, 37 tweets, 6 min read Read on Twitter
it’s a packed house here at cityspace for a joint work session of city council and the housing advisory committee. i’ll only be here for the first hour or so before switching over to the albemarle county school board meeting at 6:30.
this seems minor, but i deeply appreciate the room setup tonight - meeting participants are seated in a U-shape, all facing the audience. they have name cards and are mic’ed. this makes a huge difference.
the meeting is being live-streamed here, if anyone’s interested in this city work session on housing

the meeting chair says they have slightly under two hours — they must have a hard finish time of 7pm. the paid facilitator council has used for previous work sessions and retreats is also seated at the table.
“i will manage our time, but i will not be a fascist,” the facilitator says cheerfully. uncomfortable choice of words here on charlottesville’s downtown mall.
after a brief history of the housing advisory committee, the chair hands it over to another committee member.

a 2BR apt in cville was $931 in 2011 and has risen 27% to nearly $1200/mo now.
“we feel a great sense of responsibility and urgency” to solve this crisis.
schuyler: 25% of cville families “do not earn enough to be self sufficient.”
he says we can’t lose sight of the fact that “these are actual, real people” who are struggling
schuyler: in recent years, city council dedicated $900,000 for a city version of housing choice vouchers, which has moved about 70 families off our (very long) wait list.
schuyler: policies approved by council & not yet implemented: identifying city owned property they could be suitable for affordable housing, waiving fees associated with building affordable housing
”affordable” here is defined as 80% AMI. wes asks why we can’t go lower? wes: “we have to stop thinking of 80% of AMI as affordable. a lot of people can’t afford that.”
ms joy: “it does not house people.”
turns out the mics are for recording only and are not amplifying sound in the room. a lot of people are struggling to follow the conversation.
no project has yet taken advantage of the policy that would waive fees for affordable housing development.
lisa robertson from the city atty’s office is advising them on possible modifications to the ordinance behind this policy.
wes wants to see it on a council agenda, nikuyah is skeptical - wants to know how beneficial such a policy would even be.
lisa robertson: clarification is needed on what’s even meant by fees here
ms joy asks how much money in fees this actually refers to. rosensweig says, depending on the size of the project, maybe $10,000.
(is this enough money to change any developer’s mind??)
schuyler is now defining the term “AMI” and how it’s being used here, for the audience’s benefit.
he reminds us that the real need is for people at the lower end of the spectrum. “the folks who need help the most require the most investment and we need to be ready for that.”
schuyler: 439 obsolete homes in friendship court need to be rebuilt.

pending council action is the creation of a land bank. what does the city already own that they could put affordable housing on? what could the city buy?
they also encourage the development of “accessory dwelling units” and purpose-built rental units that fill the missing middle — plenty of people could afford $800/mo units without assistance, but these units don’t exist here.
kathy, clarifying, says private developers could build affordable units at 80% AMI, and the city could then use vouchers to get them down to 60% AMI. schuyler agrees that this is possible, but an unstable arrangement for many people in that situation.
wes: the housing authority needs to be more involved. other localities use their housing authority to BUILD and develop affordable housing. “we believe our housing authority isn’t capable of doing this type of work” because of past events, but is doing phenomenal work now.
wes: the city can’t purchase land. they need a mechanism to do so & it should be the housing authority. use housing authority to purchase lots, empower them to do this job. “let’s utilize the tool we already have instead of making new tools.”
kathy: “you need to be able to float bonds. you need a credit rating to be able to do that & that’s where things break down with the housing authority.”
“how do you activate the housing authority if it doesn’t have a credit rating?”
HAC chair d’oronzio says kathy & wes have jumped ahead in the presentation & wants us to come back to the agenda.
kathy: many properties have existing covenants prohibiting accessory dwelling units.
d’oronzio: there are things you can do to “juice that up” (i assume that means get around the underlying covenants somehow?)
the problem with tying rent on affordable units to AMI is that when AMI goes up, rents go up — and the income of people in affordable housing doesn’t always increase at the same rate as the area median income.
mathon reading a statement now about the historical failure of the city to be accountable to the low wealth community, particularly communities of color. housing in the US has deliberately been a tool of racial oppression.
mathon: the housing needs assessment is not the complete picture of what the city needs. gaps re: homelessness, home repair, and others
mathon: the housing strategy needs to have concrete goals beyond just unit numbers. outreach process will engage the community as a whole.
he offers two timelines for this process - “aggressive/optimistic” and “aggressive/skeptical.” the audience chuckles a little at this.
mathon says they estimated the amount they’d need a bit high to avoid having to come back to ask for more. wes asks if they’ll return unused funds & mathon says they will.
the housing needs assessment says they need 4000 units by 2040. rosensweig says shooting for just a number has negative consequences - you have to look at qualitative components. “the tendency to look at units instead of housing solutions” has consequences.
rosensweig emphasizes the importance of community engagement “so we can craft a policy that’s fit for the people who need it”
“housing is a continuum, it’s a process.” he cites the gradations of homelessness.
nikuyah asks what that $200,000 price tag for a consultant buys us. much of this knowledge already exists in our community.
rosensweig: “we want council to adopt a resolution to adopt a fuller range of qualitative needs into the housing needs assessment” ???
rosensweig: “this doesn’t have a price tag... except for the $200,000 for community engagement.” he finishes by asking “does that make sense?” to which nikuyah replies, “no.”
“some of where there’s inequity in housing is where people can afford to live.” rosensweig says they don’t have detailed info about what’s affordable in different areas.

cville’s home ownership rate is half the national avg, but we don’t have racial breakdown on that data.
rosensweig cites an anecdote about a woman who had to move twice due to bullying in her son’s school, but couldn’t afford units in all districts. nikuyah says this sounds like an issue to address with the schools, rather than moving district to district.
speaking of schools, i have to leave in a few minutes to make it to the school board meeting! you can watch the rest of THIS meeting on facebook live here...
the thrilling conclusion of the HAC work session will be tweeted by rory, starting here:

Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to molly 🐶
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!