In this Issue 




Farewell to Dan Mortensen


BHC Installs Rain Barrels in New Homes  


 Hill Topper 5k Greens Church Hill  


Give to BHC


Donate to BHC  

Help change lives and transform communities by designating your gift to BHC. Thank you! 


Participate in Workplace Giving Campaigns? Please consider designating your gift to BHC.


United Way - #3158


Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign

(CVC) - #3624  

Follow BHC 

Find us on Facebook    View our videos on YouTube
Follow us on Twitter

Events Calendar 



BHC Spring Bus Tours


Wednesdays: April 17,  May 8, & May 15  

12:00 - 2:00 p.m.

See how BHC is transforming Richmond neighborhoods. Lunch and parking provided.


Email Laura Dickinson or call 804-644-0546 x118.


- - - 


Affordable Housing Awareness Week


April 22 - 26   
Join 15 non-profit housing organizations to help ensure that everyone has a safe, affordable place to call home. Click here for list of events


- - -  


Wed, May 1
River Road Shopping Center

Enjoy great food and help BHC programs, too.


Email Laura Dickinson or call 804-644-0546 x118.


BHC Links






Contact Us 

BHC logo
Better Housing Coalition changes lives and transforms communities through high-quality, affordable housing.
P.O. Box 12117
Richmond, VA 23241
P: 804-644-0546
F: 804-644-1057
TKVisionaryTK Somanath Recognized as Visionary Leader in Green, Sustainable Housing


Sylvia Hallock (l) and TK Somanath
KC MGurren (l) and TK Somanath

Breaking news: BHC President and CEO TK Somanath received EarthCraft Virginia's Visionary Award last night (Thursday, March 28th) at the 4th annual Sustainable Leadership Awards ceremony. The signature event recognizes Virginia leaders in the adoption of green, sustainable housing.


Board President Sylvia Hallock presented the award. According to KC McGurren, Executive Director, EarthCraft Virginia selected Somanath for the award because "TK's passion and leadership has helped the community become more aware that green building is a key element of affordable housing and the enhancement of our neighborhoods."


"I was honored to receive this recognition and accepted it on behalf of everyone at BHC and our supporters who help make our green vision a reality," said Somanath. "We share the common belief that green building goes hand-in-hand with affordable housing. For people who struggle to make ends meet, the money they can save on utility and maintenance costs can make a difference in their disposable income and their quality of life.


BHC also was a nominee for Single Family Builder of the Year.


"We are grateful to EarthCraft for being a terrific advocate and technical advisor in all of our green endeavors," added Somanath.


All of BHC's single-family homes built and renovated since 2009 are EarthCraft-certified; and EarthCraft has also certified BHC's Lincoln Mews, Beckstoffer's Mill Lofts, and Beckstoffer's Seniors apartment communities.


To read TK's inspirational acceptance remarks, click here.


See the video produced by Richmond Association of Realtors about BHC's newest EarthCraft-certified development for seniors, Beckstoffer's Seniors:

Beckstoffers Seniors
Beckstoffers Seniors Video


TWCBusTourThe Woman's Club Tours BHC Communities 


26th Teachers n Preachers Block
N. 26th Street "Teachers & Preachers" Block, from the Bus Window

Thirty members and guests of The Woman's Club in Richmond climbed

aboard BHC's tour bus on March 13 to see first-hand how the Better Housing Coalition (BHC) changes lives and transforms communities through high-quality, affordable housing.


Guided by board member Lissy Bryan and staff members Andrea Butler and Mary Kay Huss, tour guests saw striking photos of what several area communities looked like before BHC built and renovated single-family and multi-family homes.They also learned sobering data on the average annual income required to afford to rent or buy a home in Richmond, and how BHC works to even the odds for area residents.


Carter Woods Lobby TWC
Tour Guests Debark for Lunch and Tour at Carter Woods

Over lunch at our Carter Woods seniors' community in East Henrico, guests heard from Joyce Jackson, vice president of community social work, about BHC's social work programs for children, adults and seniors. She explained how our staff help low-income seniors age in place for about $2 per day, compared to the $200 average daily cost of assisted living care.


Finally, BHC's Director of Property Management Tiffany Person inspired the guests with the story of her journey from public housing to home ownership.


Interested in a community bus tour? Contact Laura Dickinson.
GA2013WrapupGeneral Assembly Wrap-up


2013 General Assembly  

During the 2013 Virginia General Assembly session, BHC closely followed the housing bills and budget actions impacting affordable housing initiatives. We are pleased to report the outcome of some of these bills, and grateful to our legislators for passing them:


House Bill (HB) 2005: Codifies the Housing Trust Fund into state law. When state appropriations are dedicated to it in future years, the Housing Trust Fund will provide an additional source of loan and grantfunding for developers of initiatives that meet Virginia's affordable housing objectives. Virginia was previously one of only 10 states without a Housing Trust FundBHC, as a member of the Virginia Housing Coalition, hasbeen advocating for a trust fund for overa decade. HB 2005 was sponsored by Delegate Alfonso Lopez of Arlington.


