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Newsletter TitleSeptember/October 2010

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October is Housing America Month
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Housing America Month is part of a yearlong effort led by the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) to inform the public and decision makers about the need to meet the country's affordable housing and community development challenges. 
Learn how affordable housing benefits the community and why it's needed in Virginia Beach. Plus, in this issue of Connections, you'll find out what projects we're working on to expand housing opportunities in the city. 
Housing Assistance Available for Homeless Veterans
VA LogoThe U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is awarding Housing & Neighborhood Preservation $196,398 in additional funds to provide rental housing vouchers to 25 veterans through the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) program. This funding is renewable on an annual basis.
The VASH program helps homeless veterans obtain affordable rental housing. Participants pay 30 percent of their adjusted gross income towards rent; the difference in rent is subsidized through the program.
Thirty-five vouchers have already been issued through the program. With the addition of these funds, the city will be able to help a total of 60 homeless veterans in Virginia Beach to obtain housing.
The Hampton Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center is now taking applications for the new vouchers. To apply for the program, interested veterans must contact the Hampton VA Medical Center at 722-9961.
Assistance Available for Homeowners without Heat
Need heat during the winter? Contact us about our Emergency Home Repair Program. We can help provide heat to eligible homeowners during the winter. The program provides a one-time-only grant up to $8,500 to assist eligible homeowners with repairs that are required to remove health and safety hazards. There is no minimum cost of rehabilitation.

Beginning October 1, homeowners without heat may receive assistance to replace or repair heating equipment. Other eligible activities include correcting electrical hazards and defective roofs and sewer lines. The program also assists with making homes more accessible for the physically disabled. Service calls or routine maintenance are not covered.

Eligibility requirements and conditions apply. Assistance is provided based on the availability of funding. For more information, contact Olin Walden at 385-5760, or call 385-5750 and ask for a housing specialist.
Donation Meters Offer Additional Option to Help the Homeless
Donation MeterYou may spot eight red parking meters the next time you walk along the Boardwalk. These meters are part of the Donation Meter program, a one-year pilot program, which City Council approved on August 10. The program is designed to help reduce panhandling in the resort area but still provide an option for those who want to give to the homeless.

By using the meters, citizens will have a better idea of where their donations are going. A committee will make recommendations to Housing & Neighborhood Preservation on how these funds should be spent. Proceeds from donations and $1,000 sponsorships of each meter may go towards organizations dedicated to helping the homeless or to provide basic supplies, outreach and support.

The Donation Meter program is an initiative of the Resort Advisory Commission (RAC), a Council-appointed group that identifies and works together to address resort-related issues. For more information, contact John Boylan, homeless policy and resource coordinator, at 385-5761.
Housing & Neighborhood Preservation, VBSO Work Together to Fight Graffiti
graffiti beforeThanks to a new partnership with the Virginia Beach Sheriff's Office (VBSO), victims of graffiti on their property can still have it removed for free through Housing & Neighborhood Preservation's Graffiti Abatement Program. Funding for the program was discontinued for fiscal year 2010-2011. In July, the VBSO started working with our Code Enforcement division to continue offering free graffiti graffiti afterabatement services to Virginia Beach residents at no labor cost to the city. Through the program, Code Enforcement can arrange for the Virginia Beach Sheriff's Workforce to remove the graffiti by power washing or painting over the defacement.

"It is our goal to remove the graffiti as soon as possible to discourage it from happening again," says Wells Freed, housing code administrator. "It has been proven that the quicker graffiti is removed, the less chance there is that it will reoccur in the same location." 
JCOC Developing New Apartment Complex for Homeless
West LaneThe Judeo-Christian Outreach Center (JCOC) is currently developing a new 16-unit apartment complex, which will provide housing for 22 chronically homeless persons. The building, located at 401 West Lane in Virginia Beach, will also provide housing for homeless veterans. Residents will pay rent and have access to support services onsite, including an occupational therapist and case managers. These services help residents transition from being homeless to living in permanent housing and will help them reach their maximum level of self-sufficiency. When the complex is completed in January 2010, it will increase the number of affordable housing options in the city.
Meet Andrew Friedman, Housing & Neighborhood Preservation Director
AndyAndrew Friedman has been the director of the Department of Housing & Neighborhood Preservation since July 1993. As the director, he helped to expand and consolidate code enforcement, housing rehabilitation programs, rental assistance programs, and youth and neighborhood assistance activities. As part of his work to increase affordable housing opportunities, Mr. Friedman has participated in regional and state activities, including serving as a past president of the Virginia Association of Housing and Community Development Officials (VAHCDO) and as a member of the Virginia Housing Coalition Board of Directors. Mr. Friedman was also recently appointed to serve on Governor Bob McDonnell's state Housing Policy Advisory Committee.

Mr. Friedman has lived in Virginia Beach since 1986. He is married with two sons, both of whom attended Virginia Beach City Public Schools.
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