For Immediate Release
March 18th, 2009
CONTACT: Patricia M. Dashiell
703.642-3830, ext. 237
Pam Gannon, CSB
William Skeen, VCC
Brian Matt (VHDA)
Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board,
Wesley Housing Partner for Affordable Housing Group home
to serve individuals with disabilities
Alexandria, VA -- Wesley Housing Development Corporation (Wesley Housing) announced the completion of its newest project in Fairfax County. Located in Springfield, this single family home was converted to a group home serving individuals with disabilities.
The Fairfax-Falls Church County Community Services Board (CSB) partnered with Wesley Housing to meet the needs of this special population, providing a substantial grant to assist with handicapped accessible renovations. Now that the group home has been completed, CSB will begin a 25 year lease, ensuring long-term stability for the project.
“Individuals with disabilities are the least served by affordable housing in our region. We were pleased to work with Fairfax County to help expand the housing options for these people,” stated Shelley S. Murphy, Wesley Housing’s CEO.
The project includes a substantial rehabilitation of the house and the construction of a new, single-story, six-bedroom addition extending from the rear, adding approximately 1,700 square feet. The new facility is 100% handicapped accessible, with six bedrooms, a sitting room, dining room, living room, kitchen and pantry, laundry room, office, mechanical room, and two and a half bathrooms, one of which features a walk-in bathtub. The property also makes use of its expansive garden with a new deck, shaded by large deciduous trees.
Utilizing universal design is important in developing projects for special needs individuals to ensure safety and promote independence. Touch plate lighting, seamless transitions in flooring, and levered handles are examples of small changes that can have a profound impact on the occupants. In this house, incorporating a gently sloped, no-step entrance was key to meeting the needs of residents, as well as widening all doorways, pathways, and hallways and placing switches and outlets at heights appropriate to everyone, including those who may use wheelchairs.
"The CSB provides comprehensive services to persons with mental disabilities. Its residential programs help people lead valued lives integrated in the community, with the individualized support to enable people to live as independently as possible,” stated Alan Wooten, CSB’s Director, Mental Retardation/Intellectual Disabilities Services.
The house is located in a quiet residential neighborhood, close by numerous commercial establishments, including a variety of shopping and service establishments. Residents will also have access to public transportation via the Franconia/Springfield Metro and train (VRE) less than a mile away.
Virginia Community Capital, Inc. (VCC), a nonprofit community development financial institution, provided construction financing in the amount of $700,000.
“Virginia Community Capital was pleased to provide construction financing to this important group home project,” stated William E. Skeen, VCC’s Chief Credit Officer. “VCC’s partnership with Wesley Housing Development Corporation represents the cooperative efforts needed to fund complex housing and services for individuals with disabilities. We were grateful for the opportunity to work with one of Virginia’s leading community housing developers on a project as special as this Springfield group home.”
Now that the project has been completed, VCC will be repaid in full, with long-term financing provided by the Virginia Housing Development Authority, via a SPARC loan in the form of a 35-year mortgage.
"The Virginia Housing Development Authority provides permanent financing for places for people with disabilities to live," said Bill Fuller, VHDA Senior Community Housing Officer. "This Springfield group home is an excellent example of community partners collaborating to do what each does best. Wesley Housing is an excellent builder and manager of housing, while the Community Services Board has the experience to offer excellent programming. Together, they can create state of the art affordable housing for people with very serious disabilities. VHDA is proud to be able to provide financing opportunities that let these two partners work together so successfully."
Wesley Housing Development Corporation's mission is to develop, own, operate, preserve, and maintain affordable housing and sustain quality communities for low-and moderate-income persons in Northern Virginia. In over three decades, Wesley Housing has sponsored the development of 23 communities, totaling over 1,600 housing units serving over 15,000 Northern Virginians. Wesley Housing communities include 3 on-site Community Resident Centers and 3 on-site Resident Services Centers.
Virginia Community Capital, Inc.’s mission is to offer innovative, flexible financial products designed to support housing and community development ventures, increase jobs and build sustainable communities. VCC offers loan capital that is broader than bank lending to projects that have a positive community impact in low- to moderate-income communities in underserved geographies and markets.
The Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board partners with individuals, families, and the community to empower and support Fairfax-Falls Church residents with or at risk of developmental delay, intellectual disabilities, mental illness, and alcohol or drug abuse or dependency.
As the state's housing finance agency, the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) provides a variety of innovative low-interest loans for Virginians who want to purchase homes or to build, renovate or refinance rental housing. These loans are designed to meet the varied needs of today's housing markets, from high-cost, high-growth areas to older cities grappling with revitalization issues and slow growth communities. Visit VHDA at www.vhda.com.