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Legal Aid Letter to City on Behalf of PHAR regarding Aug 11 and 12

LAJC-PHAR letter Aug 12

 

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Welcome Tami!

PHAR is super excited to welcome Tamara Wright to our team! Tami will be coordinating our internship program and working as an organizer. Tami is very outgoing and we hope you’ll say hi when you see her around. Tami is a Friendship Court resident, and brings a lot of positive organizing experience to the job, she is very active at Friendship Court and the Urban Agriculture Collective of Charlottesville. Tami is also a former PHAR intern!

PHAR is also excited to have more capacity to meet our mission, so look forward to bigger better and more effective organizing into the future!

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PHAR is Hiring! Wanna Organize with Us?

Public Housing Association of Residents (PHAR)
1000 Preston Avenue, Suite C, Charlottesville, VA 22903
phone 434-984-3255      e-mail: brandon@pharcville.org
www.pharcville.org

Job Opening: Part-Time Internship Coordinator/Community Organizer

Overview: The Charlottesville Public Housing Association of Residents (PHAR) is hiring a part-time (20 hours/week) Internship Program Coordinator/Community Organizer.  PHAR’s mission is to educate and empower low-income residents to protect and improve our communities through collective action.

Responsibilities: This position will focus on:

  • Managing the PHAR Internship Program, a 10 hour/week, 6-month program for public housing residents and voucher holders to learn about local government, public housing and more, and to participate in community organizing.
  • Running and assisting organizing campaigns to engage residents, including:
  • Building positive and productive relationships with low-income people,
  • Providing education,
  • Motivating people to participate in meetings and other events.
  • Running/helping residents run meetings and workshops.
  • Participating in meetings of PHAR, city government and the Housing Authority.
  • Planning, evaluating and reporting on activities.

This position is supervised by the PHAR Lead Organizer. Training will be provided. Candidates must have the capacity to learn about local, state, and national public housing issues, policies and residents’ concerns.

Helpful qualities:

  • Knowledge of public housing, especially from a resident perspective,
  • Excellent communication skills,
  • Basic computer skills,
  • Experience in grassroots organizing and developing effective leaders.
  • Commitment to improving the lives of low-income people,
  • Evening availability.

To apply:  Send or bring a cover letter and resume to PHAR (address above).

PHAR is an equal opportunity employer.
PHAR encourages public housing residents/voucher holders, low-income residents, persons of color, women, persons with disabilities and formerly incarcerated persons to apply.

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Tuesday April 18- Don’t Get Zoned Out!

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Zoning- Don’t Ignore Low-Income People!

The Charlottesville City Council will be issuing a “Request for Proposals (RFP)” to hire a firm to design new zoning rules for a piece of the Strategic Investment Area (SIA). Some in the City think that community input has already occurred and that all that is left to do is write the code. PHAR and concerned community members recognize the potential for low-income people and communities of color to be negatively affected by zoning changes and have sent a letter to City Council asking for more community input into the process and to make sure that the needs of the existing community are addressed.

December 28, 2016
Charlottesville City Councilors
City Hall
P.O. Box 911
Charlottesville, VA 22902

Dear Councilor,

We write to share input about the process of modifying Charlottesville’s zoning to include a Form Based Code. While we understand Form Based Code (FBC) has assisted some communities to expand, we are also aware of many problems FBC has created, most of which stand to disproportionately harm low-income residents and people of color in Charlottesville.

Although the Strategic Investment Area (SIA) planning began a few years ago, the current approach to Form Based Code changes is moving quickly. We request a process that is transparent, inclusive and understandable to community members. We hope you will not rush this process, but ensure we are making changes that will stand the test of time, preserve racial diversity in our community and increase the quality of life for our more vulnerable residents.

