Agreement limits low-income housing in redeveloped Creighton Court
Jeremy M. Lazarus | 6/1/2023, 6 p.m.
Highly visible work is underway along Nine Mile Road in the East End as crews and machines prepare the land for the new townhouses and apartments that eventually will replace the 504 public housing units in Creighton Court.
Far less visible are the restrictions that Mayor Levar M. Stoney’s administration has imposed to ensure a mixed-income community emerges from the development the city’s housing authority and its partner, Boston-based The Community Builders (TCB), are undertaking.
As the Free Press previously reported, TCB expects to set a Richmond record for the per-unit cost, projected to top $461,000 for each residence when infrastructure is included.
In exchange for receiving $21.4 mil- lion from the city to help pay for the new streets, sidewalks, underground utilities and other infrastructure, the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority signed an agreement to limit the number of low- and very low-income residents who will be allowed to live in the 626 apartments and 105 townhouses that are to be built over the next few years.
The agreement focuses primarily on the units that will replace the apartments that Creighton Court has offered.
According to the Creighton plan, TCB plans to develop 506 affordable or income-restricted apartments to replace the Creighton units, along with 120 market-rate apartments.
Under the agreement’s terms, RRHA can only subsidize 126 of the new affordable apartments for individuals and families with incomes at 30% or less than the Richmond area median income, as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
For 2022, HUD defined the area median income at $70,500 for an individual and nearly $101,000 for family of four. At 30 percent, individuals would make $21,150 or less per year while household of four people would have an income of $30,200 or less. HUD re-sets the limits each year.
The bottom line: Far fewer individuals and families who could easily qualify for public housing will be able to live the new community.
As part of the agreement with the city, RRHA also has agreed to limit to 60% the number of units provided to people with annual incomes of 60% or less of the area median income. HUD defined the 60% limit in 2022 as $42,300 for an individual and $60,420 for a family of four.
The result: Of the 506 affordable apartments, only 303 could be occupied by those with incomes of 60% of the area median income. That includes the 126 for those incomes of 30% or less than the area median income.
That limit also would apply to 55 townhouses that are being built as affordable, defined as being priced for those with incomes of 80% or less than the area median income. In 2022, HUD defined 80 percent of the Richmond area median income as $56,400 for an individual and $80,550 for a family of four.
Based on the agreement, 33 could be marketed to those with incomes of 60% or less of the area median income.