With a $19 million expansion and renovation now complete, a local nonprofit has nearly doubled the capacity of its apartment house for homeless people in the Carver neighborhood.
Virginia Supportive Housing, which offers housing and support services such as counseling and skills training, last week cut the ribbon on its New Clay House, an apartment building at 707 N. Harrison St., at its intersection with Clay Street.
The project expanded the number of apartment units at the property from 47 to 80. Half of the project involved a gutting and expansion of the 124-year-old building that VSH has used as apartments for nearly 30 years. The other half involved building from scratch on a neighboring parcel that the nonprofit bought in 2016.
The project expanded the size of the property’s studio apartments from 150 to 350 square feet, with each getting its own bathroom and kitchenette, which previously were shared.
The apartments are available to those earning 50 percent or less of the area median income. Residents sign a lease to pay one-third of their future income, or a minimum of $50 per month, on rent.
The project also added a large community kitchen, pantry, community room, outdoor courtyard and lounge areas.
VSH had 25 funding sources for the project such as historic tax credits, city grants, bank loans, grants from foundations and private donations, including a $1 million anonymous gift.
Among those in attendance at last week’s ribbon cutting were Mayor Levar Stoney, VSH executive director Allison Bogdanovic and Wanda Stallings, the daughter of the late James Russell Stallings Sr., who previously owned the building and opened it to the nonprofit in the 1990s.
Robert Clark, a resident of the house, also was there. He said he moved to Richmond from New York in 2013 and wound up homeless.
“I’d never been homeless in my life. I couldn’t trust anybody here, and I went through the wringer,” Clark said. He eventually made it to the New Clay House.
“The other thing that people don’t understand is in a community like this here, they became my family. We cook food together, we do things together. So now I do have family here in Virginia- – it’s the residents here,” Clark said.
VSH operates more than 600 housing units in 17 properties throughout Central Virginia, Charlottesville and Hampton Roads.