Our initial recommendations are as follows:

  1. Maximize community involvement, including low-wealth residents and people of color, at every step of the process of selecting a consultant, including:
    a. Drafting of the RFP,
    b. Reviewing applications, and
    c. Interviewing candidates.
  2. Include requirements in the RFP which
    a. Respond to the concerns of low-wealth residents and people of color who are involved in the process,
    b. Require applicants to demonstrate expertise in zoning work which positively impacts affordable housing, racial and economic diversity and stability for vulnerable residents,
    c. Require applicants to show compatibility with community-based values, such as those demonstrated in PHAR’s Positive Vision for Redevelopment (see below for more information), and
    d. Provide expectations for substantial involvement of neighborhood residents – including low-wealth residents and people of color – in the process of developing the code, and require a process that will be responsive to their concerns and ideas.
  3. Conduct rigorous outreach to help the people who are most at-risk of adverse impacts – lower-income residents and people of color – to understand the issues, choices, and potential impacts, and to listen and incorporate their input.

Charlottesville’s increasing gentrification has already displaced an alarming number of people and some of our neighborhoods have changed significantly. According to the city department of Neighborhood Development Services, the African-American population declined from 51.1% to 38.8% in the Strategic Investment Area as of 2012. This data needs to be updated, but we venture to say that the last few years of escalating upper income development have driven out even more African American residents. The proposed plan for Friendship Court will more than triple the numbers of residents, with the proposed new housing being overwhelmingly created for upper income residents. These issues underscore the need to involve people of color and low-wealth residents throughout the FBC process, starting with rigorous community education and information-gathering.

The community input process for the SIA plans should not be considered an adequate foundation for the process of adopting a Form Based Code or any other significant changes to Charlottesville’s zoning or neighborhood planning. Input from lower-income participants was largely ignored in the SIA plan. Many concerns were raised related to density, mixed income, neighborhood integrity and quality of life. Most of that feedback was not included in the final report, and is not reflected in the plan.

The tragic history of Vinegar Hill cannot and will not be repeated. We urge you to ensure residents’ voices are heard, and the code changes significantly improve the quality of life for lower-income people.

As you’re aware, the Public Housing Association of Residents conducted extensive outreach and community education to develop the Positive Vision for Redevelopment. Although the document focuses primarily on public housing redevelopment, it includes key principles which we hope will be incorporated into the FBC process, such as the following points:

  • Residents should be included in all decision making regarding redevelopment and should inform redevelopment planning.
  • Unused land can be used to provide more affordable housing for Charlottesville’s population and is the proper avenue for exploring increases in density and relocation plans.
  • Mixed-income communities can be built in ways that protect existing neighborhoods from increased gentrification and large increases in density.
  • Redevelopment offers historic opportunities to fundamentally repair low-income communities and make amends for the past.

Thank you for your consideration, and we look forward to working with you to make Charlottesville a healthy and opportunity-rich home for all.

Sincerely,

Pete Armetta
Brandon Collins
Emily Dreyfus
Frank Dukes
Holly Edwards, Former Vice Mayor
Jeffrey Fogel
Edith Good
William M. Harris, PHAR Advisory Council
Walt Heinecke
A’lelia Henry, Former member of the SIA Steering Committee
Joy Johnson
Peter Kleeman
Legal Aid Justice Center
Cynthia Neff
Todd Niemeier
Dave Norris, Former Mayor
Audrey Oliver
Public Housing Association of Residents (PHAR)
Lena Seville
Dede Smith, Former Vice Mayor
Nikuyah Walker

cc: Missy Creasy
Brian Haluska
Alex Ikefuna

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Community Info Session September 7

community info flyer pic

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Drainage and Design at Westhaven

A new way of thinking about drainage and design at Westhaven?

Westhaven Drainage and Design Slides- Anna Cai Thesis

When Westhaven was built 50 years ago the whole area was “dug out” so that it wasn’t visible to or a part of West Main Street. This had led to 50 years of extreme water runoff from parking lots and roof tops on West Main down the back slope of Westhaven and towards homes. The moisture and run off has led to air quality problems, the sink hole, and deterioration of the back slope. Westhaven still remains isolated from the rest of Charlottesville.

