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Suffolk apartment project gets state money

A Suffolk housing project on Portsmouth Boulevard is among 24 throughout the state that will receive a share of more than $21 million in loans designed to help improve access to affordable housing, reduce homelessness and provide options for those with intellectual or developmental disabilities to have permanent supportive housing options.

Oak Terrace LLC plans to build 120 two- and three-bedroom apartments among five three-story buildings at 1140 Portsmouth Blvd. and will receive $700,000 from the Virginia Housing Trust Fund for the project. The project is to be located between the Magnolia Gardens and Heritage Acres apartments, adjacent to the 7-Eleven on the corner of Portsmouth Boulevard and Nansemond Parkway.

The construction is to be built to EarthCraft standards, meaning it is an energy-efficient home designed to reduce environmental impacts, and includes a playground and picnic shelter, a community building with laundry facilities, a computer room and an exercise area. Forty units will meet universal design requirements and 12 will be Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant, with three apartments set up to serve people who have sensory impairments.

Commonwealth Catholic Charities will provide financial coaching and education, along with employment services to tenants.

“Quality, affordable housing is the key to advancing equity, opportunity, and economic prosperity in every corner of our Commonwealth,” Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement. “The Affordable and Special Needs Housing program is an important resource for increasing access to safe and sustainable housing for low-income families, individuals with disabilities, and Virginians experiencing homelessness.”

In this round of funding, the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development awarded about $1.6 million in HOME Investment Partnership funding, $1.1 million in National Housing Trust Fund money, $12.6 million in Virginia Housing Trust Fund money and $6.2 million in Housing Innovations in Energy Efficiency money.

The General Assembly put in $70.7 million into the Virginia Housing Trust Fund in the current fiscal year. It provides financing for the construction of affordable housing units, reduces the cost of affordable housing and increases homeownership.

“Providing housing stability and supporting programs to make homelessness rare, brief, and nonrecurring is more important now than ever as we turn the corner from this pandemic,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball in a statement. “These loans will fill gaps in financing to make safe and affordable housing for our most vulnerable populations possible, which in turn strengthens our communities, our economy, and improves the lives of many Virginians across the Commonwealth.”