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March 2013 - In This Issue:
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APRIL IS FAIR HOUSING MONTH!
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April marks the 45th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act of 1968. The Act is intended to guarantee all citizens -- regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap -- equal access to housing.
  
Local Fair Housing Trainings & Seminars
Presented by the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR

Thursday, April 11 
Fair Housing Seminar (Register)
9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Hoarding Forum (Register)

2 to 4:30 p.m. 
 

Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library 4100 Virginia Beach Blvd. 

 

Presented by the Hampton Community Development Department

Thursday, April 25

4 to 7:30 p.m.
Ruppert Sargent City Administration Building 1
Franklin Street
Hampton, VA  23669
  
Register by April 22 to Cindy Woolwine at (757) 727-6435.
  
New Fair Housing App for iPhone & iPad
The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) unveiled a new fair housing app to provide the public with a quick and easy way to learn about their housing rights, file housing discrimination complaints, and inform the housing industry about its responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act. Download the app from the Apple App store at www.apple.com
Recent Virginia Fair Housing Settlement
A recent housing discrimination case came to HUD's attention when a Hispanic woman filed a complaint alleging that Virginia Realty, a property management company that manages over 500 rental units throughout Virginia Beach and Norfolk, refused to provide her a rental application because she could not speak English well and refused the translation assistance of the bilingual person she brought with her. HUD's investigation found that the company had a written policy expressly requiring all prospective tenants to be able to communicate with management staff in English without assistance from others, and to complete rental applications only while they were in the management office. 
  
As a result of HUD's investigation, Virginia Realty entered into two agreements: to pay the prospective tenant $7,500 and donate $25,000 each to the Piedmont Housing Alliance, Hampton Roads Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Nueva Vida (New Life) Outreach International Church to support fair housing initiatives.

The company will also adopt and share a non-discrimination policy with current residents and prospective tenants; adopt a plan to more effectively serve Limited English Proficient residents and prospective tenants by providing translation and interpretation services; and require fair housing training for employees.

Fair Housing Assistance & Resources
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS ONLINE ON POSSIBLE HOUSING RESOURCE CENTER
housingresourceThe city manager's proposed budget for 2013-14 includes funding for design of a Housing Resource Center at 104 N. Witchduck Road. Before determining what should be done with the site, the City Council wants to hear from you.

Join our Virtual Town Hall forum to share your thoughts about this proposal. This forum will close April 29 at 5 p.m.

Since 2008, the city has been seeking a site to relocate the Lighthouse Center, currently at 18th Street and Washington Avenue, near the Virginia Beach Convention Center. The Lighthouse Center provides day services for single homeless adults and is a gathering point for the Winter Shelter program. The need to relocate and expand the center is part of a community plan to do a better job of ending homelessness, to meet federal requirements, to expand services to families, to provide a central assessment center with more capability, and to provide new shelter or housing options that reduce and shorten homelessness.

In June 2012, the City Council authorized the purchase of the site at 104 N. Witchduck Road as a possible location for a Housing Resource Center. Part of that site was needed for the Witchduck Road widening project. The City Council will consider whether to fund the design phase of a center at that site when it votes on the proposed budget May 14.

HOME BUYERS: WANT TO SAVE 25% ON YOUR MONTHLY MORTGAGE PAYMENT?
See if You Qualify for Our Workforce Housing Program!
RiverLake ModelHousing & Neighborhood Preservation is accepting applications for an opportunity to purchase a workforce housing unit at RiverLake, the city's first workforce housing development. 

RiverLake, a development of Geo Development Corporation, is currently under construction at 4480-4488 Indian River Road in Virginia Beach. Seven homes at RiverLake will be workforce housing units: six three-bedroom units and one four-bedroom unit. The workforce housing units will be nearly indistinguishable from the other 35 units at RiverLake and will be evenly distributed throughout the development. 

RiverLake-model-PotomacWHAT IS THE WORKFORCE HOUSING PROGRAM?
The Workforce Housing Program is designed to enhance affordable housing opportunities so that vital members of our workforce are able to live and work in Virginia Beach. How? 

The program helps eligible buyers purchase a workforce housing unit with special financing that allows for more affordable monthly mortgage payments. 

To be eligible, households must live or work full-time in Virginia Beach, cannot own other real estate, and must meet income and asset restrictions. Households must be able to pre-qualify for a first mortgage in the low $200,000 range.

For more information, contact Cheryl Smith at (757) 385-5742. 

HOUSING & HOMELESSNESS INFORMATION FAIR HELD ON MARCH 19
Event Highlighted Housing Issues, Opportunities & Solutions
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On March 19, approximately 50 to 75 citizens attended the Housing and Homelessness Information Fair at the Renaissance Academy to learn about the variety of housing and related resources that are available in their community. During the event, representatives from city agencies, non-profits, the faith community and civic organizations provided information on topics including affordable rental housing, homelessness, homeownership, code enforcement, fair housing, civic engagement, housing opportunities for veterans, workforce housing and more.

Andrew Friedman, Director of Housing and Neighborhood Preservation, and Tim McCarthy, Chairperson of the BEACH Community Partnership, gave a presentation on the city, faith community and non-profit agencies' ongoing commitment to end homelessness and create affordable housing opportunities in Virginia Beach. The presentation provided information on upcoming projects and initiatives, including an overview of the current study of the housing crisis response system and the possible Housing Resource Center.

The Housing and Homelessness Information Fair was co-sponsored by Housing and Neighborhood Preservation and the BEACH Community Partnership. Other participating organizations included the Eastern Virginia AIDS Network (EVAN); Endependence Center; ForKids, inc.; Department of Human Services; Judeo-Christian Outreach Center (JCOC); Virginia Beach City Public Schools - Project Hope; Samaritan House; Seton Youth Shelters; StandUp For Kids; Virginia Beach Community Development Corporation (VBCDC); Virginia Beach Council of Civic Organizations (VBCCO); Virginia Organizing; Virginia Supportive Housing and Volunteers of America (VOA).
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