UVA student Anna Cai prepared her thesis based on the idea that addressing the run-off and drainage problems can be done in a way that not only provides adequate drainage, but also provides a better quality of life through design and better connectivity to the rest of the world.

Check out her slide presentation given to the PHAR Board of Directors and see what you think!
Westhaven Drainage and Design Slides- Anna Cai Thesis

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PHAR ELECTIONS 2016- NOMINATE NOW!

Help PHAR as we head into an amazing year by running for election to our Board of Directors!
NOMINATIONS NOW BEING ACCEPTED_ make your nominations by July 12th 

 

The Charlottesville Public Housing Association of Residents (PHAR) will be holding elections for its Board of Directors this summer.  The Board is composed of 10 elected members and 5 appointed members. Board members attend PHAR Board meetings once a month, bring concerns from their sites, turn out other residents to meetings and actions, and share information with residents at their sites.  WE NEED YOUR HELP to Carry Out Our Very Important Work!

You can:
Nominate yourself
Nominate someone else

Who can run for a seat on the Board?
ALL RESIDENTS OF CHARLOTTESVILLE PUBLIC HOUSING ARE MEMBERS OF PHAR.  Any Resident of Public Housing (whose name appears on the lease and who is 16 years or older) may serve on our Board and be nominated for the Board, or nominate someone for the Board.

What positions on the PHAR Board are open?

Elected representation among public housing sites is distributed as follows:

  • 2 each from Crescent Hall, South First Street, Westhaven, and
  • 4 total from Madison Avenue, Michie Drive, Sixth Street, Riverside, and Single Family homes.

 

Nominate someone to run for the PHAR Board, or volunteer yourself:
Any Resident may nominate themselves and/or any other eligible Resident for a seat on the PHAR Board of Directors by sending the name(s) and contact information (address, telephone numbers) of nominee(s) to:

PHAR Elections
1000 Preston Ave., Suite C
Charlottesville, Va 22902

or

Email: kim@justice4all.org – fax (434)977-0558 –

or

call (434) 984-3255 (PHAR).

Nominations are due July 12th


 

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Party! Celebrate a New Beginning! June 16th

joy and grant“New Beginnings!” PARTY PARTY PARTY

Thursday June 16th at 5:00 pm at the Legal Aid Justice Center 1000 Preston Ave

Join PHAR and Friends as we welcome the new CRHA Executive Director Grant Duffield and Celebrate the release of PHAR’s “Positive Vision for Resident Directed Redevelopment”!

Food, fun, and lots of great folks! We are excited to begin a new chapter in Charlottesville’s public housing.

We really hope we’ll see you at this important and fun event! Please RSVP to Brandon at brandon@pharcville.org or call (434) 984-3255

The party will include a “pick-a-prize” auction, so prepare to have extra fun and hopefully leave with a gift certificate or other great item. Here’s how the pick-a-prize will work: when you arrive at the party, you will be able to purchase 12 auction tickets for $10, or $1 for 1 ticket (or 120 tickets for $100!). You’ll put your name on the back of the tickets, then you can place your tickets in the bowls sitting alongside any item you would like to “bid” on. The auction items will be on display in the library annex, the small conference room next to the LAJC library. The more tickets you place, the more you’re likely to win. We will draw the names of our lucky winners at the end of the celebration, and you don’t have to be present to win.

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“That World is Gone” Vinegar Hill Film- Watch Now!

“That World is Gone” a short film about Vinegar Hill and Urban Renewal in Charlottesville is now available on-line!
You can watch the film now HERE!

The film discusses what was lost, how it was lost, the impact on the community. PHAR really hopes you will watch and learn and spread the history around as we head into redevelopment of public housing and create a better future that makes amends for urban renewal at Vinegar Hill, Garret St. and Hartman’s Mill.

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