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Real Estate and Community Development

HOPE VI PROGRAM

The HOPE VI program serves as a vital role in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) efforts to transform Public Housing.

The elements for public housing transformation that are key to HOPE VI include:

- Changing the physical shape of public housing so that it reflects the surrounding community instead of being seen as isolated housing.

- Developing positive incentives for resident self- sufficiency and comprehensive services that empower residents.

- Lessening the concentration of poverty by promoting mixed-income communities.

- Creating partnerships with other agencies, local governments, non-profit organizations, and private business to leverage support and resources.

The HOPE VI Program was developed as a result of recommendations by the National Commission on Severely Distressed Public Housing, which was charged with proposing a National Action Plan to eradicate severely distressed public housing.

The Commission recommended revitalization in three general areas: physical improvements, management improvements, and social and community services to address resident needs.

HOPE VI IN RICHMOND, VA

HOPE VI is a comprehensive program that is revitalizing Virginia's historic Blackwell community, which lies just south of downtown Richmond.

The Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RRHA) and the City of Richmond secured a HOPE VI grant of $26.9 million from HUD (the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) to revitalize Richmond's Blackwell community. (HOPE VI is an acronym for Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere.)

The HOPE VI Program is bringing replacement housing units that will include:

* 161 multi-family units in Blackwell;
* 188 new single-family houses in Blackwell;
* 120 homeownership units in three other Richmond communities

For the public housing residents of Blackwell, the HOPE VI Program creates opportunities for new rental and homeownership housing and provides comprehensive self-sufficiency services (through "SSTP," RRHA's HOPE VI Self-Sufficiency Training Program) to improve their quality of life and support employment objectives.

In September 2001, just one year after breaking ground for Blackwell's first new multifamily housing, families have moved into the multifamily housing, the Townes at River South. Many of the families moving into these attractive, privately owned and managed rental units are former residents of Blackwell public housing.

HOPE VI: A COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP

The HOPE VI revitalization plan is the result of a planning effort by residents, community and government leaders, organizations and institutions. The HOPE VI Self-sufficiency Training Program (SSTP) is supported by a community task force composed of residents, service providers and businesses. These groups have been working closely to identify strengths, build upon assets and create a vision for future development.

RRHA's partners in revitalizing Blackwell through HOPE VI include (but are not limited to):

• HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development)
• City of Richmond
• Richmond Public Schools
• Blackwell Community Civic Association Business Partners
• Other government agencies, community development corporations, non-profit organizations
• Blackwell's faith-based community
• RRHA HOPE VI contractors and developers
• Virginia Commonwealth University
• J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College

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