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For Immediate Release
Rockbridge County Contacts: Sam Crickenberger, (540) 464-9662, email@example.com and Brandy Flint, (540) 464-9662, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rockbridge Area Habitat for Humanity Contact: Lynn Leech, (540) 463-3770, email@example.com
CSPDC Contacts: Bonnie Riedesel, (540) 885-5174, firstname.lastname@example.org and Tracy Hibbitts, (540) 885-5174, email@example.com
STAUNTON (September 22, 2017) —Rockbridge County has been awarded a $476,693 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to add neighborhood infrastructure and twelve new homes to the Greenhouse Village Housing Production Project. This award will advance Phase II of the project, which is a cluster development of single-family homes completed in partnership with Rockbridge Area Habitat for Humanity (Habitat). The project is in a designated growth area where Rockbridge County has identified a need for safe and affordable low- to moderate-income family housing. The estimated cost of home construction for Phase II is $1,808,100.
Rockbridge County’s Kerrs Creek District Supervisor, Rusty Ford commented on the award: "Improving access to affordable, single-family housing has long been a major need in Rockbridge County. With this latest grant, we have once again been able to leverage local investment of time, funds, and hard work into a substantial cash award. Now we can provide infrastructure for a whole new series of dwellings at Greenhouse Village. We are grateful to the Habitat board and staff, the RCHS building trades program, and the many local churches and other civic organizations that have come together to make this development a reality. There was stiff statewide competition for this grant, and so particular thanks are due to the county's community development office, without whose steady commitment none of this could have happened."
Habitat began building homes in Greenhouse Village in 2010 and has built fifteen homes in the neighborhood to date. Between 2012-2013, Habitat’s partnership with Rockbridge County blossomed with the award of CDBG funds to plan for and construct eight of these homes. Phase II will add an additional twelve homes, for a total of 27, and the additional infrastructure upgrades will allow Habitat to build eight more homes in the future.
Habitat’s Executive Director Lynn Leech commented on the award: “Rockbridge Area Habitat is delighted by the news of the award of the Community Development Block Grant. These funds will enable our continued development of Greenhouse Village to provide much-needed affordable housing for local low-income homebuyers. We very much appreciate the Board of Supervisors’ support of our mission and look forward to continued collaboration with the Board and County officials during the grant period and beyond.”
The funding also contributes to trade skill development in the region. Rockbridge Area Habitat typically builds four homes a year, one of which is a modular home built by students in the Building Trades Department at the Floyd S. Kay Technical Center at Rockbridge County High School (RCHS), which is within walking distance of the Greenhouse Village development. The modular home is constructed on school grounds, then transported to the house site, where Habitat completes the construction.
Building Trades instructor Kurt Bennett talked about the importance of the Habitat partnership and the Greenhouse Village project to his program: “The merger between RCHS and Habitat is very important to the education of our students...Having the build site so close to the high school makes transporting the house easier and gets the community involved.” RCHS Building Trades student Joseph Keen echoed the importance of the project’s proximity, and that in his final year of training he looks forward to “Being able to see all the hard work come together and to be proud to see what you have worked on for two years.”
Down payment, and water and sewer connection fees assistance is expected to be made available to eligible Greenhouse Village applicants through additional programs. The Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission has assisted Rockbridge County with the CDBG grant applications for both phases of the Greenhouse Village project, and will provide ongoing grant administrative services.
The federally-funded CDBG program has been administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development since 1982. CDBG grants are awarded through a competitive process, and Virginia receives approximately $17 million annually for this program. Most projects benefit low- and moderate-income persons or communities.