The next major milestone for Piedmont Housing Alliance and the
continuing progress towards Friendship Court redevelopment is submitting the
application for the highly competitive Low-Income
Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program.
The U.S. Treasury Department sponsors the LIHTC program and it
is administered at the state level by the Virginia
Housing Development Authority (VHDA).
The program helps fund the development of affordable rental housing across
the country by providing federal income tax credits that can be sold to
corporations with large tax burdens. The
sale proceeds then directly subsidize construction costs, ensuring long-term
The LIHTC program application is due March 14. The full 2019 application schedule
is available to view. According to Housing and Urban
Development (HUD), the LIHTC program “gives
State and local LIHTC-allocating agencies the equivalent of nearly $8 billion
in annual budget authority to issue tax credits for the acquisition, rehabilitation,
or new construction of rental housing targeted to lower-income households.”
Why is this so important for the redevelopment of Friendship
Court? The LIHTC funding is the critical
funding that tips the scale. As part of
the LIHTC application, the resident-elected Advisory Committee and Piedmont
Housing had to make a series of important final decisions for Phase 1 including
finalizing the number of new apartment-style and townhome-style homes, the
interior layout of the apartments, materials to be used on the exterior of the
The LIHTC funding submission is just one update that you
will hear from us this year. Looking
ahead, we also have plans to install a new temporary “Tiny Office” to provide a
new Economic Opportunity Coordinator a space to begin work with the residents
at Friendship Court.
Currently, Piedmont Housing Alliance does not manage
Friendship Court, but that is scheduled to change in May. We are working
closely with current property manager, Edgewood
Management, on the transition. Stay tuned for more information on the coming
If you visit the Friendship Court Community Center on
Thursdays, you may be greeted by the sound of drumming and joyous laughter and
Saman Dashti, also known as Macaco Nova York, makes it a
point to volunteer at Friendship Court once a week in some capacity, not an
easy commitment because he travels regularly and is also a Capoeira enthusiast
and instructor. Dashti discovered the Friendship Court community when he first
moved to Charlottesville with his wife. “I moved here and figured out what was
going on and came here [to volunteer],” he said.
Dashti said he was surprised back then that there were not more groups and individuals volunteering their time and talents at Friendship Court, but said that he thinks that with the redevelopment others will want to come to the community.
Naylia was one attendee, of about seven participants, at a recent session and said she comes every week that Dashti is present because it is fun. When asked what kind of music she likes she said hip hop and “the music we make.”
Dashti’s program consist of drumming, education on beats and
rhythms and movement. On this particular day, he mentioned that Ms. Sheri, Piedmont
Housing Alliance’s Community Outreach Assistant (and resident member of the
Friendship Court Advisory Committee), will be making new shields used in a
dance with the youth.
Dashti recognizes the importance of afrocentric programs in
predominately black communities and touts them as motivation for kids living
there. While emphasis is often put on athletic and STEM programs, he is
furthering the arts as a means to an end to introduce kids to themselves and
the music they can make themselves.
After drumming, kids and their families can enjoy warm meals
provided for the community on Tuesdays and Thursdays by Piedmont Housing
Alliance, catered by JBD Mobile Catering.
Friendship Court residents can learn more about
this and other programs by contacting Claudette Grant at 434-422-4846.
The Friendship Court redevelopment plan made tremendous progress in 2018. The year was focused on reflection and collaboration with an eye toward the future by working with the resident-led Friendship Court Advisory Committee to further the redevelopment plan and hear from all residents.
We kicked off 2018 with our Courtyard Conversations series with Friendship Court residents. During these conversations, the Advisory Committee, sought feedback and input from residents on a revised site plan framework so that the architects and engineers could start drawings for Phase 1 of the redevelopment. The series kicked off in mid-February with a community dinner and then five smaller sessions were held for residents to attend in February and March. After the community gatherings, Claudette, with the help of others, went door to door to solicit as much additional input as possible.
Refining the Redevelopment Plan
The commitment to a redevelopment plan with zero displacement of residents continued in 2018 and in early June we finalized the site plan framework that addressed significant community concerns from the 2016 preliminary master plan, including reducing the number of phases, moving the early childhood center to Phase 1, and including townhomes as well as multifamily apartment-style buildings. The revised plan aims to have all Friendship Court families in their new homes within seven years.
July: Section 8 renewal approved. In July we received notification that the new 20-year, Section 8 contract for Friendship Court was awarded. The Project-Based Section 8 operating subsidy received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) bridges the gap between the operating costs of the property and the available rental income.
August: Advisory Committee selected Harkins Builders as General Contractor. The Advisory Committee chose Harkins Builders as the general contractor for pre-construction services for Phase One of the redevelopment. The process, which lasted throughout the summer of 2018, began with Piedmont Housing Alliance publishing a Request for Proposal (RFP), inviting qualified general contractors to apply. Piedmont Housing staff and the Friendship Court Advisory Committee reviewed proposals and conducted interviews with each builder interested in the work. Each firm went before the Advisory Committee and gave a presentation on their experience and a narrative on how they would approach the Friendship Court redevelopment.
November: Piedmont Housing recognized with Virginia Housing Award. Recognized for its leadership in resident-led planning and design, Piedmont Housing Alliance was awarded a 2018 Virginia Housing Inclusive Communities Award for its work at Friendship Court at the annual Virginia Governors Housing Conference.
In 2019, we look forward to finalizing floor plans, finalizing the building exterior architecture, and detailing the final components of Phase 1, including outdoor play and amenity spaces for the community. Further, we will apply for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) by the March deadline with the goal of beginning construction in early 2020.