement caps the celebration of June’s National Healthy Homes Month. More information about HUD's Lead-Based Paint and Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration Grant Programs can be found here.

City’s Office of Community Wealth Building to Receive $1.9 Million Grant

The Office of Community Wealth Building (OCWB) recently received news it will be awarded a grant of $1.9 million from the Virginia Department of Social Services. The purpose of the grant is to support the efforts of the City of Richmond to expand workforce development efforts and the capacity of the Center for Workforce Innovation.

“This grant recognizes the hard work and dedication of our city’s Office of Community Wealth Building,” said Mayor Levar M. Stoney. “It will help further our efforts and advance our goals of bringing about change and building One Richmond."

The Commonwealth of Virginia’s FY 2018 budget established a new initiative intended to support efforts of localities engaged in community wealth building and related approaches to moving citizens and families from poverty to economic self-sufficiency.

“Receiving this grant from the Commonwealth is a major milestone. We are grateful for the acknowledgement of our work and excited about the tremendous impact this grant will make on our efforts to help individuals and families reach a new level of financial well-being and economic stability,” said Reggie Gordon, Director of the OCWB.

Many partners helped the OCWB prepare for the grant and supported the community wealth building initiatives, including Mayor Levar Stoney, CAO Selena Cuffee-Glenn, members of the Richmond City Council and Citizens Advisory Board, Virginia First Cities, intragovernmental partners, community partners, and most importantly, the people who have attended OCWB’s listening sessions and/or shared stories about their life struggles. Those stories formulated the strategy and approach used to make the grant application successful. OCWB is committed to being responsive to the needs of the people and helping to create pathways towards hope for thousands of Richmond households.

For more information about the Office of Community Wealth Building, contact Reggie Gordon at Reginald.Gordon@Richmondgov.com or call 646-6374.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

City Nets $16 Million Savings in Bond Market

Mayor Levar M. Stoney today announced Richmond has taken advantage of historic low interest rates and the city’s strong credit ratings to refund $142 million in existing debt service tied to four outstanding bond issues, which will result in the city reducing its existing debt service by approximately $16 million over the next 15 years.

This incredible savings was achieved as part of the successful sale of $229 million in tax-exempt and taxable General Obligation Public Improvement and Refunding Bonds, of which $87 million was for new money projects with a cost of approximately 2.77%, near the lowest cost of funds in several decades.

The bonds were highly rated by all three national credit rating agencies - Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch (Aa2, AA+, AA+ respectively). Wells Fargo was the winning bidder for the tax-exempt bonds and Raymond James was the winning bidder for the taxable bonds.

“This is how we do more,” said Mayor Stoney. “It is part of a concerted and multifaceted strategy to find and free up more dollars for our critical needs, such as our school and public safety priorities.”

Davenport & Company LLC, the city’s financial advisors, cited the recent and highly-rated credit assessments affirmed by all three national credit rating agencies for these excellent results. “This underscores Wall Street’s confidence in the city and its financial future,” added Chief Administrative Officer Selena Cuffee-Glenn.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Mayor Stoney Speaks at Special Joint Meeting Between City Council and School Board

Mayor Stoney Speaks at Special Joint Meeting Between City Council and School Board

Richmond’s AA+ GO Bond Ratings Affirmed by S&P, Fitch and Moody’s

Mayor Levar M. Stoney today announced Richmond has maintained its AA+ general obligation (GO) bond ratings from all three credit rating agencies.

“We view the city's management as very strong, with strong financial policies and practices,” stated the latest S&P RatingsDirect summary. S&P’s AA+ assessment factors also cited Richmond’s 2,445 new jobs since 2016 and $840 million in new economic investment.

Fitch upgraded the city’s operating performance factor to “aaa” for the first time and further reported, “After several years of stagnant or declining valuations, the city's taxable base has increased for the second consecutive year and the estimated 2017 valuation reflects a 3% increase.”

Likewise, Moody’s Investors Service also reaffirmed their Aa+ rating and cited Richmond’s diverse local economy, maintaining the city “is poised for continued long-term growth, as indicated by the number and scale of redevelopment projects both commercial and residential currently underway or under consideration.”

“We are working very proactively to further strengthen Richmond’s economy,” said Mayor Stoney. “I am quite pleased this is something clearly recognized and reported by the rating agencies.”

Click here for Moody's.

Click here for S&P.

Click here for Fitch.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Mayor Stoney Announces Formation of the Monument Avenue Commission

Mayor Levar M. Stoney today announced the formation of an ad hoc advisory group, the Monument Avenue Commission, to help the city redefine the false narrative of the Confederate statues that line Richmond’s grandest boulevard.

The commission will be tasked with soliciting public input and pooling its collective centuries of experience in history, art, government culture and community to make recommendations to the mayor’s office on how to best tell the real story of our monuments.

“It’s our time; it’s our responsibility to set the historical record straight on Monument Avenue’s confederate statuary,” Mayor Stoney said.

“Equal parts myth and deception, they were the ‘alternative facts’ of their time – a false narrative etched in stone and bronze more than 100 years ago – not only to lionize the architects and defenders of slavery – but to perpetuate the tyranny and terror of Jim Crow and reassert a new era of white supremacy. 

“It is my belief that without telling the whole story, these monuments have become a default endorsement of that shameful period – one that does a disservice to the principles of racial equality, tolerance and unity we celebrate as values in One Richmond today.”

Mayor Stoney has also charged the commission with exploring the possibility of adding new monuments to Monument Avenue.

“I think we should consider what Monument Avenue would look like with a little more diversity,” the Mayor said.

“Right now, Arthur Ashe stands alone -- and he is the only true champion on that street.”

To guide this process, the mayor has assembled a diverse and experienced team of experts – historians, artists, authors and community leaders.

The Mayor has appointed Christy Coleman, CEO of the American Civil War Museum, and Gregg Kimball, Director of Education and Outreach for the Library of Virginia, to serve as Monument Avenue Commission co-chairs.

Click here for a list of other commission members and city staff assigned to assist the commission, which will also work with David Ruth, Superintendent of Central Virginia for the National Parks Service, who will advise regarding this National Landmark Historic District.

Two public meetings will be held over the next 90 days. Dates, times and locations will be announced next week. Residents will also be able to offer suggestions on the website, monumentavenuecommission.org.

When he ran for office, Mayor Stoney said the Confederate statues required context – that is, an explanation of what they actually are: who built them, why they were built and how they came to preside over the culture of this city. Today’s commission announcement is the first step in fulfilling that promise.

“The best way to change hearts is to educate minds,” he said.

The Mayor also suggested another strategy to balancing the historical ledger in Richmond.

“These are all important projects, and important symbols that help educate and build a bridge to understanding a more complete history,” the Mayor said.

“Let’s make our next monument a new school. A new community center. An alternative to public housing that restores dignity and pride of place,” he said.

“America’s history has been written and rewritten and our struggle with race in this country persists, not because monuments rise or fall, but because, fear makes people falter,” the Mayor continued.

“What lasts, however – the legacy that will endure – are the people we build, the minds we enlighten and nurture, and the hearts we open on both sides.

“If we can do that, then we will not just have a few new monuments. We will have thousands – living monuments to understanding, inclusiveness, equality and promise,” the Mayor added. “They are the ones who will know the difference between myth and fact, embrace just causes, not lost causes, and they will write the next chapter in the history of our city.

“Setting the record straight on Monument Avenue is one very important step on the road to One Richmond.”


Richmond is unique among cities in many respects in how it has handled its complex and conflicted Civil War and Civil Rights history.

It was the capital of the Confederacy and the home of the first African-American Governor in the United States – L. Douglas Wilder, in 1989.

A statue of segregationist state senator Harry Flood Byrd sits on Capitol square less than 100 years away from the Civil Rights memorial honoring Prince Edward County student Barbara Johns, whose brave protests for equal treatment in education helped bring about school desegregation in the commonwealth.

We have expanded the conversation and understanding of history and erected the statue, “Reconciliation,” acknowledging this city’s role in the Triangle Slave Trade in Shockoe Bottom.

A statue of Abraham Lincoln and his son Tadd stands next to the American Civil War Museum, the only museum dedicated to telling the story of the Civil War from multiple perspectives: Union and Confederate, enslaved and free African Americans, soldiers and civilians.

Next month the city will dedicate a new statue of Richmond’s own Maggie Walker on Broad Street, and next year, an emancipation statue will be commemorated on Brown’s Island.

It is also moving forward developing a plan to commemorate the Devil’s Half Acre and Negro Burial Ground along Shockoe Creek.


The statues on Monument Avenue were erected between 1890 and 1919, as the rights of African-Americans were being systematically removed.

In 1867, 105,832 African American men were registered to vote in Virginia, and between 1867 and 1895, nearly 100 black Virginians served in the two houses of the General Assembly or in the Constitutional Convention of 1867–1868.

But in 1876, two constitutional amendments were ratified in Virginia that instituted a poll tax, disfranchising men convicted of petty offences, and the number of registered voters plunged.

By the turn of the century, as Jim Crow took hold, there were no more black legislators in Virginia until 1968.

Click here for the full remarks as prepared for the Mayor.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Mayor Stoney Releases Draft Education Compact Resolution, Sets Joint Meeting

On behalf of the Education Compact working group, Mayor Stoney is pleased to release the current working draft of the Education Compact Resolution. This Resolution updates and revises the initial draft Education Compact documents released in February 2017.

The draft Resolution specifies the content and purpose of the Education Compact, with a focus on establishing a collaborative framework aimed at addressing the needs of schools, children and families. The attached document is in the form of a proposed School Board resolution; it is anticipated City Council will consider a parallel resolution. This document is a draft and is subject to change.

A special joint meeting of Richmond City Council and the School Board will be held on Monday, June 26 at 3 p.m. at the Library of Virginia for the purposes of discussing the draft resolution. No official action on the resolution will be taken at that meeting.

In addition to the draft Compact resolution, please also see the attached explanatory “Readers’ Guide” addressing common questions concerning the Compact.

Mayor Stoney and the Education Compact working group thank all residents who have taken time to attend one of the 12 Education Compact meetings and provide feedback on the initial Compact proposal.

Click here to view the Education Compact Draft School Board Resolution.

Click here to view the Reader's Guide to the Revised Education Compact Resolution and FAQs.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Mayor Stoney Names Bobby Vincent, Jr. as Director of Public Works

Mayor Levar M. Stoney today announced former Public Works Deputy Director of Operations, Bobby Vincent, Jr., will now serve as the Director of Public Works.

Vincent began his career at the Department of Public Utilities in 1992 as an engineer. For 14 years he served in that role, managing and planning the preventive maintenance and capital improvement projects concerning water and wastewater treatment plants, as well as the combined sewer system.

“It is an honor to be named Director of Public Works by Mayor Stoney,” said Mr. Vincent. “I am looking forward to taking on the key areas of improvement needed within DPW, as recently outlined in the VCU performance review of City Hall.”

Vincent has served in numerous leadership roles, including as Operations Manager of the Roadway Maintenance Division, Interim Director of General Services, and Chief of Construction and Inspections. Most recently, Vincent served the Department of Public Works as the Deputy Director of Operations. In this role, Vincent oversaw the Divisions of Solid Waste, Grounds Maintenance, Urban Forestry, Roadway Maintenance, Street Cleaning and CIP Paving.

In total, Vincent has served the Richmond Department of Public Works for 25 years. “We could not have a more qualified or experienced person fill this important position,” said Mayor Stoney. “I am very pleased Bobby accepted this appointment.”

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Mayor Stoney Releases Education Compact Update

Richmond residents want a City in which RPS students are achieving at high levels, and in which fewer and fewer children live in poverty.  As part of his commitment to achieving that goal, Mayor Levar M. Stoney is pleased to provide the following update on the Education Compact process:

Back in January, both the City Council and School Board unanimously adopted a resolution to work with Mayor Stoney to develop a more collaborative approach to public education, known as the Education Compact.

Draft Education Compact documents were released in February.

A total of 12 public meetings, in all nine Council districts, were held between March 27 and May 17. On the basis of public input received on the Compact documents, a final resolution is now being drafted for introduction to Richmond City Council and the School Board.

