Magnolia Gardens awarded $5 million HUD grant

Published 10:17 am Wednesday, April 10, 2024

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Just in time for National Fair Housing Month, Suffolk’s Magnolia Gardens will see a beneficial amount of funding from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

During a Tuesday, April 2 presentation held in Emporia, it was announced that both the 68 unit apartment located at 219 Prospect Rd and Trinity Woods in Emporia were recipients of two comprehensive awards under the Green and Resilient Retrofit Program (GRRP). As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the funding will be used to support energy efficiency and climate resilience renovations for 25 properties part of the HUD’s multifamily rental assistance program designed towards seniors, low-income individuals and families.

During the presentation, HUD Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Matthew Heckles announced that Magnolia Gardens will receive $5,440,000 for “comprehensive, energy efficiency and climate resiliency efforts.”

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“To date, we have allocated $544 million across the country,” Heckles said. “This will impact 12,000 homes. 12,000 senior households, families and others who are going to be living in these new units, these renovated units and energy efficient and climate resilient homes.”

Representing Suffolk, Deputy City Manager Azeez Felder acknowledged Council Members Leroy Bennett and John Rector for their contributions to the efforts towards Magnolia Gardens. Felder thanked those working with the apartment as well as its residents.

“It’s really going to make a wonderful difference in the lives of those residents at Magnolia Gardens, it’s a very, very big deal.” Felder said. “What a momentous and memorable occasion. What a way to kick off National Fair Housing Month.”

Norfolk Urban Outreach Ministry Executive Director Rev. Richard Bridgford, who was involved with the development of both Magnolia Gardens and Trinity Woods, thanked HUD for making the funding available.

“This is going to impact the lives of the residents of two of our buildings,” Bridgford said. “My office has been talking [about] air conditioning for about five years… This is going to allow for a totally new system hopefully to go in.”

Bridgford provided comments on the presentation and award, noting that a “kick off meeting” for further information will occur next week. He also says that funding will be used for reducing the building’s carbon footprint through updated HVAC, LED lighting and new additional windows.

“The needs of the building dovetail well with our understanding of the purpose of the grant,” Bridgford said.

Working with the US HUD for nearly 50 years, Bridgford says it was “really exciting” to receive the award on behalf of Magnolia Gardens.

“This building has some capital needs for which we have been trying to find resources,” he said. “This will help address some of those needs and extend the life of the building and improve the living conditions of the residents.”

Likewise, Bridgford talked about the process of working with the US HUD.

“One has to respect that they are hard working people trying to do a very complicated job within an elaborate network of regulations,” Bridgford said. “My experience is that if I treat them with respect, things get accomplished. For this award, we were fortunate to use an outside consultant to guide us through the process.”

To watch the presentation, go to For more information, go to