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CRHA Celebrates Major State Grant Award for South First St. Public Housing Redevelopment Project

Date:  June 16, 2020

Contact:  Dave Norris, CRHA Redevelopment Coordinator, (434) 242-5165 or

On June 15, 2020, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced that the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority (CRHA) has been selected as one of two recipients of the 2020 Vibrant Community Initiative (VCI) grant — see

The highly competitive VCI grant supports holistic affordable housing and community development initiatives throughout the Commonwealth.  The state typically only awards two VCI grants each year.  Yesterday’s announcement amounts to a $2 million investment in state funds for CRHA’s South First Street public housing redevelopment project, which will transform an aging & dilapidated public housing complex of 58 units into a new, mixed-income, resident-designed neighborhood of 175 environmentally-sustainable homes and extensive community amenities, with no displacement of existing residents.  Phase 1 of the project will be under construction by this fall, and a number of low-income residents are currently participating in construction skills training through CRHA’s Section 3 program so that they may be hired for jobs on the worksite.

“The Vibrant Community Initiative uses a unique community develop strategy that blends creating better housing opportunities with fostering economic growth,” said Governor Northam.  “We look forward to seeing how these efforts transform their communities and enhance the quality of life for the residents living in them.”

“We are thrilled to have the state’s backing for our South First Street redevelopment project,” says Betsy Roettger, Chair of the CRHA Board of Commissioners.  “The residents of South First Street have invested hundreds of hours over the past year in developing a bold vision and actionable plan for the revitalization of their neighborhood, and it’s deserving that their hard work is getting this recognition and these resources.”

“We could not have secured this major investment of state dollars on our own,” adds Kathleen Glenn-Matthews, Interim CRHA Executive Director.  “We are grateful for the collaboration we’ve enjoyed with our South First Street resident planners, PHAR (the Public Housing Association of Residents), our development partners at Riverbend Development, Bruce Wardell Architects, the City of Charlottesville, Cultivate Charlottesville, Dave Matthews Band and many others.  The ongoing support is heartening as we work to transform public housing in Charlottesville and enhance housing and economic opportunities for lower-income members of our community.”

South First Street is one of seven CRHA neighborhoods that will eventually be revitalized over the course of the agency’s 10-year, $200 million, resident-led redevelopment initiative.  The Crescent Halls renovation project is also slated to be underway this fall, and redevelopment planning will soon begin with residents of other CRHA properties.

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[below: images from South First St. community planning sessions]

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