The final Education Compact resolution will recommend three key collaborative actions:

  • Regular, quarterly joint meetings of City Council and the School Board, along with City of Richmond and RPS administrations.
  • Creating a Richmond Children’s Cabinet of key administrative agencies within Richmond Public Schools and agencies in the City of Richmond impacting the lives of children.
  • Establishing an Education Compact Team, comprised of representatives from School Board, City Council, RPS administration, City of Richmond administration and community stakeholders. This team will examine and make non-binding recommendations on key issues, such as long-term funding of the operating and capital needs of schools.
“This collaborative work is essential to achieving improved academic outcomes as well as significantly reducing and offsetting the impact of child poverty,” said Dr. Thad Williamson, Mayor Stoney’s Senior Policy Advisor for Opportunity.

Williamson said that as the work of the Compact progresses, detailed proposals for addressing funding issues and for articulating specific shared goals (academic and non-academic) will be developed with the input of all stakeholders and the new Superintendent of Schools.

“When Richmond Public Schools succeed, the City of Richmond succeeds,” said Mayor Levar M. Stoney. “For many children in Richmond, their RPS education is the best or even only opportunity they will have to develop their full potential and realize their dreams."

"That’s why we’re taking this important step as a community to positively impact both the quality of education in the classroom and the quality of children’s lives outside of the classroom. The unprecedented level of public input by students, parents, teachers and others invested in public education, as well as the collaboration between our School Board and Council over the last five months, has established a solid foundation for the next leader of our school system to make the transformative change RPS needs and our students deserve." 

“The Education Compact is the first step in coming together as a community and getting serious about making real change,” the Mayor said. “Our children can’t wait, and our community can’t wait, for us to get down to this important work.”

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Mayor Stoney Names Melvin D. Carter as Chief of Fire and Emergency Services

Mayor Levar M. Stoney is pleased to announce that former Deputy Fire Chief Melvin D. Carter will serve as the City of Richmond’s 21st Chief of Fire and Emergency Services.

A native Richmonder, Carter joined the Richmond Department of Fire in 1987 and rose through the ranks, serving as a company lieutenant, captain, deputy fire marshal, and battalion chief. In 2009, he was appointed deputy fire chief.

He began his career as a volunteer firefighter for the Henrico County Division of Fire starting in 1983. In 1986, he worked as a professional firefighter with the City of Petersburg Fire Department.

Carter is a member of Virginia’s National Guard leads educational sessions for local Boy Scout troops in his spare time.

“Chief Carter’s work ethic, commitment to excellence and decades of experience in our City’s fire service make him the right choice for this important position,” said Mayor Stoney. “I am confident he will serve Richmond’s residents well.”

“It is a privilege and an honor to have this opportunity to lead Richmond’s bravest in my hometown,” said Chief Carter.

Chief Carter succeeds Interim Richmond Fire Chief David I. Daniels, who joined the department in 2015 as a deputy chief and served as the city’s top firefighter for the last four months.

“I am grateful to Chief Daniels and the City of Richmond thanks him for his steady leadership and service during this important transition period for the fire department,” said the Mayor.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

City Performance Review Released by VCU's Wilder School

Mayor Levar M. Stoney this morning announced the release of a comprehensive performance review of City Hall.

Making good on his campaign promise, the Mayor commissioned the review shortly after taking office to provide him with an idea of what works and doesn’t work in the Richmond city government he inherited when he was sworn in Jan. 1, 2017.

The review, conducted over 100 days by the Performance Management Group (PMG) of the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University, examines the internal and external challenges facing City agencies, departments and their employees in the performance of their duties.  A copy of the review can be found here.

The review underscores the commitment of “many employees who are actively engaged in ways to make the city a superior place,” and “a workforce ready to step up and help the city move forward in a positive direction.” But it also paints a sobering picture of the state of city government in recent years -- a legacy of underperformance enabled by gaps in technology and training, poor communication, cumbersome processes, inconsistent policies, chronic understaffing and low morale.

“Excessive bureaucracy, micromanagement, unnecessary delays and sometimes poor leadership have led to a system that is often not as agile, responsive internally and externally, or as skillful as it should be for Richmond to become the City it could be,” the report states.

The findings support the results of public surveys conducted by the City Auditor of Richmond residents in 2008 and 2016, which revealed a stark decline in citizen satisfaction with City government, from 81% to 34%.

Specifically, the review revealed “a need for improved financial controls and reporting (Finance), better hiring processes and career development (Human Resources), streamlined procurement practices (Procurement) and upgraded and integrated technology (Information Technology).

“While all departments’ shortcoming must be improved upon, these four touch each department in major ways and are essential if all departments are to effectively deliver services and make city government as a whole healthy,” the review states.

“I am grateful to PMG’s Jim Burke and Linda Pierce and everyone involved in producing this important report,” said Mayor Stoney. “And I also want to thank the dedicated employees of our city government for their frank and honest assessments of how our government works, and in many cases, doesn’t work.

“We have some substantial challenges ahead of us to make City Hall deliver the government the citizens of Richmond deserve, and this report is an important first step in that journey,” the Mayor continued. “Moving forward, our goal with this report is not to re-litigate the past and point fingers. It’s about the fix. With the support of our employees, our City Council and our community, I am confident we will get there.”

Mayor Stoney will immediately implement the report’s recommendation to “create a cross-functional team” to prioritize the performance review report recommendations.

"The mission of the Wilder School is to serve the public interest through scholarship, teaching and direct public service. This includes service to state and local government, through which we provide expert assistance to policymakers and to public administrators," said John Accordino, Ph.D., dean of the Wilder School. "We are delighted to have had the opportunity, through this performance review, to assist the City of Richmond in its efforts to improve the quality of administration."

"It has been a pleasure working on this project to support improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of City Hall," said James M. Burke, Ph.D., director of the Wilder School's Performance Management Group, which led the review. "We know the mayor and his team will consider our recommendations as he prioritizes new initiatives alongside current ones. We are confident the improvements he and employees will bring to City Hall will be evident to the residents of Richmond in the coming years."

For more information on the performance review, please contact Brian McNeill, Public Relations Specialist University Public Affairs, Virginia Commonwealth University (804) -827-0889, (804) 938-7558 (cell) or bwmcneill@vcu.edu.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Mayor Levar M. Stoney’s Statement on City of Richmond FY 2018 Budget

The following are the remarks as prepared for Mayor Levar M. Stoney regarding the City of Richmond FY 2018 Budget:

Thank you all for being here.

First, I want to thank everyone involved in organizing and supporting my budget this year.

I proposed the largest ever single year funding increase for education, and now $170 million will be allocated for Richmond Public Schools — providing needed cost of living increases for school personnel and long overdue increases in teacher salaries.

My budget increased funding for the Richmond Police and Fire Departments, and an additional $5.5 million is finally being invested in our public safety personnel.

My budget made needed improvements to core services, including our enhanced bulk and brush pickup and we reformed leaf collection.

And my budget invested an additional $500,000 for the Office of Community Wealth Building, to help move more people into the workforce and lift more families out of poverty. 

All four of my major budget priorities: public education, public safety, core services and community wealth building were all adopted and funded by City Council, and I would be remiss if I did not thank the members of City Council for recognizing these needs, and sharing in these priorities. This is a significant achievement for us all.

Somebody once told me that policy is budget and budget is policy. And on that account, I think we got it right this year and have laid the foundation for the city, for the “One Richmond” we all want to become.

But we still have a lot of work to do. And how we go about doing it is important.

There are big questions we need to answer.

Do we work together, or apart?

Do we fear that agreement makes us look weak, or fear that we will lose power if we fail to lead?

Do we have the ability to compromise even when we disagree?

Do we trust each other?

As you know I have expressed serious concerns over Council’s budget amendment, which would require Council approval, by ordinance, on many transfers of funds within departments of city government.

My concern has centered around the belief that adding this potentially weeks-long layer of bureaucracy, with the potential for 50 to 100 plus ordinances during the course of a year, would make City Hall operate even less efficiently than it does already, and leave us less responsive to the real-time needs of our residents.

I’m also concerned over the lack of transparency in how the amendment was introduced by Council without consultation with the administration – and that no other municipality in the commonwealth has chosen to follow this practice.

Let me say that I understand that in previous administrations there have been serious concerns expressed by Council over transparency and accountability of finances in City government. I appreciate Council’s concern and it is also a concern of mine. In fact, it is one of the reasons I ran for office.

But I want to make two things clear:

1.    This is not the last administration, and I do not believe it serves us to relitigate the mistakes of the past. We should be focused on the future.

2.    Going forward, our city is not served by this level of discord and distrust. It’s time for all of us to step up, and commit to working with each other, not against each other.

It is what I want. 

It is what the people want.

And that is why, after careful consideration, I have decided that I will not veto Council’s amendment.

We need to move forward with the business of the people.

The Citizens of Richmond do not want to see us fight – that is the old way. They want us to govern. They want Council to legislate and they want me to lead.

They want the City to work.

So we need to do so in a way that is responsible, follows best practices and helps us be as efficient and responsive as possible.

That is why I hope Council will work in the coming weeks to modify, and perfect this most imperfect legislation. And that, in the future, we will work together to find the path to the efficient and transparent government our residents deserve.

To do so will require trust, transparency and a willingness to compromise.

That is my pledge today, by NOT issuing this veto. I hope Council will join me and help move our city forward.

Thank you.


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

City's Finance Department and Auditor Reach Agreement

~ Audit Scope Includes Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Terms to Protect Business and Taxpayer Records ~

Mayor Levar M. Stoney today announced the city’s auditor and finance department have agreed to terms providing for an audit of the Assessments Unit within the Department of Finance, which will be initiated immediately. This establishes a cooperative effort to ensure the city has the proper process in place to collect outstanding tax revenues due to the city, while ensuring any special access to proprietary information relating to city businesses or taxpayers will be kept confidential.

“I commend our Director of Finance, John Wack, and our Auditor, Umesh Dalal, for their work in reaching this agreement,” said Mayor Stoney. “Working together to collect revenues owed to the city will benefit every city department and every city taxpayer.”

“I appreciate Mayor Stoney facilitating the performance of an audit with the Finance Department that will ensure accountability and transparency over city resources,” said City Auditor Dalal.

The scope of the Assessments Unit audit will include calendar years 2015 and 2016, encompassing the 24 months ending December 31, 2016. Messrs. Wack and Umesh are now finalizing an agreement for two additional audits of the city’s Revenue Administration, for the Delinquent Tax Unit and the Audit and Enforcement Unit.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Richmond Ranked Among 20 Most Vibrant Arts Communities

Richmond now ranks within the twenty most vibrant arts communities among large cities in the United States. The ranking comes from Southern Methodist University’s National Center for Arts Research and the publication of their third annual Arts Vibrancy Index, which studies and calculates the measure of arts vibrancy for over 900 communities throughout the nation.

The index measures the number of arts providers and artists, economic impact, government support and other cultural indicators. More information and the full report can be found here.

Mayor Levar M. Stoney, a strong supporter of Richmond’s arts community and advocate for the city’s cultural assets, said he is thrilled to see Richmond once again affirmed as a major creative hub in the United States. “Our arts and cultural assets define Richmond,” said Mayor Stoney, “They enrich not only our lives, but also the city’s pocketbook — all while helping to attract new employers, visitors and interest in Richmond.“

Monday, April 17, 2017

Mayor Kicks off Earth Week With New Sustainability Plan Announcement

Mayor Levar M. Stoney today announced RVAgreen 2050, a new comprehensive sustainability planning initiative. It is the next step in the evolution of the city’s sustainability agenda, which builds upon the solid foundation formed by the existing RVAgreen sustainability plan adopted by City Council in 2012. Great progress has been made to date, with 10 out of 13 sustainability indicators tracking positively. The city’s renewable energy capacity has increased by over 44,000% since 2008, community-wide energy use has decreased 1.5% and community recycling rates have increased 26%. The City has achieved 20 out of 55 sustainability initiatives and is on track to complete another 14 by the end of 2017.

RVAgreen2050 will begin with a summit this summer to start the planning process to develop our Community Energy Plan, the first step in a four-part plan. This comprehensive plan will be broken down into four major areas that will help Richmond create a healthier, more vibrant, economically competitive and resilient community:
  • Community Energy Plan
  • Deep Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Plan
  • Climate Action Plan
  • Placemaking Strategy
The City is undertaking this new sustainability planning effort to reach the goal of reducing city government and community greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050. As of Dec. 31, 2015, city government greenhouse gas emissions are down 11% and community greenhouse gas emissions are down 15%.

Please click here to visit the City's Sustainability page.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

City to Receive $1.3 Million Interest-Free Loan From the Virginia Resources Authority

The Virginia Resources Authority announced Thurs., March 30 the State Water Control Board has authorized funding from the Virginia Water Facilities Revolving Fund to the City of Richmond. The funding consists of an interest-free loan in an amount up to approximately $1.3 million.

