The Housing and Neighborhoods Division is comprised of Neighborhood Planning and Block Grant Administration. Their primary focus is
to manage and promote neighborhood revitalization and stabilization efforts by involving residents and other stakeholders in the
Neighborhood Planning staff manages several programs designed to enhance the vitality of the city's neighborhoods. Collectively,
the programs strengthen communities, increase homeownership, promote attractive affordable housing, and reduce blight. One such
program is the Neighborhoods in Bloom (NiB) program, the recipient of the
U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
secretary's Opportunity and Empowerment Award. With NiB, staff works with nonprofit groups to buy, rehabilitate and sell vacant
houses for homeownership. Similarly, the program buys vacant lots, builds houses, and sells them for homeownership.
Staff also manages the Neighborhood stabilization Program to buy foreclosed properties to be restored for affordable home ownership
and rental opportunities.
- Affordable Dwelling Units Program
- Affordable Housing Trust Fund
- City Employee Homeownership Program
In addition to managing housing programs, staff provides technical assistance to persons interested in
starting or strengthening civic associations.
Neighborhoods in Bloom
Neighborhoods in Bloom (NIB) is an innovative program that supports the restoration
of Richmond's historic neighborhoods that began in Fall 1999.
The process to select the "Neighborhoods in Bloom" areas was very inclusive and deliberate. City staff developed a set of evaluation
criteria to assess the conditions and potential for revitalization of each of the city's neighborhoods.
Neighborhood condition criteria included the following items.
- the number of vacant properties
- crime statistics
- poverty levels
- home ownership rates
- housing quality
Revitalization potential was evaluated upon the strength of civic associations in the neighborhoods, the existence of redevelopment plans, and market trends.
City staff conducted numerous community meetings to obtain citizen input on the
process and the neighborhoods they would recommend for the Neighborhoods in Bloom
program. All of this information - the data, categorizations, and community perspectives
- was provided to three separate groups. These were a group of civic leaders, a
task force of housing providers, and city staff.
Each group independently reviewed the neighborhoods and recommended the finalists.
After their independent evaluation, representatives from the three groups met to
consolidate their decisions into a consensus recommendation to City Council for
approval of the first "Neighborhoods in Bloom" communities.
The initial program premise was, and remains, that a concentrated investment of
resources in a limited impact area can have a substantial impact for a targeted
revitalization area. In Nib, the city works with nonprofit partners who
- Buy vacant houses, rehabilitate them, and sell them for home ownership.
- Buy vacant lots, build houses, and sell them for home ownership.
- Provide homebuyer education classes and counsel potential buyers in determining
affordability and purchase power.
- Provide down payment assistance.
- Assist owner occupants with house repairs and renovations.
In addition to removing blight and increasing home ownership in the city, the
program seeks to instill private sector confidence to invest in rental and for sale.
More NiB program information can be found here.
- John Accordino, George Galster, and Peter Tatian (2005). "The Impacts ofTargeted
Public and Nonprofit Investment on Neighborhood Development." Community Affairs
Office of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Cindy Elmore and Dan Tatar (2004).
- "Neighborhoods in Bloom Program Cultivates Change in Richmond," Marketwise 2004,
Issue 1. The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond and the Richmond, Virginia office
of LISC. (2005).
- "Neighborhoods in Bloom Program Spurs Changes in Several Areas of Richmond," The
Richmond Times-Dispatch, July 17, 2005.