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National NeighborWorks Week: A Celebration of Home

Alicia Joyce knows Martinsville, Virginia’s Maplewood Apartments well. She grew up there as a child and moved back about seven years ago, while the community was still known as Rivermont Apartments and described by police as one of the most crime-ridden areas in the city. Today, Joyce’s four children happily play outside on a new swing set while an elderly neighbor sits nearby in a lawn chair enjoying the summer weather—a welcome change Joyce attributes to CHP’s rehabilitation of the complex over the past year.

“Being able to see the change is an honor and a blessing,” Joyce said. “The people enjoy their properties now. They take more care of the units and they just like where they live. It’s comfortable. I enjoy my apartment.”

Joyce represents just one of almost 400 households that CHP officially reintroduced to the affordable rental housing market over four days during National NeighborWorks Week. As a NEIGHBORWORKS AMERICA chartered member, CHP joined other member organizations across the country in a week-long initiative to celebrate neighborhood change and awareness.

In recognition of four major multi-family property renovations recently completed by CHP’s in-house architecture and construction teams, CHP hosted dedication ceremonies at each site. Over 200 community leaders, funding and service partners, residents, and staff members came out for the events in honor of the improvements made at Main Cross Apartments in Mount Sterling, Kentucky; Maplewood Apartments in Martinsville, Virginia; Laurel Woods Apartments in Pulaski, Virginia; and Greenstone on 5th Apartments in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Thanks to the diligence of CHP’ development department, each of the apartment community renovation projects were funded in part with Low Income Housing Tax Credits, which are an indirect federal subsidy used to finance the development of affordable rental housing for low-income households.

Taking, on average, a year to complete, upgrades at the communities ranged from new HVAC systems, siding, flooring, kitchens, and baths to new community centers and Universal Design features in select apartments. All design and construction was also performed to meet EARTHCRAFT or ENERGYSTAR standards for more durable and energy-efficient facilities and improved comfort and affordability for the residents.

Latisha Garrant, a mother of four and resident at Greenstone on 5th Apartments, says the improvements to her community are important to her whole family. “Because it’s affordable to live here, I can actually save and do more stuff with the kids...and they can also go to the new community center to just hang out with friends and get to know everybody,” said Garrant. Living at Greenstone on 5th, explains Garrant, means more family time for her and a chance to succeed in life.

CHP President and CEO Janaka Casper said it was an honor for CHP to be a part of the recent community transformations because, ”when it’s all said and done, home is what really matters. This week is truly about Alicia, Latisha, and the other residents living in CHP communities...the fact that they have a safe, decent, and affordable home in which to live. Because home is the launching pad for everything that we do. Home is where we’re protected. It’s where our health and spirits are restored. It’s where we become empowered, encouraged, and inspired.”