The loan will be used to finance a pilot program to identify the benefits and cost-effectiveness of alternatives to permeable pavement surfaces in city alleyways, and the impact of these alternatives on storm water runoff reduction.

“We sincerely appreciate this Virginia Resources Authority loan,” said Mayor Levar M. Stoney. “The pilot program this loan will fund will allow us to better understand what we can do to manage storm water runoff and control water pollution affecting our city.”

“This loan will greatly benefit DPU’s ongoing commitment to utilize green infrastructure BMPs (Best Management Practices) within the storm water utility,” s­­aid DPU Director Bob Steidel. “Ratepayers will also see a benefit as a result of the interest-free funding.”


Since 1987, the Virginia Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund has been providing low interest loan funding for water quality improvement projects throughout the Commonwealth. Funds are currently provided to local governments, public service authorities, agricultural producers, partnerships and corporations for a variety of project types. Loan repayments are circulated back into the fund to create a dedicated source of revenue available for future clean water projects.

The purpose of the Virginia Land Conservation Loan Program is to provide a long-term source of low interest financing for the conservation of land in Virginia in order to improve and/or protect the water resources of the Commonwealth. Additional benefits of the program include the protection of open space or natural values of the properties and/or the assurance of the availability of the land for agricultural, forestal, recreation or open space use. Although these other benefits are of value, the principle focus and utilization of the fund is on beneficial impacts to water quality.


Monday, April 10, 2017

Mayor Stoney Marks Successful First 100 Days

Watch the “Mayor’s Minute – First 100 Days” here.

Today, April 10, 2017, marks Mayor Stoney’s 100th day in office after being sworn in and pledging to work every day to build One Richmond – a city that works for everyone.

The Mayor has hit the ground running, making good on his promise to be engaged in the community and initiate much needed reform focused on the core priorities of improving public education, promoting public safety, creating economic opportunity and fixing City Hall.

Mayor Stoney has visited fire stations, police precincts and a third of city schools already, in addition to more than 100 public appearances in his first months in office. He has also joined council members in district walk-throughs or held community meetings in nearly every district.

In just the first few months into his administration, the Mayor has won consensus with the School Board and City Council on an Education Compact to address the needs of the whole child, helped attract hundreds of new jobs to the city and introduced a GRTC transit plan that will reduce commutes and waiting times without increasing fares.

He launched an independent and comprehensive performance review of every city department to make City Hall work again, and introduced a balanced budget that makes record investments in city schools while also increasing funding for public safety and community wealth building.

“It’s been a great 100 days,” said Mayor Stoney. “I want to thank the community for all of its support. The best is yet to come.”

Below is a list of some of the administration’s accomplishments over the first 100 days.


Fix City Hall / Departmental performance:
Initiated a 100-Day performance review by the Performance Management Group to find out what works and what needs improvement in City Hall. Took swift action to change leadership of several departments.

Education Compact:
Unanimous adoption by School Board and Council to work toward multi-agency, intergovernmental compact to address needs of the whole child.

Community Engagement:

More than 100 public appearances, including schools, police and fire stations, community walks and meetings in every district.

Public Safety:
Police Department is establishing a public housing unit. Trained more than 450 residents in use of force training. Three new fire engines were commissioned.

Public Works:
Prioritized residential streets in addition to primary roads during January snow storm and plowed 80% of streets within 24 hours. More than 4,500 potholes filled since January.

Welcoming City:
Issued Mayoral Directive reaffirming policies of inclusion. Among them: police will not inquire about immigration status and will not enter into 287(g) agreements with federal Immigrations Customs Enforcement. Joined Welcoming America and list of Welcoming Cities. Signed Mayor’s Against LGBT Discrimination national pledge.

Economic Development:
Nearly 700 new jobs brought to Richmond, including fortune 500 company Owens & Minor, Inc. to downtown Richmond, and the expansion of TemperPack in South Richmond.

Regional Leadership:
The Mayor accepted the role as co-chairman of the Capital Region Collaborative and has met multiple times with leaders in Hanover, Henrico and Chesterfield.

Took important steps to remaking our Transit network to connect city workers to where jobs are located - and to get residents to their jobs faster - without any fare or tax increase.

A balanced $681 million budget that does not raise taxes, including a record $6.1 million increased investment for schools, plus $1.3 million for police, $1 million for fire and $500,000 for community wealth building. One-time surplus money dedicated to finishing emergency communications system, repairing an estimated 1,300 alleys and getting a head start on grass cutting.

Finance and Administration:
The 2016 CAFR to be completed by the end of April. City is on schedule to complete the 2017 CAFR on time. Successful visit to New York bond rating agencies to preserve current rating, which produced a positive report from Fitch Ratings to affirm City is on track for AAA rating.

Richmond Animal Care & Control:
Achieved an 89% save rate in 2016 and since January has already taken in and cared for 698 animals with a 92% save rate in 2017.


Monday, April 3, 2017

City Celebrates Mayor and County Recognition Day for National Service

Mayor Levar M. Stoney, along with Henrico County’s Deputy County Manager for Community Operations, Tim Foster, will spotlight the impact of national service in the Richmond region and thank those who serve during a 9 a.m. recognition ceremony tomorrow, Tuesday, April 4, for the fifth annual Mayor and County Recognition Day for National Service. The event will be held at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, located at 1440 N. Laburnum Avenue.

More than 4,000 mayors and county officials from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico will hold public events and use both traditional and social media to highlight the value and impact of national service to the nation’s cities. This initiative is being led at the national level by the federal agency for service and volunteerism, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), along with Cities of Service and the National League of Cities. The City of Richmond has participated in the Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service since its inception.

After the 9 a.m. event, sponsored by the city’s Office on Volunteerism and Neighbor-to-Neighbor (N2N) initiatives, volunteers will join in performing the following service projects around the city and region from 10:15 a.m. to 2 p.m.:

Locations:                                                                 Description of Service Projects:
Evergreen Cemetery                                                  Remove invasive species; beautify the grounds
Eastern Henrico Recreation Center                           Create education/reading packets for elementary 
                                                                                   school children
If you are interested in attending this event and volunteering, please sign up here. Please visit the city’s N2N page to view a list of other upcoming volunteer opportunities. If you have any questions or need assistance with registering with N2N, please call (804) 646-6528.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Fitch Reaffirms City's AA+ Credit Rating

Fitch Ratings, one of the three nationally recognized credit rating agencies for municipal governments, published their annual review of the City of Richmond following a visit to their New York office last month by Mayor Levar Stoney, City administration leaders and representatives from the City’s financial advisor, Davenport & Company LLC.

Fitch reaffirmed the City’s “AA+” credit rating, which is considered highly rated and one notch below “AAA,” the highest possible rating attainable.  According to Fitch, “The 'AA+' Issuer Default Rating reflects the city's strong operating performance and financial resilience, a solid revenue framework and a liability burden at the low end of the moderate range, all supported by a growing economic base.”

Fitch assigned their “aa factor assessment” to the City’s Revenue, Expenditure and Long-Term Liability Burden, while assigning their “aaa factor assessment” to the City’s Operating Performance, citing “The combination of revenue and expenditure flexibility, supplemented by reserve funding, should enable the maintenance of a high level of financial flexibility during cyclical economic downturns.”
“I was pleased Fitch has concluded our City’s economy is gaining strength from education and health services, after being dominated by the government sector,” said Mayor Stoney. “The fact our economic development efforts have contributed so strongly to our positive credit rating also emboldens us to continue with the ongoing revitalization of Richmond.”

Fitch cited Richmond as a growing metropolitan area and regional center for employment and cultural amenities.  In assessing the City’s credit profile, Fitch found, “Economic development efforts are focused upon leveraging additional growth in the life-sciences sector, enhancing a solid financial services sector and redeveloping select city neighborhoods.” Richmond’s Chief Administrative Officer Selena Cuffee-Glenn added, “Our attention to key financial best practices and growth in economic development proved to be key drivers in Fitch’s analysis.”

Davenport’s Senior Vice President and Manager of Public Finance, David Rose, concluded “Fitch was clearly impressed by the Mayor’s vision for the City and his approach to making Richmond the best it can be.  This report demonstrates Fitch’s comfort with the new mayor.” Fitch’s summary can be read here.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Richmond Selected as Finalist for RWJF Culture of Health Prize

Richmond has been chosen as a finalist for the fifth annual RWJF Culture of Health Prize given by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. As a finalist, Richmond is one step closer to the national Prize which honors communities that understand health is a shared value and everyone has a role to play in driving change.

“This is truly an amazing recognition as it points to what we have set out to accomplish; a city that works for everyone,” said Mayor Levar M. Stoney. “This selection as a finalist helps reinforce we are moving in the right direction to create a healthy community for all of RVA. We have changed the way we approach public education, poverty and job creation, which enables us to better reach those who need our help the most.”

Selected from more than 200 communities across the country, Richmond joins 10 other finalist communities. Winners will be announced this fall.

“Building a culture of health in Richmond is not just about physical health, “said Richmond City Health District Director Dr. Danny Avula. “It’s about safer, greener neighborhoods, more reliable transportation, cradle to career social and educational supports, and building hope and agency in communities with high rates of poverty. Richmond has been working hard to ensure fairer access to resources for all residents and to become a healthier, more united city, and we are so pleased to advance as a RWJF Culture of Health Prize finalist community.”

The Prize is guided by the principle that every community has the potential to improve and be a healthier place to live and thrive. To earn finalist status, Richmond had to demonstrate how it excelled in the six Prize criteria:

•    Defining health in the broadest possible terms.
•    Committing to sustainable systems changes and policy-oriented long-term solutions.
•    Cultivating a shared and deeply-held belief in the importance of equal opportunity for health.
•    Harnessing the collective power of leaders, partners, and community members.
•    Securing and making the most of available resources.
•    Measuring and sharing progress and results.
“The RWJF Culture of Health Prize finalists continue to show what’s possible when communities make health a high priority and bring diverse partners together,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, RWJF president and CEO. “Our team looks forward to visiting these communities to learn more about how they are leveraging their unique strengths to build a Culture of Health.”

If selected as a Prize winner, Richmond will be given a $25,000 cash prize and opportunities to share their story and lessons learned with the country. They will also join a national network of past winning communities.

To learn about the work of the 27 previous Prize winners, visit rwjf.org/prize.

Monday, March 6, 2017

FY 2018 Annual Fiscal Plan Transmittal Letter

Click here to view the FY 2018 Annual Fiscal Plan Transmittal Letter prepared by Mayor Stoney and submitted to City Council today. The letter contains highlights of the Mayor's proposed FY 2018 budget

Phase II of Intermediate Terminal and Riverfront Access Project beginning March 6

Demolition begins Monday, March 6 to remove the 4-foot concrete warehouse foundation for the IntermediateTerminal.and Riverfront Public Access Project. The second phase also includes grading, seeding and refurbishing the Terminal Dock. At completion the dock will be ready to receive cruise ship traffic.

Phase II is expected to be completed by June.  

Ahead of Phase III, as part of the Riverfront Master Plan, a public meeting will be scheduled in the near future to present conceptual options for the Terminal Dock and Lehigh Property. The improvements at both the Terminal Dock and Lehigh properties are expected to provide public park space and public riverfront access.

Phase I, which included structural restoration of the Terminal Dock, was completed last December.

The project budget of $2,944,318 is being funded with Capital Improvement funding.

For information on city services and schedules, please visit us on line at RichmondGov.com.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Mayor's Annual Report on Poverty Reduction

Annual Report on Poverty Reduction and
Community Wealth Building Intiatives
in the City of Richmond, Virginia

Transmitted to City Council and
The Maggie L. Walker Citizens Advisory Board


Mayor Levar M. Stoney

February 27, 2017

Preface from Mayor Levar Stoney

Ordinance 2015-240 requires the Mayor of Richmond to file an annual report to City Council and make a presentation at a Council meeting prior to March 1st each year providing an update on the City’s progress in the implementation of the comprehensive poverty reduction strategy.  The report must include evaluative metrics that are as consistent as possible from year to year, and must provide an account of the major activities of the Office of Community Wealth Building.  By ordinance, the report also must carry the signature of the Mayor.

I am pleased to hereby transmit this report to City Council and the Maggie L. Walker Citizens Advisory Board. The attached document provides an update on the strategy and action plan, which is being led by the Office of Community Wealth Building.