In a related action, $2 million in additional funding for the Housing Trust Fund was approved in this year's state budget.


HB 1553: Modifies the way "scattered site" affordable housing developments are assessed for real estate tax purposes. BHC believes scattered-site infill development in already established residential neighborhoods are the most sustainable. Many of our scattered site infill rental properties have been assessed at the higher, single-family home ratewithout regard for the impact of income and rent restrictions on the properties. The new law will help to ensure that these properties are assessed equivalently to other affordable housing properties, resulting in more funds available to devote to BHC's mission. HB1553 was sponsored by Delegate Manoli Loupassi of Richmond


Senate Bill (SB) 1004: Provides that a tenant who is a victim of family abuse, sexual abuse, or criminal sexual assault may terminate a rental agreement early, if they provide proof and give proper notice. As a landlord that cares about the well-being of its residents, BHC applauds this new law protecting vulnerable tenants. SB 1004 was sponsored by Senator Janet Howell of Reston.


Click below for a refresher course on how bills become laws:  

I'm Just a Bill (Schoolhouse Rock!)
I'm Just a Bill (Schoolhouse Rock!)



NewBoardnStaffSay Hello to New Board, Staff Members


Atma Iyer
Atma Iyer


Atma Iyer joined BHC's board in February. Atma is Capital One's managing vice president leading the Business Risk Office, and serves as the business chief risk officer for the Card division. He also has responsibility for Capital One's India office and Enterprise Offshore Risk.

Atma lives in Richmond with his wife and daughter. We welcome his experience and guidance.


Stacie Birchett
Stacie Birchett
Stacie Birchett joined BHC as communications manager on the Resource Development and Marketing team. In this role, she develops materials to help raise awareness about BHC and our mission, and generate support for our work. You'll see her handiwork in our newsletters and social media posts, on our website, and many of our printed materials. Prior to joining BHC, Stacie was director of development and communications for the Virginia Health Care Foundation.
Sara Sulla
Sara Sulla



Sara Sulla is BHC's new Human Resources Generalist. In her position, she develops, implements, and oversees the administration of human resources which support the attraction, hiring, retention, training and development, and compensation of BHC employees. Sara graduated magna cum laude from the University of Richmond, and holds a master's degree in human resource management from the University of Scranton.



For a complete listing of BHC board and staff members, click here.  

FarewellDanFarewell to Board Member Dan Mortensen
Dan Mortensen
Dan Mortensen


In March we bid a fond farewell to Dan Mortensen, senior vice president at Capital One and BHC board member since September 2008. Dan served as board secretary, and was a member of BHC's board governance and strategic planning committees.


Throughout his involvement, Dan was a strong advocate for BHC and our work within Capital One and in the community, and we are grateful for the key role he played in helping to streamline some of our systems and operations.  

RainBarrelsBHC Installs Rain Barrels in New Homes


Kim Usry and Paul Johnson
Kim Usry of H2oCollect and Paul Johnson Install on N. 26th Street 


Thanks to a recent grant from the Community Affordable Housing Equity Corporation (CAHEC), 16 of BHC's new single-family homes will receive new rain barrels to collect stormwater runoff. Each barrel holds 50 gallons of water, and is a friend to the environment and residents alike. Collecting the water during the rainy season helps reduce erosion, and homeowners can enjoy lower utility bills by using it to hydrate lawns and gardens.


BHC is committed to using "green" materials and local providers when possible, and purchased the rain barrels from local entrepreneur Kim Usry, owner of H2oCollect. She and her team are installing the barrels at our homes in Blackwell and Church Hill this spring. It's a win all around!


HilltopperHill Topper 5k "Greens" Church Hill


200 runners and walkers converged on Church Hill for the 2nd annual Hill Topper 5k on March 24, coinciding with the Church Hill Irish festival. BHC was a sponsor of the 5k, in which participants were routed through historic area neighborhoods.    

Julie Hovermale & Hill Topper 5K Runners
VP & CFO Julie Hovermale (center), Runners Approach BHC Cheerleaders


As they approached BHC's Lincoln Mews community on Jefferson Street, runners were greeted by a chilly, but enthusiastic cheering section of BHC staff. The overall 5K winner was Tim Orista, with a time of 20:22. For more race results and photos, visit the Hill Topper 5k website.  

Andrea at Jefferson Mews Hilltopper
VP of Resource Development Andrea Butler Leads the Cheering Section