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Waynesboro City Council OKs grant money to help with affordable housing

Waynesboro City Council OKs grant money to help with affordable housing

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A significant chunk of Waynesboro’s annual federal Community Development Block Grant money is ticketed to offer affordable housing in the city.

Waynesboro City Council approved a plan for allocating $193,000 in CDBG funding and $117,476 in CARES Act funds at its meeting Monday night.

About $65,000 of those funds will help provide road improvements for a Staunton-Augusta-Waynesboro Habitat for Humanity housing development at Kirby Avenue and C Street in Waynesboro, according to Luke Juday, Waynesboro’s director of planning. The road upgrades will also provide better road access for about 122 homes adjacent to the Habitat project.

Habitat plans to build 25 to 30 townhouses and single-family homes on the four acres of property at Kirby Avenue and C Street. SAW Habitat Executive Director Lance Barton said the project is an ambitious one for Habitat for Humanity.

“If you look at our history we have built one to two houses a year,” Barton said. “We are now building on a larger scale.”

He said the timetable for the Waynesboro project involves infrastructure improvements in the spring of 2022 with construction on the homes to start in the fall of 2022. The recipients of Habitat homes must provide 200 hours of sweat equity in the home and take an education course.

The cost of the three-bedroom, two bath homes would range from 20 to 28 percent of the gross income of each recipient, Barton said.

A city resident who spoke to City Council Monday, stressed the need for more affordable home ownership in Waynesboro. A.J. Young, Jr. said the city has “a deficit” of affordable housing. He said many people in Waynesboro “struggle and are under the radar.”

Other CDBG funds approved Monday night will be used for reconstruction of outdoor basketball courts at the city’s Rosenwald Community Center, a pedestrian crossing at 4th Street and Delphine Avenue, and to provide funds for the local WARM Shelter for the homeless. A portion of the funds will also be used to help with an expansion and renovation at Fairfax Hall, and for downtown parking and landscaping.

Also Monday night, a member of city council spoke of the latest developments regarding COVID 19. Council Sam Hostetter, who is a physician, said COVID cases are up across Virginia. But Hostetter said the latest Virginia Department of Health statistics show that 67.3 percent of Waynesboro adults have received at least one vaccine dose, and more than 61 percent complete doses.

“Higher immunization keeps the spread under control,” Hostetter said.

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