Introduction and Background

After years of analysis and debate, Richmond is taking bold and innovative steps to improve life conditions for thousands of Richmond citizens, as evidenced by the creation of an office within City government tasked with leading a citywide poverty reduction effort.  The foundational documents that memorialize the research, analysis, metrics and community input that has shaped the current Community Wealth Building strategy can be found in the Mayor’s Anti-Poverty Commission Report (January 18, 2013), the Annual Report on Poverty Reduction and Community Wealth Building Initiative in the City of Richmond (February 22, 2016) and the Office of Community Wealth Building Year One Annual Report (April 2016).  The aforementioned documents are available for review through the Office of Community Wealth Building.  The staff in the Office of Community Wealth Building takes responsibility for advancing the recommendations from the Anti-Poverty Commission as articulated in the Year One Annual Report (April 2016).

The updates to the targets and metrics from the 2016 Annual Report are included in the Appendix. 

Here are the major accomplishments or observations since last year’s annual report to Council and to the Citizens Advisory Board:

Clarity, Action Steps and Challenges

During the course of this year, the Office of Community Wealth Building recognized inconsistency in the way some stakeholder and community partners described the target population served by their respective organizations.  In order to confirm their community-wide leadership role of the Office of Community Wealth Building and to encourage shared terminology and categorization, the Office hosted a Virtual Town Hall Meeting on September 22, 2017.  The Office promoted the Virtual Town Hall by way of various social media platforms.  According to the analytics after the event, 250 individuals registered to participate in the event.  Some participants hosted “Listening Parties” in their place of employment or at their school.  The event could also be viewed at all of the public libraries.  Therefore, the successful event reached hundreds of Richmond residents. 

Participants in the Town Hall were asked to submit a survey indicating their area of interest or expertise.  The staff used the survey results to create a distribution list to invite the participants to convene for follow-up conversations.  Those conversations began in October and are ongoing.  The goal is to complete the follow-up network meetings by the end of March 2017.  At that point, a significant percentage of providers, agencies, ministries and the general public will have heard the shared vision and had the opportunity to align their perspective to the Self Sufficiency Framework.

The fundamental aim of the Office of Community Wealth Building is policy and structural change.  Our community of providers need to work in concert to build a coherent ladder out of poverty through access to quality employment and related supports, bolstering the community and economic assets of low income neighborhoods, and creating stronger neighborhoods and educational opportunities to improve the life chances of Richmond’s low income children. 

The goal is to alleviate systemic and structural barriers so that 1000 citizens each year are able to move to a thriving level of economic stability.  The best way to organize the movement of these individuals (head of households) toward upward mobility is to have a uniform and shared framework. 

In Crisis
At Risk
       No Income or
       No skills or credentials
       Homeless or
unstable housing
       No or unreliable transportation or child care.
       Safety and mental health risks are high
and/or Legal Problems
       Seeking job or temp/seasonal job or other legal income
       Temporary or
transitional housing
       Transportation and
child care available, but not affordable or reliable
       Seeking GED or
vocational training 
       Employed in semi-
stable job
       Housing is stable and is affordable (maybe with subsidy)
       Transportation and
child care are generally reliable and affordable
       Has high school diploma, GED, or vocational training
       Permanent &
stable job paying living wage 
       Housing is stable & and is affordable without subsidy
       Transportation and
child care are reliable and affordable
       Career &
educational plan in place; active & ongoing learning
       Permanent, stable employment
sufficient to build assets
       Housing is permanent & affordable without subsidy
and child care are reliable and affordable
       Education and career plan being implemented

Employment and Job Creation Strategies

Two of the Tier One Recommendations for Action in the Anti-Poverty Commission report were: 1.) expand the existing workforce pipeline program, and 2.) begin identifying and recruiting/ supporting employers capable of and interested in employing significant numbers of low income Richmond residents.  We made important progress this year.   

The Center for Workforce Innovation (CWI) at 900 East Marshall is the workforce pipeline program of the Office of Community Wealth Building.  CWI continued its mission of connecting residents to employment opportunities and providing a variety of training programs to participants.  The employment goal for CWI is to help participants find work in an occupation or career that is in demand and pays a wage sufficient to enable the participant to transition off of social supports.  CWI measures its performance by documenting the number of individuals participating in services, the number of individuals hired into employment, the number of unique employers hiring individuals through OCWB activities, and average starting wage.

Participants in CWI must complete an initial orientation session and an initial “contract” to enroll in the program. Once enrolled, participants receive detailed case management based upon an assessment of the participant’s situation and specific employment and career goals. Participants then may be referred to a training program operated by CWI, such as the Workforce Professionals course, or by another public or private provider. The focus of CWI’s training programs are based on an analysis of the local labor market to identify sectors in which there is high demand, relatively short training time, and the possibility of entry-level employees building an upwardly mobile career path. Participants may also receive assistance with services such as transportation to job interviews, obtaining appropriate job-related clothing, mock interviews, and related services. CWI staff continue to work with actively engaged participants until the goal of obtaining employment is reached, and also provide support to participants after they are on the job. 

Last fiscal year (fiscal year 2016), 390 unemployed and underemployed individuals were enrolled in career coaching and training services.  CWI assisted 212 participants gain employment with an average wage of $9.95 per hour.   CWI had an 81% success rate. Most importantly, CWI was able to assist 75 individuals with sustaining themselves above the poverty line. CWI is trending to have similar results this fiscal year.  CWI currently has six full-time staff positions within the Office of Community Wealth Building and also utilizes two employees of the Department of Social Services who are on long-term loan to the unit. CWI also uses contract employees to provide instructional, administrative, and security services.

The economic impact on the City and region is inarguable.  The citizens who achieved success in the CWI program were primarily heads of households.  Therefore, 212 people added more revenue to the tax base, supported their obligations with their children, purchased their own goods and services and felt a renewed sense of dignity. 

Approximately 15,600 people visited CWI last year. With the current level of staff capacity they were only able to provide intensive support to 390 citizens.  The need is great.  Richmond has thousands of people who on their own volition find their way to CWI, hoping to find a pathway to a better paying job or career.  The Office of Community Wealth Building has estimated that more than 20,000 adults in Richmond could benefit from CWI’s unique, intensive approach to self-sufficiency through quality employment, if CWI were able to dramatically expand its capacity.      

The Center for Workforce Innovation has established several innovative partnerships with local businesses to enhance employment opportunities and services for participants. Those businesses include Luck Stone, the Dog Wagon, GRTC, Admiral Security, Lowes, Richmond Public Schools, the City of Richmond, VCU, Advance Auto Parts, Altria, Greenfield Senior Living and Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center. 

During the course of this year, the Office of Community Wealth Building, working with the Department of Economic and Community Development, was able to attract two major employers to downtown Richmond with jobs that pay salaries of $30,000 and up.  This was the ultimate success.  Jobs that are accessible on public transportation, within companies that have career potential and were attracted to the mission and goals of the Office of Community Wealth Building and the professionalism of CWI.  CoStar will bring 700 jobs to Richmond.  Owens and Minor is adding 300 new jobs to its workforce that will be based in downtown Richmond.  Both companies are working with CWI on training programs that will ensure the success of individuals who are hired by the company as a result of their participation in CWI.  Not only will these jobs be life altering for the CWI participants who are hired, but other downtown businesses and City finances will benefit from the major corporations selecting to locate their operation in Richmond.  

Another central recommendation from the Commission was to build upon the City’s emerging workforce efforts by devoting targeted resources to address common barriers to employment such as inadequate transportation and access to child care, and by adopting a holistic approach to service delivery focusing on the family unit as a whole.
To fulfill this recommendation, BLISS—Building Lives to Independence and Self-Sufficiency—was launched as a pilot in 2015 within CWI to provide employment support and wrap-around support services to low-income families in Richmond. The goal of the program is to help families achieve long-term economic self-sufficiency. The program assesses and tracks the well-being of participating households across eighteen domains including housing, employment, income, food, child care, children’s education, adult education, health care, life skills, family social relations, access to mobility (transportation), community involvement, parenting skills, legal status, disability status, mental health, substance abuse, and safety.  The participants in the program are selected from Richmond Redevelopment & Housing Authority properties or RRHA voucher recipients. The families are diverse with respect to family structure, nation of origin, native language, age of head of household, and past employment experience.

BLISS case managers work to build relationships of trust with participating families, so that obstacles and barriers can be openly discussed and approached from a problem-solving perspective. Services provided to BLISS participants include:
Development of a long-term, household-specific plan for moving towards self-sufficiency and thriving, based on initial interviews as well as home visits and frequent follow-up
·      Enrollment in GED classes (registration, books and supplies)
·      Enrollment in ESL classes (registration, books and supplies)
·      Referrals to advanced training classes including welding, forklift, medical coding (registration for exam and test prep materials)
·      Transportation for work-related purposes via GRTC, bicycles, and vehicle repair services
·      Placement in high quality child care via VCU Health Systems
·      Enrollment in Head Start and the Virginia Preschool Initiative
·      Referrals for short-term employment and long-term secure employment

Currently the head of household is working in 18 of 19 families. As of January 31, 2017:
·      19 families (71 people total) participate in the BLISS program
·      94% of BLISS families are employed (18 out of 19 families)
·      94% have made strides toward the goal of moving to “Thriving” by obtaining employment and pursuing education

The BLISS staff is based at 203 E. Cary Street, the location of the federally-funded Resource Workforce Center. Co-location with the Resource Workforce Center provides additional meeting space for meetings with participants and facilitates a stronger relationship with the Resource Workforce Center.

This year the BLISS holistic methodology was adapted and applied to the Gilpin Court Early Childhood Pilot Program. The case manager for this program focuses on residents in Gilpin with young children and tries to personally engage them in a process of moving towards long-term self-sufficiency, using a holistic approach.

Another area that could lead to hundreds of job and career opportunities for CWI participants is the expansion of the businesses which will complement the Richmond Marine Terminal (Port of Richmond).  It is anticipated that the long-term arrangement at the Port will facilitate infrastructure investment and job creation in the Marine Terminal and surrounding area over the next decade and beyond. The Director of the Office of Community Wealth Building is the chair of the Subcommittee of the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce tasked with developing a workforce pipeline to fill jobs created at or near the Richmond Marine Terminal in coming years.

Democracy Collaborative, a nationally known consulting firm produced a report and work plan for the City in July 2016 that outlined viable social enterprises that could employ at least 50 residents at living wages of $15.00/hour within 36 months.  The report from Democracy Collaborative incorporated the perspective and analysis of more than 100 business and nonprofit representatives in the region.  The final report is available through the Office of Community Wealth Building.  The three business ideas are Richmond Community Construction (a construction finishing and framing service for anchor institutions or RRHA); Richmond Community and Property Management Cooperative (a business that would clean, prep and repair housing units to get them ready for the next tenants); and Richmond Community Health (a community health worker business that would provide support to discharged patients in their homes).  The Social Enterprise Specialist is currently exploring the viability of these business ideas in accordance with the work plan created by Democracy Collaborative.

The Conrad Center for Culinary Training launched this year as part of the social enterprise work of the Office of Community Wealth Building.  As a result of the screening process at CWI, six (6) individuals were able to enroll in the inaugural culinary training program at the Conrad Center in October 2016.  During the training program the students were exposed to several leading restaurant owners and chefs in Richmond, with the expectation that they would be able to work with them at some point in the future.  All of the students were able to secure jobs in the food industry at the conclusion of the training program.  Currently, the Office of Community Wealth Building is in conversation with J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College to see how the City and J. Sargeant Reynolds can collaborate on complementary programs, since J. Sargeant Reynolds is poised to open a culinary training program in the East End within the next several months. 

Social Enterprise development will remain a strong component of the Office of Community Wealth Building strategy.  For some citizens with backgrounds that might limit their work options, the ability for CWI to have an alternative option for participants to leverage their own talents and start their own business is critical.  Social enterprise training is in development with the Office of Minority Business Development that will educate them on the basic mechanics of operating a sustainable business.  
Finally, the Mayor’s Youth Academy (MYA) moved to the Office of Community Wealth Building in January 2017.  The Mayor’s Youth Academy is now a program under CWI.  The program is a multifaceted effort to not only connect Richmond teenagers to summer employment, but also provide year-round support and a variety of activities aimed at promoting career and life readiness. The MYA provides development opportunities to youth throughout the City of Richmond such as job readiness training, leadership development, exposure to entrepreneurship, mentoring, and post-secondary career exploration. The goal is to develop Richmond's future workforce into determined, successful citizens who will one day become our City's leaders.  The CWI staff is currently in the process of hiring a manager for the program. 


