$60 million from HUD will help two Hampton Roads cities with redevelopment

Ben Carson, secretary of Housing and Urban Development Authority and Newport News Mayor McKinley Price hold a check for $30 million check at the city council chambers in Newport New (WYDaily/ Julia Marsigliano)
Ben Carson, secretary of Housing and Urban Development Authority and Newport News Mayor McKinley Price hold a check for $30 million check at the City Council chambers in Newport New (Southside Daily/ Julia Marsigliano)

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson was in Newport News Monday carrying two big checks: $30 million each for Newport News and Norfolk.

“There are three Choice Neighborhood Initiative being awarded and two of them are in Virginia,” Carson said during a news conference in City Council Chambers attended by at least 160 people. Newport News Mayor McKinley Price also spoke.

The announcement was met with applause.

Newport News applied for the HUD’s CNI program this past year to get funding for the Marshall-Ridley neighborhoods, part of the city’s Transformation Plan for the Southeast community.

Funding will transform the Marshall-Ridley area in the Southeast Community, creating new housing options, community services, recreational opportunities and parks. Newport News received the maximum amount of funding allowable from HUD.

Related story from Southside Daily’s sister publication, WYDaily: A community torn by violence: Stories from southeast Newport News

In the 2015-2016 year, the city received $500,000 from HUD, with some of the grant money being used for a mural at the Boys and Girls Club.

“Marshall-Ridley neighborhood will see $3.75 million in new investment,” Carson said, adding HUD would work with both public and private entities for these grants like the Newport News Shipbuilding, who recently helped fund a co-working space.

Price said May 13 would be a day future generations would look back on.

“We did it,” he said.

For Norfolk, it will be for the Tidewater Gardens community in the St. Paul’s Area. The grant will provide the following support:

  • More than 600 housing choice vouchers. One for every Tidewater Gardens household who chooses this option. These vouchers are above and beyond the annual HUD allotment.
  • $4.5M in supportive services to expand the capacity of People First.
  • $4.5M for neighborhood amenities such as a 60,000-square-foot catalytic community hub for culinary arts, technology, art and more.
  • $21M for housing redevelopment. This includes replacement, affordable and market rate housing options.

NRHA and the Norfolk applied for funding to support the transformation of the St. Paul’s Area in September 2018. The St. Paul’s Area is more than 200 acres which contains three public housing communities and is subject to extensive flooding. Norfolk’s transformation plan includes parallel efforts of both people and place.

Apart from the $30 million Norfolk will receive from HUD, the city and its partners have made investments and commitments of more than $158.5 million in the St. Paul’s area, city officials said.

Officials said “The grant funding will help break the cycle of intergenerational poverty by investing in residents with supportive services around housing, employment, education and health and wellness programs.”

It creates a system of parks, open space and streets to manage stormwater and flooding; provides recreational, cultural and educational amenities; reconnects the community to regional assets; and, provides diverse housing types to accommodate all incomes.

For information on St. Paul’s Area, click here.

U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine and U.S. Reps. Bobby Scott and Elaine Luria applauded HUD’s announcement.

“This is a big win to ensure safe, affordable housing for underserved communities in Hampton Roads. We are thrilled HUD selected Virginia for these grants that will allow Newport News and Norfolk to put their redevelopment plans into action so they can start making critical public housing improvements for residents,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement.

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John Mangalonzo (john@localvoicemedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.