Richmond’s Public Housing Authority receives $14 million from feds

Monday afternoon, Senator Mark Warner, Mayor Levar Stoney and others unveiled a federal check to help overhaul the city’s public housing sites.
Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 4:31 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - It’s a $14 million cash infusion for Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority.

Monday afternoon, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and others unveiled a federal check to help overhaul the city’s public housing sites.

“Those dollars are not enough to do what we really need. That’s just to address the critical needs,” said Steven Nesmith, RRHA CEO.

Public housing in Richmond was built starting in the 1940s. It’s some of the oldest in the country and needs three times the amount given to get all the work done.

The money comes from the U.S. Department of Housing’s Capital Fund. The funds will be used for the development, financing, and modernization of public housing developments and for management improvements.

Nesmith has plans to get even more bang for those bucks.

“We are going to go out with that housing revenue bond and we’re going to sell those bonds to Wall Street to tackle public housing authority infrastructure that we have, dilapidated infrastructure,” said Nesmith.

Nesmith would like to see public housing sites become mixed-use communities where people can live but also shop and work. But Mayor Stoney says land use politics like zoning gets in the way.

“They want to build, you know, senior housing in Church Hill on 35th Street. We’re talking about seniors here who are living on a fixed income, and people go oh no, I want my bike lane. I want, too much traffic, where are people going to park? We’re talking about putting a roof over people’s heads,” said Stoney.

Stoney and others say the city also needs to streamline its permitting process to cut through the red tape and get more affordable housing built now.

Warner says in addition to more housing, “we also need to give people a doable path to homeownership.”

The mayor says the city needs to build 1,000 affordable housing units each year for the rest of this decade, highlighting just how serious the issue is right now.