Another Top Tier recommendation of the Anti-Poverty Commission was to strengthen the PreK-12 educational pipeline.  The goal is to develop of a comprehensive educational pipeline to support the success of children in poverty and help improve outcomes in the school system as a whole. Four areas have been identified, each of which is of critical importance:
Early Childhood Education
·      Out-of-School Time for adolescents
·      Connecting high school graduates to career and college opportunities
·      Providing support services to students and families in poverty

During the course of this year, the OCWB maintained the approach of providing support to providers, partners and stakeholders who had primary responsibility for programs and initiatives that would help advance the areas of critical importance. 
·      The Richmond Early Childhood Cabinet. The Cabinet, based loosely on the Children’s Cabinet established in 2014 by Governor Terry McAuliffe at the statewide level, is a monthly gathering of key program managers and decision makers impacting early childhood in both the City of Richmond and Richmond Public Schools. Participants include directors or representatives from Social Services, the Early Childhood Development Initiative, Richmond Public Library, the Office of the Deputy CAO for Human Services and Office of Community Wealth Building on the City side, and Head Start, Virginia Preschool Initiative, and the Director of Curriculum & Instruction on the RPS sides. This team meets monthly to share information and identify opportunities for collaboration, as well as help develop a strategic “Road Map to Kindergarten” for improving early childhood education in Richmond. The Cabinet began meeting in April 2015.
The Richmond Early Childhood Action Council.  The Early Childhood Action Council includes the City of Richmond and Richmond Public Schools (administration and school board), but also many key community providers and funders of early childhood education. Participating organizations include Childsavers, Family Lifeline, Friends Association for Children, the YWCA, Robins Foundation, the United Way, and others. The Council meets semi-monthly; six work teams have been formed to address key issues, all culminating in the development of a comprehensive strategic framework for addressing and meeting early childhood needs in Richmond.
The City of Richmond was awarded a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in 2015 to build upon our collaborative early childhood work. These funds are being used to staff the work of the Richmond Early Childhood Cabinet and Action Council and lead completion of a comprehensive assessment and strategic plan for Early Childhood needs; to conduct extensive community outreach concerning early childhood education in proximity to each of Richmond’s public housing communities; and to launch a pilot family engagement program in Gilpin Court, in collaboration with the Friends Association for Children and Partnership for Families. This grant funding is also being used to conduct community engagement activities and in-depth surveys on issues facing families of young children with low-income residents citywide. The Comprehensive Assessment and Strategic Plan was completed this year and is currently being used to inform the City of Richmond/Richmond Public Schools Education Compact.
RVA Reads.  The RVA Reads program is a collaboration between Richmond Public Library, Richmond Public Schools, and the Office of Community Wealth Building. The program involves monthly readings by parents and volunteers in the City’s preschool centers of children’s books, and distribution of books to each child each month. Each book also comes with reading tips to encourage home reading by parents with their children. The program is a yearlong initiative operating not only in the four preschool centers, but also in additional community sites. More than 1,000 books a month are distributed to children and families through the program, and numerous City agencies have contributed volunteer readers to the effort.

Non-departmental Partners

NextUp RVA
, a public-private partnership now in its third full year of programming, aims both to provide strong support to students that reinforces positive academic and social development, while also lifting the aspirations of students by exposing them to new activities.  The program begins after school and lasts until approximately 7 p.m.  Participating students were able to select one or two enrichment activities, ranging from cooking classes to gardening music to metalworking to athletics, provided by a variety of local community organizations serving youth. They also participate in a mandatory study hall and receive a snack, evening meal, and transportation back to the school site or to home.
A major feature of NextUp RVA is its collaborative structure, both at the school level and the program as a whole. The school-based programs work collaboratively with school principals and staff, as well as with networks of program providers at each site. NextUp RVA staff can refer children with identified needs to school-based and non-school-based resources, and a major emphasis in the program development is training staff to work effectively with students who have special needs.  NextUp RVA conducts professional development activities through the year for staff at the schools. The organization also has developed an extensive system of metrics and self-evaluation to assure that the effort is responsive to community needs as well as maintain high quality standards.

RVA Future is an initiative designed to build a stronger career and college-going culture in Richmond’s comprehensive high schools. Data shows that even among RPS graduates, a substantially lower proportion of students are moving on to a two or four year college, or other continuing education or training opportunity, following high school completion compared to the statewide average. Conversely, far more RPS students report completing school with “no plans” compared to the statewide average. 

RVA Future aims to address this problem by providing a dedicated space and full-time staff member in each comprehensive high school for the purpose of providing direct guidance and services to students as well as helping coordinate the activities of other organizations providing career and college-related services within the schools; by building a stronger orientation towards planning for life after high school, beginning in ninth grade (or sooner), with the goal of lifting students’ horizons and building a future-oriented peer culture within the schools; and by exploring the potential for the community to establish a “Promise Scholarship” program to assure that all RPS graduates have access to the financial means to attend a college or continuing education program. 

In a broader sense, RVA Future, as with the other programs described here, aims to combat what has sometimes been termed the bigotry of low expectations. If year after year RPS students are graduating and going on to continuing education at a substantially lower level than other localities in the region and state, the City will continue to have a grossly disproportionate share of poverty in the decades to come. RVA Future contends that this process can be disrupted by taking proactive, deliberate steps to make students aware of opportunities that are available and to provide step-by-step support and guidance in helping students and families take full advantage of those opportunities.

RVA Future Centers launched in all five comprehensive high schools. Key program highlights this year:
·  There are 4780 students enrolled across the five high schools (grades 9-12).
·  1,544 students have signed into the Future Centers, to date (grades 9-12).
·  87% of seniors have signed into the Future Centers, to date.
·  34% of seniors have applied to at least one college, to date. 
·  30% of seniors have completed the Free Application For Student Aid (FAFSA), to date. 
·  75% of underclassmen have been served via classroom presentations. 

Families living with limited economic resources are subject to a variety of stress factors that can impact household stability and student well-being. Communities In Schools of Richmond (CIS) is the largest community organization in Richmond providing support services to these students, apart from Richmond Public Schools itself. CIS provides staffing (a site coordinator) to a total of 35 schools in the City of Richmond including seven of eight middle schools, all five comprehensive high schools, and three Performance Learning Centers (PLCs).

CIS programming falls into two categories: broader support services available to all students within a school, and intensive services for students with acute needs or major risk factors for dropping out. The most intensive interventions that CIS facilitates are the Performance Learning Centers. The PLC s are a public/private partnership between CIS and RPS that offer a small, academically rigorous, non-traditional high school environment in which students—many of whom have already dropped out, or may have fallen significantly behind their peers—can catch up and graduate on time. CIS’ critical contribution is the integration of community resources with the sustained focus of a caring adult (site coordinator) who interacts with students every day. The site coordinator works to evaluate students’ needs and integrate the right blend of supports to meet students’ basic and behavioral needs, thereby allowing children to learn and teachers to teach. 


All persons need adequate and safe shelter.  Inclusive communities that offer meaningful opportunities to all need this and much more as well: residents desire not only shelter, but to live in safe, thriving neighborhoods with access to employment, good schools, mobility and strong community amenities and assets. This larger environment both defines day-to-day quality of life for residents and also shapes the structure of opportunity available to young people growing up in a neighborhood. Ultimately, the City’s successes and failures in providing a strong quality of life are the accumulation of the success of particular neighborhoods.

With respect to the City’s community wealth building, there are three major points of emphasis concerning housing:

·      First, the need to expand the supply of affordable housing available in the City of Richmond and the Richmond metropolitan area.  This is important for two key reasons: first, an adequate supply of affordable housing helps prevent homelessness and near-homelessness (i.e. conditions of overcrowding or residence in plainly unsafe conditions), and makes it easier for homeless service organizations to rapidly rehouse families and individuals in crisis. Second, an adequate supply of affordable housing assures that families with limited or modest incomes do not have to pay an excessive amount of their earnings (i.e. more than 30%) on housing. A reduction in relative housing costs has the same benefit on a household’s buying power and quality of life as an increase in earned income. It is estimated that over 80% of households in Richmond with modest income are “housing challenged.” These challenges will be exacerbated in certain parts of the City by gentrifying pressures associated with the brisk return of middle and higher-income residents to previously neglected neighborhoods such as Church Hill.
Second, confronting the challenges associated with Richmond’s extreme concentration of poverty. Again, the challenge is twofold: first, developing and implementing a model for the transformation of public housing communities in Richmond into thriving mixed-income communities, in a way that assures that all residents are not only adequately housed at the end of the process but effectively supported and engaged at every step of the process. Second, because the process of public housing redevelopment is complex and multi-year, and because Richmond has not one but six major public housing communities (400 units or more), steps also must be taken to bring more resources, improved service delivery, and improved opportunities for resident leadership and development to the remaining RRHA communities. Concerted, geographically action to achieve redevelopment is necessary to drive meaningful change, but this cannot become an excuse for neglect of other communities.
Third, the need to improve quality of life and neighborhood amenities within high-poverty communities, defined here as neighborhoods with a poverty rate of 20% or greater. Richmond has several neighborhoods that, while not marked by an extreme concentration of poverty, nonetheless have substantial challenges. High quality public goods such as parks, recreational facilities, accessible healthy food, opportunities for walking and cycling, and strong public safety can make a huge difference in the viability of such neighborhoods.

Expanding the Supply of Affordable Housing

The City of Richmond established an Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF) in 2008, but the fund did not receive dedicated funding until FY 2015. As part of the Maggie L. Walker Initiative, $975,000 were allocated to the fund, with a further $25,000 provided to staff and support the operations of the Affordable Housing Trust Fund Oversight Board. The fund is administered by the staff of the Department of Economic and Community Development.

The purpose of the fund is to support the rehabilitation or construction of new affordable housing units, leveraging private project dollars. Grants through the Fund are available through a competitive application process. To receive consideration for funding, applications must “show a direct relationship to one or more of the following:

·      The provision of housing to low and moderate income households.
Construction-related activities for construction producing units for sale or rent to low and moderate income households.    
Housing-related support services provided to low and moderate income households.”

Low-and-moderate income households are defined as households earning less than 80% of Area Median Income (AMI). More specific guidelines for the composition of each project note:

Based on applications received, and within the extent possible, at least one-third (1/3) of grants or loan  from the AHTF will be targeted for housing units that benefit residents with incomes at or below 30% AMI. For multifamily projects, preference will be given to projects for which 50% of the units are available for residents with incomes less than 50% AMI and the remaining 50% of the units for projects assisting incomes of 50-80% AMI. Homeownership activities that serve residents with incomes less than 80% AMI may be supported by the AHTF. (Affordable Housing Trust Fund Guidelines, FY 2016)

Further details on the program guidelines and operations can be found at:
In December 2015, the City announced the 2015 AHTF awards, totaling nearly one million dollars. The awards are expected to generate more than $23.5 million in affordable housing development in the city and nearly 200 new and rehabilitated affordable housing units. In addition, special housing related services will be provided to more than 220 families and homeless individuals.

The list of affordable housing developments and services receiving AHTF awards includes:

  • William Byrd Senior Apartments with Project HOMES
  • Cary Street Preservation Project with Better Housing Coalition
  • Studios II with Virginia Supportive Housing
  • Eggleston Plaza with The Hanson Company
  • Wheelchair Ramp Project with Project HOMES
  • Rebuilding Together Year Round with Rebuilding Together of Richmond
  • Move to Opportunity with Housing Opportunities Made Equal
  • Home Again Rapid Re-Housing Project with Emergency Shelter, Inc., and Home Again
  • Home Link with Virginia Supportive Housing
  • Flagler Rapid Re-Housing with St. Joseph’s Villa
  • Coordinated Outreach with The Daily Planet
The next round of AHTF awards will be announced in mid-2017.
Public Housing and Public Housing Redevelopment
Improving General Conditions in RRHA: Community Health Centers, Community Navigators

Analysis of life expectancy data in Richmond neighborhoods conducted by the VCU Center for Society & Health has shown that residents of large public housing complexes in Richmond have life expectancy of up to twenty years less than residents of more affluent Richmond neighborhoods. These stark differences in health outcomes reflect massive differences in what are commonly termed the “social determinants of health”—that is, social and economic conditions that both directly impact health and also impact propensity of residents to practice healthy behavior. Lack of employment opportunities, public amenities, strong recreational facilities, access to healthy food, social connectedness and general public safety undermine human health, both physical and mental. High-poverty communities also are correlated with increased incidence of substance abuse, general violent behavior, and gun violence.

