Richmond – Virginia Supportive Housing (VSH), the statewide non-profit organization that serves homeless adults by providing permanent, supportive housing, recently received a national housing award recognizing outstanding achievement from the National Council of State Housing Agencies in partnership with the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA), the state’s housing finance agency.
The two organizations won in the Combating Homelessness category for their South Hampton Roads Regional Supportive Studio Apartment Partnership. This initiative began when four cities in South Hampton Roads – Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth and Chesapeake – decided to work together in addressing the issue of chronic homelessness in their region. Virginia Supportive Housing, the state’s foremost developer of permanent supportive housing projects, served as the developer of these unique developments, and VHDA helped provide the resources necessary to build these projects.
“We are very pleased that VSH and VHDA were recognized nationally for our efforts to decrease the number of homeless in the state,” said VSH Executive Director Alice Tousignant. “Because homelessness continues to be a largely urban issue, supportive studio apartments are part of a growing strategy in Hampton Roads to reduce homelessness by building permanent housing for single adults, which make up the bulk of the region’s homeless population. These developments have been very effective in helping a large number of the formerly homeless lead more fulfilling lives, and we look forward to building more of these supportive units in areas of need across Virginia.”
Each of the four cities agreed to build a 60-unit supportive studio apartment development within their boundaries, and local housing authorities and a department of housing provided Project Based Housing Choice Vouchers along with HUD Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation vouchers to the developments. In addition to those four cities, the communities of Suffolk and Western Tidewater participated in the project in Chesapeake and the Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority is providing vouchers as well. VHDA assisted by providing substantial financial resources for these developments – of the total cost of the four projects, funding raised from VHDA-administered low-income housing tax credits and special VHDA-funded direct loans covered 59 percent of the total cost.