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RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam congratulates Mayor of Newport News Dr. McKinley L. Price and Mayor of Norfolk Kenny Alexander for receiving a combined $60 million in implementation grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative (CNI), which provides grants to local communities to transform neighborhoods into places of choice by focusing on rebuilding distressed public housing and assisted housing, improving outcomes, expanding learning opportunities, creating pathways to jobs, and strengthening families.
“This is a great opportunity for the Cities of Newport News and Norfolk, the Hampton Roads region, and the Commonwealth to advance the transformation of public housing into dynamic, sustainable communities to help accomplish the vision embodied in Executive Order Twenty-Five,” said Governor Northam.
The Governor’s executive order addresses the shortage of quality affordable housing by coordinating economic development efforts with housing production, supporting housing production technology, and supporting regional and local pilot projects that increase the supply of affordable housing units. The effort prioritizes the development of affordable housing in close proximity to employment and educational opportunities.
“Bringing quality, affordable housing to our communities continues to be an important priority of this administration, and this funding is a great step forward for Newport News and Norfolk,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball.
Newport News and Norfolk were among three national awardees chosen from a pool of 32 applicants. Implementation efforts for the two cities include:
Newport News CNI Implementation Grant
The Newport News Redevelopment and Housing Authority (NNRHA) and the City of Newport News were awarded a $30 million CNI grant to revitalize the Marshall–Ridley neighborhood and surrounding area. Building on the successes of new private and public reinvestment in the nearby area, local partners previously secured a CNI Planning Grant and created a comprehensive Transformation Plan for the Marshall–Ridley neighborhood.
Now, through the support of the CNI Implementation Grant, NNRHA and the City will replace the obsolete Ridley Place public housing development with 487 units of mixed income housing on a variety of sites in southeast and downtown Newport News. To ensure that families directly benefit from this investment, a team from Newport News will work closely with Hampton Roads Community Action Program to implement employment, health, and education strategies. A variety of open space improvements and place making activities are also planned.
Norfolk CNI Implementation Grant
The Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority and City of Norfolk were also awarded a $30 million CNI Implementation Grant for the St. Paul’s Area. Immediately adjacent to the Central Business District of Norfolk, the St. Paul’s Area is the lowest-income neighborhood in the city, and the Tidewater Gardens public housing development is among the housing authority’s most distressed and isolated sites.
Despite these challenges, the St. Paul’s Area holds much potential, with an expanding light rail service and significant planned private and public investment. In hopes of capitalizing on this potential, local partners previously secured a CNI Planning Grant and created a comprehensive Transformation Plan for the St. Paul’s Area. With the award of the CNI Implementation Grant, these partners will be able to build 709 new, mixed-income housing units; improve the neighborhood’s landscape by creating new open space and increasing opportunities for local businesses; and improving families’ access to quality jobs and education.
Virginia’s Support for Housing
Virginia’s support for public housing community transformation in Newport News, Norfolk, and other localities has included the award of housing tax credits, the investment of state housing trust fund resources, and VHDA financing. Such engagement advances the Governor’s Executive Order Twenty-Five which was created to enhance the quality, availability, and affordability of housing in the Commonwealth.
In November 2018, the Governor signed the executive order at the Virginia Governor’s Housing Conference. “Affordable, safe, and accessible housing options are key to ensuring all Virginians are able to lead healthy, productive lives,” said Governor Northam at the time of the announcement.
“This Executive Order supports creating vibrant communities throughout Virginia,” added Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball at the time of the announcement. “The Executive Order will not only address the housing needs of our citizens, but it will also encourage engagement of our various housing and community development partners including local governments, the business community, nonprofit organizations, and other interested stakeholders.”
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