In the past five years, the Richmond City Health District has taken important steps to begin addressing health conditions in Richmond’s public housing communities. By way of collaboration with the Richmond Redevelopment & Housing Authority, each of the six large public housing communities now have a unit or community space which serves as a health resource center within each community. The health resource centers contain information on healthy behavior and community resources, as well as basic facilities to permit routine examinations and basic treatments of immediate needs. In addition to access to professional medical staffing, each resource center hosts a community advocate. Community advocates are part-time employees who generally reside in the public housing communities they serve. The advocates are charged with taking information and resources on health-related issues from the community centers directly into the neighborhood by forming connections and relationships with residents.

In 2014, a key recommendation of the Housing taskforce of the Maggie L. Walker Initiative was to build upon this successful model by creating a housing advocate program. As with the community advocate initiative, the concept is to employ community members to provide information and knowledge about resources to fellow community members. The focus of the housing advocate program is on connecting residents to self-sufficiency resources as well as promoting lease compliance and positive community engagement among residents. In fall of 2014, the housing advocate program began under the management of the Richmond City Health District, working in close collaboration with the Office of Community Wealth Building and with RRHA. The program is now known as the Good Neighbor Initiative, and consist of part-time housing advocates serving each public housing community, supervisor Kelly Evans, and management support from RCHD and the Institute for Public Health Innovation, a nonprofit organization that also provides management support to the health resource center program.

A major impetus for starting the Good Neighbor Initiative was to begin a process of community education to encourage residents of public housing to acquire good information and a strong understanding of expectations and responsibilities associated with the anticipated redevelopment of one or more public housing communities. Lease compliance is typically a minimal requirement of eligibility to move into a newly redeveloped mixed-income community, as well as for participation in other programs. Housing advocates can help residents identify issues, taking a problem-solving rather than punitive approach. The focus of the Good Neighbor Initiative has broadened, however, to take a positive approach towards helping residents access resources and opportunities, building relationships of trust, and encouraging resident community participation. Staff of the Good Neighbor Initiative also are often involved in other community wealth building-related projects, including the East End Transformation project in Creighton Court.

The Mayor’s Anti-Poverty Commission called for the exploration of public housing redevelopment according to a public policy process that assures that residents are not involuntarily displaced and that engages residents in the process.
The extremely dense concentration of public housing in Richmond has been designed to, in effect, be difficult to undo. For instance, in the East End an optimal approach would look at the entire area and examine potential redevelopment and revitalization of all four major public housing communities in the footprint. But it is not feasible for a city of Richmond’s size to assemble the resources for such a massive overhaul, nor are federal funds at that scale likely to become available until Richmond demonstrates the ability to execute complex redevelopment projects on a smaller scale.

The City of Richmond and Richmond Redevelopment & Housing Authority have over the past several years advanced plans for the transformation of one or more public housing communities in the East End. Current efforts focus on the planned redevelopment of Creighton Court, a 504-unit public housing community, into a mixed-income community. Median household income in Creighton Court is less than $10,000, the poverty rate in the overall neighborhood is approximately 67%, and employment levels are far lower than the citywide average. The project as a whole would involve the development of 1200-1400 units, with units both in the immediate neighborhood and scattered across the City and potentially region.  Already funding has been secured for phase one of the redevelopment, involving the construction of 128 new housing units on the site of the old Armstrong High School. Eventually 256 units will be built on the Armstrong site. There are an additional 129 project based vouchers available to residents who choose not to live at Armstrong or Creighton. While the Housing Authority was unsuccessful in its bid for Choice Neighborhoods Funding, the City and the Housing Authority have committed to following the tenets of the People Plan developed during the application process which is to improve educational outcomes and intergenerational mobility for youth with services and supports delivered directly to youth and their families. 

The specific role of the Office of Community Wealth Building has been to help assemble the “People” component of the plan, in conjunction with service providers and community partners. The People plan focuses on providing focused, household-by-household services and support to all residents in Creighton Court, with a particular focus on education, employment, child care, and health. These focus points are informed by a detailed 2014 resident needs assessment conducted in Creighton Court. Specific strategies concerning employment and workforce development will be strongly informed by the program of the Office of Community Wealth Building. The first phase of the plan was initiated in spring of 2016, when Richmond City Health District hired a Family Transition Coach to work with the first eighteen families selected to transition from Creighton Court to the new Armstrong site. To date there are two Family Transition Coaches on site working with all 504 households.
A People Plan Steering Committee has been meeting since September and is overseeing the People Plan process.

The primary aim of the Creighton Court revitalization project is to produce a better quality-of-life for residents, including especially low-income residents. This improvement will have at least four components: an improvement in the quality and variety of housing units available to low-income residents;  an improvement in amenities, resources, and assets in the surrounding neighborhood available to residents; a deliberate strategy to connect all households in the redevelopment process to educational and employment opportunities and related services; and a long-term commitment to enhance the overall economic opportunities available to residents of the Creighton Court area and the East End as a whole.

During the Next Year

·      Continue to request funds to expand the service levels provided by the Center for Workforce Innovation, in order to meet the demand, strengthening long-term tracking of participants, and building strong collaborations with other workforce providers
·      Expand the BLISS program
·      Execute the Social Enterprise work plan; collaborate with community partners to leverage the culinary program at the Conrad Culinary Training Center
·      Collaborate with the Department of Economic and Community Development on business recruitment activities with the aim of strengthening connections with employers
·      Participating in workforce development planning for the needs of the Richmond Maritime Terminal (Port of Richmond) and related initiatives in the area
·      Assist as assigned in the successful implementation of the GRTC Pulse project and in continued advocacy for a regional transit system
·      Explore other transit mobility opportunities for CWI participants, like Uber or Lyft
·      Refine the MYA to leverage the resources and opportunities available through CWI

·      Promote the Education Compact

·      Continue to support the Affordable Housing Trust Fund
·      Continued development and possible expansion of Good Neighborhood Initiative
·      Serve as the convener for the service providers committed to the People Plan for the East End

·      Adequately meet staffing needs in order to achieve goals of moving 1000 people out of poverty each year
·      Continue community outreach, using various special events, Virtual Town Halls and social media platforms
·      Continue development of the Maggie L. Walker Citizens Advisory Board
·      Continue development of relationships and partnerships with local philanthropic institutions, universities, health systems, business organizations, and other stakeholders supportive of community wealth building goals
·      Develop and maintain system for tracking data and regular reporting across all program areas
·      Intensify strategy to hear from “the people” and corporate the truth of their lives into the overarching Community Wealth Building Strategy
·      Create an annual Community Wealth Builder Award program

Establishing and publicizing clear targets and metrics of evaluation is an essential component of sustained success in the community wealth building effort. The 2016 report of the Office of Community Wealth Building introduced a system of eighteen metrics of progress across the three major policy areas of employment, education and housing, as well as baseline measures for each metric. This report updates each of those measures using the most recent available data from the U.S. Census Bureau and other authoritative sources. Throughout this report, the most recent trend line data is marked in bold.


The City of Richmond has set three long-term goals for its poverty reduction initiative:
·      Reduce the total number of residents in poverty (apart from college students) by 40% by 2030 (relative to 2014 baseline)
·      Reduce the number of children  in the city living in poverty by 50% by 2030 (relative to 2014 baseline)
·      Reduce the City’s overall poverty rate to 15% or less by 2030

To measure progress towards achieving these goals, the City will track the following four indicators:
·      Number of persons in poverty (total and excluding college students)
·      Number of children (persons aged 17 and under) in poverty
·      The City’s overall poverty rate, as measured and reported by the U.S. Census
·      The City’s child poverty rate

All four of these indicators are measured and reported by the U.S. Census Bureau. Prior to 2005, the decennial Census was the primary authoritative source of local poverty data. The 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990 and 2000 Censuses reported the poverty rate for each county unit in the U.S. in the previous year. (For instance, respondents to the 1970 Census were asked about their household income in 1969). No authoritative poverty data is available prior to 1959. The measure of poverty utilized in this report is the official poverty measure established by the federal government.

While the top-tiered indicators identified by the City are closely related to one another, each is of independent significance.

The City’s poverty rate is the most widely cited metric in public discourse concerning poverty in Richmond. It is important both because it illustrates the share of the City population at any given time experiencing severe economic distress and because it illustrates the magnitude of the strain poverty places on the City’s fiscal and economic condition. A city with a higher proportion of persons in poverty is going to have a larger number of residents in need of services from city government (and other providers), and will have fewer residents capable of making a significant contribution to local revenues via property and sales taxes.

The total number of persons in poverty is the most direct measure of the number of residents of Richmond in severe economic need. The ethical goal of a poverty reduction initiative must be to provide pathways to higher incomes and economic self-sufficiency for residents currently in poverty.  Because the City of Richmond is currently in a period of strong population growth that is expected to continue for the foreseeable future, it is quite possible that the City’s poverty rate could reduce while the number of persons living in poverty in the City remains largely unchanged. This is not an acceptable outcome.  Rather, the aim is to reduce the number of people in poverty in absolute terms through community wealth building strategies. [1]

Finally, number of children in poverty and the child poverty rate carry special significance for the City of Richmond. In ethical terms, children are often the worst victims of poverty. Children, until at least high school age, typically have no ability to impact their household’s income or other family circumstances impacting well-being. Yet children suffer the consequences of economic deprivation, stress, and other adverse events, all of which may inhibit health physical, emotional, and cognitive development. For a child to grow up without the resources and supportive environment required to reach his or her full potential is a fundamental injustice. Hence there is an ethical imperative to reduce as rapidly as possible the number of children growing up in poverty in Richmond. The child poverty rate is also significant, as a high concentration of child poverty has profound impacts on the nature and success of public education and the degree to which children are schooled in diverse environments that prepare students for success in a wider world.

Table A. Poverty and Child Poverty in the City of Richmond, 1959-2015
Poverty Rate             Excluding Undergraduates           Child Poverty
1959                           28.9% (60,501)            N/A                                      N/A
1969                           18.0% (43,355)            N/A                                      N/A
1979                           19.3% (40,228)            N/A                                      N/A
1989                           20.9% (40,103)            N/A                                      N/A
1999                           21.4% (40,185)            N/A                                      33.4% (14,040)
2005-09                     22.1%            (42,208)             N/A                                      35.2% (14,212)
2006-10                     25.3% (48,452)           22.7% (39,916)                 38.7% (14,952)
2007-11                     26.3% (50,825)           23.8% (42,009)                 40.5% (15,517)
2008-12                     26.7% (52,260)           24.3% (43,508)                 40.4% (15,548)
2009-13                     25.6% (50,681)           23.1% (41,988)                 38.8% (14,730)
2010-14                     25.5% (51,295)           23.4% (43,371)                 39.5% (15,101)
2011-15                     25.5% (51,828)            23.7% (44,739)                40.0% (15,303)

Trend change with respect to poverty is best assessed over a fairly long time horizon. While it is possible and desirable to track year-to-year changes in the Census poverty numbers for the City, the annual figures have uncertainty attached to them (the statistical margin of error). It may take five to ten years to definitely detect long-term trend change in the poverty rate: that is, to be able to state with near or total certainty that the poverty rate has declined (or increased).

In addition, these Top-Tier Metrics—the overall number of persons in poverty, the number of children in poverty, and the poverty rate for children and for all persons—reflect the cumulative impact of multiple factors.  The ability to earn enough money to lift one’s family above the poverty line is influenced by the skills, workforce experience, and education one has attained. But a child’s ability to learn in school is directly influenced by the home environment, including the household’s economic situation and overall stress level. The ability of both individual families and entire schools to attain educational success are deeply impacted by the circumstances of the surrounding neighborhood. Meaningful change in the long-term poverty rate can only be attained by making strong progress in the three core areas of employment, educational outcomes, and housing.

For both these reasons, in addition to reporting the Top-Tier Metrics, this report also presents a system of Intermediate Metrics aimed at tracking and capturing more specific indicators in the three core areas of Employment, Education, and Housing. Improvements in these indicators portend improvements in the long-term poverty rate, and in many cases substantial changes in the Intermediate Metrics may become evident more quickly than changes in the overall poverty rate. In short, if progress is being made in the Intermediate Metrics, progress in the Top-Tier Metrics should soon follow.

It is important to understand that these Intermediate Metrics, like the Top Tier Metrics, reflect the results of a combination of factors. It does not fall on any one initiative or even institution to bear sole responsibility for driving progress in these metrics. Success or failure is rather a collective byproduct of multiple institutions as well as the scale, scope and effectiveness of the resources devoted to driving improvement in each specific area.


