Affordable apartments open in Fishersville - Joint Venture with James Doran Company

Written by: Gina Farthing

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An apartment complex aimed at filling a need for affordable housing opened Wednesday in Fishersville.

Waterford Village Apartments off Imperial Drive is a development from the Mount Pleasant, S.C.-based Humanities Foundation. It contains 96 two- and three-bedroom units, and it was built in conjunction with the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program, which allows the Humanities Foundation to offer affordable rents.

“The tax credits help to pay for construction, making a smaller amount needed for a mortgage loan and enables a smaller rent to be charged,” said Jim Chandler, director of Low Income Housing Tax Credit Programs for the Virginia Housing Development Authority.

That’s important considering the lack of affordable housing in the Valley.

“We’re very needy in this area,” said Ophelia Kier-Johnson, a housing resource specialist with Total Action Against Poverty. “I’ve placed 200 people into homes since I began with this program, from January 2010 through now. There are lots of small families that cannot afford housing but don’t qualify for Section 8 vouchers.”

Waterford Village accepts vouchers, she said, but also is income-based.

Laura Kirkpatrick, the complex’s office manager, said that rents are the same for all tenants not subsidized: $604 for a two-bedroom apartment and $698 for a three-bedroom.

Anyone interested in leasing an apartment will need to qualify through a screening process that includes a check of the income of all persons who would occupy an apartment.

Kirkpatrick said the income levels change depending upon the number of people in a household, but the base numbers are $20,150 for one person to $34,000 for a family of six. Yearly and monthly income levels must be at least $1,500 for a two-bedroom, and $1,725 for a three-bedroom.

What impressed Kirkpatrick about Waterford Village was the Humanities Foundation’s attitude towards people.

“They’re not just building apartment buildings,” she said, “they are building communities bringing in other resources its [residents] might need like tutoring, social services and more.”

The Humanities Foundation and the VHDA have another 96-unit development under construction that would help low-income families in Stuarts Draft. It’s called Montague Terrace and is slated for completion this fall.

An affordable housing development also is under construction in Weyers Cave by William Park of Pinnacle Construction in Charlottesville, said the VHDA’s Chandler.

Dennis Burnette, Augusta County’s director of economic development, figures the projects are an indication that the times are changing.

“I do think it’s a sign of the economy turning around,” Burnette said. “We have a quality structure here. It’s a huge investment by Humanities Foundation.”

He noted that many people are having to regroup after being laid off and/or losing their homes. So they need more housing options.

“Now we’re able to offer it to the people,” Burnette said. “We’ve had some holes there in the past, and there are still some homes for sale. But people can get a new start with a new job and be able to afford a place to live.”