Habitat for Humanity building homes in new Charlottesville mixed-income development

Updated: Aug. 17, 2020 at 5:30 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Southern Development has plans to build a mixed-income community in the Fry’s Spring neighborhood of Charlottesville, and in order to make that happen, they’ve partnered with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville.

“It’s a new development in the JPA [Jefferson Park Avenue] neighborhood not too far from Jackson-Via Elementary School,” Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville CEO Dan Rosensweig said. “Habitat is going to be building 16 homes.”

The nonprofit organization has worked with Southern Development on several other housing projects.

“Well, Southern Development has been a great partner with us over the years,” Rosensweig said. “We work together in four different neighborhoods, creating blended mixed-income neighborhoods where folks from all walks of life can live together.”

He says these type of mixed-income neighborhoods are important.

“We’ve grown farther apart, as a community, over the last hundred years or so,” Rosensweig said. “Our neighborhoods have actually become even more segregated than they were before that, and so mixed-income is our way to create inviting places for people from all walks of life to come together.”

Sixteen homes have been designated for Habitat for Humanity, and they’ll be allowed to add the finishing touches themselves.

“We hope to provide some opportunities for families and volunteers to come in and finish them out,” Rosensweig said. “That’s called sweat equity, and it’s a really critical part of what we do. Families actually build their own homes.”

Habitat works with the goal of making affordable housing look identical to its counterparts, and the organization hopes this neighborhood will be another example of that.

“You shouldn’t be able to walk down the street and say, ‘Hey that’s an affordable one, that’s a market-rate one.’ So our homes, if you go to any neighborhood that Habitat has built in, our homes are equal or better quality than than the ones next to it,” Rosensweig said.

The project just received approval from Charlottesville City Council, so there’s only one more hurdle before construction begins.

“Right now they’re aggressively pursuing site plan approval, and we’re hoping in about a year or so, things will be going vertical,” Rosensweig said.

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