Poverty as officially measured by the federal government is a direct reflection of earned household income. The primary source of household income for the overwhelming majority of the population is income earned through employment. To reduce poverty, more people who are now unemployed or under-employed must obtain and maintain full-time employment.

The fundamental relationship between employment and poverty can be illustrated through 2011-2015 Census Data.
Table E-0. Employment Status and Poverty (persons age 16 and over), City of Richmond, 2011-15
                                                            Above Poverty Line  Below Poverty Line  % in Poverty
Worked Full-Time, Year-Round    66,619                                   2,245                          3.3%
Worked Part-Time or Part-Year    31,027                                   14,710                                   32.2%
Did Not Work                                                32,721                                   20,758                                   38.8%
Source: American Community Survey, 2011-2015, Table S-1701.
As Table E-0 shows, 94.0% of City residents aged 16 or above living in poverty do not work full-time, year-round.
This report utilizes the following indicators of employment and earnings:
E-1. Official Unemployment Rate (relative to state average)
E-2. Proportion Adults Aged 25-64 Employed Full-Time (relative to state average)
E-3. Employment Level for High School Graduates (relative to state average)
E-4. Median Earnings for High School Graduates (relative state average)
E-5. Proportion of Full-Time Year-Round Workers Earning Less than $30,000 (relative to state average)
E-6. Proportion of Jobs in City of Richmond, Henrico County, and Chesterfield County Currently Being Accessed by Public Transportation
Data and notes for these indicators are presented in the following pages.

Table E-1. Official Unemployment Rate, City of Richmond and Commonwealth of Virginia, 2005-2015
                                    City of Richmond                             Commonwealth of Virginia
2005-09         Total               10.2%                                                            5.4%  
2008-12         Total               11.0%                                                            6.9%  
2010-14         Total               10.7%                                                            6.9%
2011-15         Total               10.0%                                                 6.5%  
Sources: American Community Survey Table S-2301. [2]

Table E-2. Full Time, Year-Round Employment, by Gender, City of Richmond and Commonwealth of Virginia (Aged 16 and Over, Excluding College Students in Dorms)

                                    City of Richmond                             Commonwealth of Virginia
2006-10                                 40.2%                                                            46.7%

2008-12                                 39.9%                                                            46.9%

2010-14                                40.6%                                                            46.0%           

2011-15         Total:             41.0%                                                 46.1%

                        Male:             44.7%                                                 54.1%

                        Female:         37.7%                                                 38.6%

Source: American Community Survey, Table B-17004.

Table E-3. Employment Status of Adults with High School Diploma Highest Level of Educational Attainment, Aged 25-64

                                    City of Richmond                 Commonwealth of Virginia
                                                      Employed (Unemployment Rate)     
2006-10                     65.0% (11.3%)                                 71.9% (5.9%)

2008-12                     63.2% (11.7%)                                 79.2% (7.2%)

2010-14                     62.9% (11.9%)                                 69.3% (7.4%)

2011-15                     61.7% (12.3%)                                 69.4% (6.9%)                      

Source: American Community Survey, Table B23006.

Notes: Tables E-1, E-2, and E-3 track employment levels in the City of Richmond over time, using statewide figures as a benchmark. Official unemployment (persons in the labor market who are actively seeking work), is currently 4.5% higher in the City compared to the Commonwealth. Full-time year-round employment rate in the City, as a percentage of the population above 16, lags the statewide average overall by 5%, and nearly 10% among men. Likewise, the employment rate of high school graduates (but no further education) in the City is nearly 8% lower than the statewide benchmark. Increasing both overall employment and full-time employment in particular are major goals of Richmond’s community wealth building agenda.

Table E-4. Median Earnings of Adults with High School Diploma Highest Level of Educational Attainment, By Gender, Aged 25-64

City of Richmond                             Commonwealth of Virginia
2006-10                     $23,628                                             $29,064

2008-12                     $23,723                                             $29,464

2010-14                     $23,550                                             $29,421

2011-15                     $22,675                                             $29,303
Male               $25,401                                             $34,030

            Female          $20,826                                             $23,705

Source: American Community Survey, Table B20004.
Table E-5. Proportion of Full-Time Year-Round Workers Earning Less than $30,000 (relative to state average)
                                    City of Richmond                             Commonwealth of Virginia

2006-10                     36.3%                                                            26.1%

2008-12                     33.1%                                                            24.6%

2010-14                     31.6%                                                 23.7%

2011-15                     32.3%                                                 23.8%

                        Male   29.9% (10,604 persons)    Male     20.0%

                        Female 34.7% (11, 657 persons)            Female  28.9%

Source: American Community Survey, Table B200005. [3]
Notes:  Tables E-4 and E-5 track the median earnings of two groups: persons with a high school diploma but no further formal education, and persons working full-time year-round. Earnings of high school graduates in the City lag the statewide median by over $6,600, with an even wider gap among males. Just under one-third of full-time year-round workers in Richmond earn less than $30,000, compared to less than one-quarter statewide. Workers earning this level of income often will be above the federal poverty line, but lack genuine economic security and the ability to build wealth while meeting all basic needs. Closing these earning gaps must be a significant indicator of success in Richmond’s community wealth building effort.

E-6.  Number and Proportion of Jobs in City of Richmond, Henrico County, and Chesterfield County Currently Being Accessed by Public Transportation

                                    Richmond                 Henrico                      Chesterfield
2005-09                     6,996 (4.4%)             1,400 (0.9%)             476 (0.4%)

2008-12                     7,628 (4.7%)             1,452 (0.9%)             408 (0.4%)

2010-14                     6,198 (3.7%)             1,304 (0.8%)             451 (0.4%)

2011-15                     6,456 (3.8%)             1,219 (0.7%)             503 (0.4%)

Source: American Community Survey, Table S-0804.
Notes: The three core localities of the Richmond metropolitan area together have some 459, 272 jobs. 37.2% of these jobs are located within the City of Richmond, and the remainder in Henrico (36.7%) and Chesterfield (26.1%). It is important to understand that nearly 49% of workers in these three jurisdictions (including nearly 44% of City workers) do not work in the same locality in which they live (American Community Survey: Table B-0807).  Fewer than 2% of jobs within these jurisdictions are currently being accessed primarily by public transportation, compared to just over 5% nationwide. Nearly 79% of the jobs now being primarily accessed by public transit are within the City of Richmond. The development of a regional transportation system should produce significant increases in all three localities, but with a disproportionate increase in Henrico and Chesterfield. As jobs become accessible by transit lines in (for instance) Henrico, some employees will begin to use public transit to get to work at those jobs (whether they reside in Henrico, Richmond, or Chesterfield).  But as transit lines extend regionally, we should also expect a significant increase in the proportion of jobs within the City being accessed by public transit, as suburban residents working in the City acquire the choice of using public transit to get to their job. A more transit-accessible regional labor market has major positive implications for low-income, carless residents in all jurisdictions as well as additional ecological and community benefits.


Both educational attainment (the earning of diplomas and degrees) and the quality of education received have a profound impact on the economic prospects of both individuals and communities. The relationship between poverty and educational attainment is illustrated in Table ED-0 below, for both the City of Richmond and the United States as a whole.

Table ED-0. Poverty Level by Educational Attainment, Richmond and U.S., 2011-2015

                                                            Richmond                                         U.S.

Less than High School                              35.6%                                                            27.5%

High School or Equivalent             24.3%                                                            14.3%

Some College                                              17.6%                                                            10.5%

Bachelor’s Degree or higher                    6.9%                                                   4.5%

(American Community Survey, 2011-2015: Table S-1701).

This report utilizes the following six metrics of educational attainment. Community progress towards improving these indicators over the next decade portend both improvements in educational outcomes and poverty reduction in Richmond.

Table ED-1. Proportion of entering Kindergartners in Richmond Public Schools failing PALS assessment of school readiness (compared to state benchmark).

Table ED-2. Proportion of 3rd graders in Richmond Public Schools passing Reading SOL test (compared to state benchmark).

Tables ED-3a and ED-3b. Proportion of 8th graders in Richmond Public Schools passing Reading and Math SOL tests (compared to state benchmark).

Table ED-4. Graduation rate of Richmond Public Schools and percentage of class graduating with advanced diploma (compared to state benchmark).

Table ED-5. Proportion of Richmond Public Schools graduates going on to post-secondary education--technical training, two-year college, or four-year college (compared to state benchmark)

Table ED-6. Number of teenagers in City of Richmond not enrolled in school and not employed (i.e. “disconnected youth”).

Data and notes for these indicators are presented in the following pages.

Table ED-1. Proportion of Entering Kindergartners in Richmond Public Schools Needing a Literacy Intervention Based on PALS Assessment of School Readiness
                                    Richmond                             Commonwealth of Virginia
2010                           20.7%                                                            13.4%
2012                           21.4%                                                            12.4%
2014                           23.7%                                                            12.9%
2015                           25.2%                                                 13.8%

Source: Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond, accessed at
http://www.virginiareportcard.com/map.php; United Way Indicators of Community Strength 2016, available at http://www.yourunitedway.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/UW-GRP_CommIndicatorReport_2016-FINAL.pdf.
Notes: The PALS (Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening) assessment tool measures the readiness of Kindergarten students to engage in the process of learning to read. Tasks Kindergarteners are measured on include recognizing rhymes, recognizing letters, recognizing letter sounds, recognizing the concept of words, and related tasks.  In Richmond, nearly twice as many Kindergarten students as the statewide average were assessed as requiring a literacy intervention in fall of 2014. This figure has risen in Richmond since 2010, a concerning trend. The PALS measure is a good summary statistic of the community’s collective success or failure in adequately providing quality early childhood education to Richmond residents.

Table ED-2. Proportion of 3rd graders in Richmond Public Schools Passing Reading SOL Test (Compared to State Benchmark).
Overall Pass Rate, with Advanced Pass in Parentheses

                                    Richmond                             Commonwealth of Virginia

2012-13                     56% (13%)                            72% (19%)

2013-14                     54% (11%)                            69% (16%)

2014-15                     64% (17%)                            75% (21%)

2015-16                     62% (11%)                            76% (17%)

Source: Virginia Department of Education: Virginia School Report Card, Richmond City Public Schools, 2015-16.

Notes:  The gap in literacy readiness between Richmond children and the Commonwealth as a whole evident in Kindergarten is reflected in differences at the third grade reading level as well. In 2015-16, Richmond third graders passed the Reading Standards of Learning test at a rate fourteen points below the statewide average.

Table ED-3a. Proportion of 8th graders in Richmond Public Schools Passing Reading SOL Test (Compared to State Benchmark).
Overall Pass Rate, with Advanced Pass in Parentheses

                                    Richmond                             Commonwealth of Virginia

2012-13                     39% (2%)                              71% (12%)

2013-14                     33% (2%)                              70% (11%)

2014-15                     46% (4%)                              75% (11%)

2015-16                     45% (5%)                               75% (14%)

Tables ED-3b. Proportion of 8th graders in Richmond Public Schools Passing Math SOL tests (Compared to State Benchmark).
Overall Pass Rate, with Advanced Pass in Parentheses

                                    Richmond                             Commonwealth of Virginia

2012-13                     35% (1%)                              61% (6%)

2013-14                     37% (3%)                              67% (9%)

2014-15                     44% (2%)                              74% (10%)

2015-16                     43% (1%)                               73% (9%)

Source: Virginia Department of Education: Virginia School Report Card, Richmond City Public Schools, 2015-16.

Notes:  While the academic gap between Richmond students and the Commonwealth as a whole is visible at the elementary level, with gaps of 14 and 9 points in 5th grade reading and mathematics in 2015-16 SOL performance, this gap widens into a chasm during the middle school years. This chasm is illustrated by Table ED-3a and ED-3b, show math and reading performance of 8th graders in Richmond compared to statewide. In 2015-16, fewer than half of Richmond eighth graders passed the reading and math SOLs, compared to about three-quarters of students on each test statewide, a gap of 30 percentage points in each subject. This gap is only partly explained by poverty: when considering only economically disadvantaged students the gap between Richmond students and all Virginia students remains 20 points in reading and 23 points in math.

Table ED-4. Graduation Rate of Richmond Public Schools and Percentage of Class Graduating with Standard or Advanced Diploma (Compared to State Benchmark).

                        Richmond                                         Commonwealth of Virginia

Overall    Standard     Advanced                Overall     Standard      Advanced

2011   71.0%      61.2%       22.6%                                    86.6%        82.7%        47.3%

2013   76.2%      65.3%       27.2%                                    89.1%        85.4%        49.7%

2015   81.3%      70.6%       27.0%                                    90.5%        86.7%        51.5%
2016   80.5%      69.9%     27.0%                            91.3%       87.7%        51.7%
Left-hand column shows the official graduation rate (including special and modified diplomas); middle-column shows proportion of cohort graduating with a Standard OR Advanced diploma; right-hand column shows proportion of cohort graduating with Advanced Diploma only.
Source: Virginia Department of Education: Virginia Cohort Reports (4 Year).

Notes:  For many years the City of Richmond has ranked at or near the bottom of official graduation rates in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The gap between overall graduation rates between the City and statewide is nearly 11%.  Moreover, the gap between the number of Richmond students receiving at least a standard high school diploma, a baseline standard for career readiness, and the statewide average remains much larger—17.8%, despite recent gains. The largest gap of all can be found in the proportion of students graduating with an advanced diploma (requiring completion of a more rigorous high school academic program). Over half of students statewide graduate with an advanced diploma—a good measure of basic readiness for college-level work—compared to 27% in Richmond. That gap of 24.7% portends poorly for the economic competitiveness of Richmond graduates vis-à-vis their peers statewide.

Table ED-5. Proportion of Richmond Public Schools Graduates with Standard or Advanced Diploma Enrolling in Two-year College or Four-year College Within 16 Months of Graduation (Compared to State Benchmark)

                                    Richmond                             Commonwealth of Virginia
                                    Total/4-Year College Only  Total/4-Year College Only

Class of 2011                      60%/37%                              71%/42%

Class of 2013                      58%/36%                              72%/43%

Class of 2014                      55%/34%                                72%/43%

Source: Virginia Department of Education: High School Graduates Postsecondary Enrollment Report.

Notes: Table ED-5 reports the proportion of Richmond high school graduates with at least a standard diploma going on to a two-or-four year college within 16 months of graduation. The gap between Richmond college-going and the statewide average appears to have actually grown slightly since 2011, to 17% (55% compared to 72%) for the class of 2014, the last year for which complete data is available. This table is best understood in combination with the previous table, Table ED-4.  When one combines the difference in the share of the class cohort graduating with a standard diploma or higher, and the likelihood of those graduates going on to college, the combined effect is that in 2012-13, only 38% of Richmond’s senior cohort graduated high school with a standard diploma or higher and then enrolled in a two or four-year school, compared to 61% statewide. This gap is equivalent to roughly 350 students a year who either are not graduating with a standard diploma or not continuing their education after high school. That gap can be describe as creating a virtual pipeline into poverty, and helps explain the high rate of “disconnected youth” in Richmond (see Table ED-6, just below).

Table ED-6. Number of Teenagers (16-19) in City of Richmond Not Enrolled in School and Not Employed (i.e. “Disconnected Youth”), Total and as Percentage of All Teenagers, by Gender.

                                    Richmond                             Commonwealth of Virginia

2006-2010                1,256 (8.6%)                         29,024 (6.4%)

2008-2012                1,488 (11.2%)                                  30, 248 (6.8%)

2010-2014                1,501 (12.0%)                                  29, 924 (6.7%)

2011-2015                1,442 (12.0%)                                   28,388 (6.4%)

                        Male:  925 (16.6%)                         16,208 (7.2%)

                        Female 517 (8.0%)                         12,180 (5.7%)

Source: American Community Survey, Table B14005

Notes:  Nearly one in eight teenagers aged 16-19 in the City are neither enrolled in school nor employed.  This rate climbs to over one in seven for males in this age group.  In the absence of meaningful interventions offering employment, training or educational opportunities to this group, many are likely to fail to grab an economic foothold at this critical period of life. Not a few, as well, are likely to slip into trouble with the criminal justice system. The “disconnected youth” indicator is in a sense the logical inverse of Tables ED-4 and ED-5: it captures the consequence of school failure and failure to provide adequate career and educational pathways to all children in Richmond.


Housing is a basic human need and fundamental to the stability of individuals and families. Housing insecurity is a major source of stress for economically disadvantaged residents. It is also a major cost, and often the highest priority cost, for families with limited economic resources. But a decent society and an inclusive city should do more than simply assure access to safe housing; it also should work to create neighborhoods that are safe, thriving, and encouraging social and economic inclusion and integration rather than isolation. Enormous social science research documents the manner in which extreme concentrations of poverty multiply the stress and impact of low-income families. Richmond’s approach must aim both at building community wealth and seeking ways to redress extreme concentrations of poverty, specifically neighborhoods with poverty rates exceeding 40%. Health outcomes, another fundamental measure of well-being, are also closely associated with neighborhood context. The following measures assess the City’s affordability, its efforts and results in weakening concentrated poverty, the safety of its neighborhoods, and the access to health coverage and life expectancy of its residents.

Table H-1. % of Housing-Burdened Households in City, All Households and Households Earning < $35,000

Table H-2. Number of Large Public Housing Communities Redeveloped According to Process Assuring One-for-One Replacement and Community Engagement in Process

Table H-3. % of City Residents Who Are in Poverty AND Live in Census Tract with Greater Than 40% Poverty Rate

Table H-4. Violent Crime Rate Citywide and by Council District

Table H-5. Health Insurance Coverage—Number and Proportion of Residents Lack Insurance Coverage

Table H-6. Years of Life Lost to Premature Death (Before Age 75) per 100,000

Table H-1. Number and Proportion of Housing-Burdened Households in City, All Households and Households Earning < $35,000

                                    Richmond                             Commonwealth of Virginia

2006-2010    All:       38,585 (46%)                                  34%

Under $35k Income:           28, 401 (77%)                                 67%

2008-2012       All:      39,113 (47%)                                 34%

Under $35k   Income:   29,048 (80%)                             70%

2010-2014    All:         38,464 (45%)                                 33%

Under $35k Income:     28,366 (82%)                             71%

2011-2015    All:        38,524 (44%)                                  32%

Under $35k Income:   28,883 (81%)                               72%

Source: American Community Survey, Table B-25106. Data based on household incomes within all occupied housing units.

 Housing-burdened households refer to households paying more than 30% of their total income on housing costs (rent or mortgage). Household spending beyond this level on housing needs crowds out expenditure on other needs as well as savings and household wealth building. Conversely, having the ability to meet one’s housing needs within this threshold permits greater investment in other needs.  The proportion of housing-burdened households in a community is a function of two factors: first, the supply of housing in general and affordable housing in particular; and second, the income level of residents. 82% of Richmond residents with household income below $35,000 are considered to be housing-burdened, a rate that is comparable to yet substantially higher than the statewide average. (This figure excludes persons with no income at all.) Meaningful reductions in this proportion will require a major community commitment to build affordable housing to meet the needs of both current residents and newcomers, but also effective wealth building strategies to allow more Richmond residents to increase household income past the $35,000 threshold and beyond.

Table H-2. Number of Large Public Housing Communities Redeveloped According to Process Assuring One-for-One Replacement and Community Engagement in Process

Status Update
2016   Development of first phase of Creighton Court redevelopment planned for 2017: development of 256 new units, 128 of which will be public housing equivalent, on old Armstrong High School site. In 2016, through collaboration between RRHA, RCHD, the Office of Community Wealth Building, and RPS, a comprehensive People Plan was developed in support of the community transformation process, and initial implementation began with the hiring of two Family Transition Coaches to work with Creighton residents. Richmond’s application for Choice Neighborhoods Initiative grant in 2016 was unsuccessful, but work continues to support both the new development at Armstrong and transition supports for Creighton residents.

Some measures are dichotomous: an event either did or did not happen. Public housing redevelopment done in a just, sensitive, and transformational manner is even in favorable circumstances a multi-year process. To achieve the just redevelopment of even one public housing community would be a major accomplishment, but in Richmond’s case still would leave behind a massive concentration of poverty. But successful completion of the first project according to just principles would in itself create a stronger community capacity to undertake similar projects in the mid-term horizon.

Table H-3. Proportion of City Residents Who Are in Poverty and Live in Census Tract with Greater Than 40% Poverty Rate

2008-12                                    12.2% (23,958)
2010-14                                 9.5% (19,087)
2011-15                                 8.1% (16,456)
Source: Derived from American Community Survey, Table S-1701.

Table H-3 is related to yet distinct from Table H-2. Nearly 32% of Richmonders below the poverty line also live in census tracts with poverty rates exceeding 40%. In the most recent American Community Survey, 10 of 58 census tracts in the City have this level of poverty. (This is down from 14 in 2008-12, helping explain the improvement in this metric seen in the most recent data.) Extreme concentration of poverty multiplies disadvantage by exposing residents, especially children, to greater stress and fewer visible signs of opportunity, hope, and possible success. One key goal of public housing redevelopment is to allow more residents in poverty to reside in neighborhoods with a greater mix of income levels, and likely, greater overall community resource level. Public housing redevelopment that simply relocates residents to other extremely high poverty communities will not achieve that goal.

It also should be noted, that while nearly 16,500 low-income residents live in extremely high poverty tracts, many low-income residents (about 15,000) live in tracts with poverty levels between 30 and 40%.  As the community wealth building agenda proceeds another goal should be to reduce this number as well—less via housing redevelopment strategies than by generating more employment, income and wealth within these areas so that the poverty rate itself falls in these neighborhoods.

Table H-4. Violent Crime Rate Citywide and by Council District, 2015
Homicides (Assaults in Parentheses)

                        Citywide         1st                 2nd                 3rd                  4th

2000               73 (5867)      2 (109)                       9 (629)                       7 (540)                       0 (237)

2015               43 (4409)      1 (976)                       1 (305)                       5 (623)                       2 (185)          

                        5th                  6th                  7th                   8th                   9th

2000               4 (575)                       19 (1343)      11 (895)         14 (963)         7 (576)

2015               2 (408)                       13 (938)         7 (640)                       5 (656)                       7 (575)          

Source: Richmond Police Department Crime Incident Information Center, http://eservices.ci.richmond.va.us/applications/crimeinfo/index.asp
Note changes in District totals over time reflect redistricting plan adopted in 2011 as well as real trend changes. At this time full 2016 data are not available through the Crime Incident Information Center.

Table H-5. Health Insurance Coverage—Proportion and Number of Residents Lacking Insurance Coverage
                                    Richmond                             Commonwealth of Virginia

2008-12                     17.6% (35,590)                    12.3%

2010-14                     17.5% (36,408)                    12.1%

2011-15                     16.9% (35, 719)                    11.4%

Source: American Community Survey, Table S-2701.

Table H-6. Years of Potential Life Lost to Premature Death (Before Age 75) per 100,000 persons
                                    Richmond                             Commonwealth of Virginia

2007-09                     11,786                                               6,566

2009-11                     10,364                                               6,270

2011-13                     9,668                                      6,147

2012-14                     9,626                                      6,088

Source: Healthindicators.gov, via County Health Rankings (www.countyhealthrankings.org).

Notes:  The final two indicators are measure of health coverage and health itself.  Despite the recent national health care reforms, Richmond residents still lack coverage at a substantially higher rate than the Commonwealth average of 11.4%. Virginia has not approved expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, thereby creating a large gap in coverage for families who are not extremely poor but make too little income to qualify for or afford the health insurance exchange. This gap is particularly damaging to persons just above the poverty line, and represents a major threat to thousands of Richmond households struggling to escape poverty in a sustainable way or avoid falling from modest but decent income into poverty.

The final measure tracks the level of premature death in the community, measured as years of life lost prior to age 75 per 100,000 residents in the community. Richmond’s current measure of nearly 10,000 years per 100,000 persons is notably down since the late 2000s, but still is over 50% higher than the statewide average and nearly double the rate in neighboring Chesterfield and Henrico Counties. This measure of premature death can be taken as a result of the cumulative impacts of poverty, stress, violence, and poor health on life expectancy itself. Poverty, and community wealth building, are literally life and death matters.

[1] Note here that the policy focus of City government is appropriately on long-term residents living in poverty, not on college students classified as living in poverty while attending college in the City of Richmond. About 7,000 persons in Richmond classified as in poverty are college students. Consequently, we report both the total number of persons in poverty and the total number of residents in poverty excluding college students.

[2] Note: Estimates of unemployment from the Census are distinct from those produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For consistency with other employment indicators based on the Census, the Census measure of unemployment is used in this report.

[3] In Tables E-4 and E-5, dollar values are inflation-adjusted for the last year in each series (i.e. 2006-2010 figure is in 2010 dollars). Dollar values are not adjusted for inflation over time between data points (i.e. between 2011 and 2015.)